How To Tell The Difference Between Concerta and Generic Concerta

In Canada, there is a generic Concerta available. It’s called: Teva-Methylphenidate ER-C (it was formerly called: Novo-Methylphenidate ER-C). Many people have had trouble with this generic, and it is widely accepted by doctors in Canada and patients that the generic doesn’t work as well as the brand name concerta.

One question which has been sent in to me a number of times is: How do I tell the difference between the brand name Concerta and the generic Teva-Methylphenidate ER-C?

When someone isn’t medically trained, it can be very confusing. I have tried to explain to people over the phone (or in blog comments!) how to tell the difference. And then I thought of the saying: “A picture is worth 1,000 words”. I was able to find an image which clearly shows the difference between the two medications. I was able to get permission from Janssen (the maker of Concerta) to share this image with you.

To tell the difference between the brand Concerta compared to the generic, notice a few features:

  • The brand Concerta has the word ‘Alza’ typed in black on its side; the Generic Teva MPH ER-C does not have this typed word on it
  • The brand Concerta looks more rounded like a little soda can, compared to the generic which is an oval pill
Generic Concerta vs. Brand Name Concerta in Canada

Generic Concerta vs. Brand Name Concerta in Canada

Please share any comments below. And feel free to share this with anyone who may benefit from knowing about this.


Dr. Kenny


  1. When I was with one insurance company provider, I could purchase my concerta Tab for $45.00 and the generic Methylphenidite ER 54 mg Tab for $5.00. That was a $40.00 savings a month. Then my employer switched insurance carriers to a well known national insurance proveder and the Concerta price switched to $50.00 and the generic Methylphenidite went to $40.00!!! This was for a 30 day supply! I ontacted the chemical company that makes the medication and they informed me that they could charge that amount for the generic because it was still under “PATENT”. I guess I am one of many paying off a $900 million research study. I wish I could take advantage of “hard working” people so I could get big business to pay off all my debts. Oh, not really, I forgot I have a concious!
    This is highway robbery and in this economy with hard working people trying to buy food and gas and pay utilities, I hate the concept that big business wants to profit off of those who need medication like this, to help function to work. I am currently getting my M.D. to convert my Concerta and the generic to RItalin which would cost as little as $5.00 for a 30 day supply. I think people should ban supporting this type of robbery. I am a professional who works with children and I have families that cannot afford medication for their children at the expense of large corporations. The Obama Health Insurance Plan may not be the perfect solution to what this country needs but someone or someothing has to stop these medical companies from profiting. Also, how many studies have been done that shows how stimilunats for ADHD/ADD are not beneficial to kids and the fact they may not even need them. This is a society of when it comes to kids “PUT UP OR PILL UP”. I am an adult with ADD and my problem surfaced as a result of a medical problem. Thanks for letting me share.

  2. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD (I’m 46) and my doctor put me on Concerta. He makes sure the prescriptions read “No Generic or substitute” as he also has said the generic doesn’t work as well.

  3. Dr.

    I was wondering if you think all methylphenidate products are the same or is it like the SSRI’s where some work for some people and others do not?

    Do kids cycle through?

    • Pamela,
      All MPH products are the same, they are just in different delivery systems. The analogy would be if someone were to take prozac in a capsule, vs. a pill, vs. a time release version. In my experience, there are a small number of people who do better with one version or another, but they are the same medication. Except for the generic – which really doesn’t work so well!

  4. Concerta was a wake-up call for me. I was diagnosed with ADHD in my late forties. I can only imagine how different my life would have been had I been diagnosed in my youth. I still managed to acquire two scientific university degrees and went directly to my Ph.D. (abandoned). I have also held prestigious positions (temporarily). I have also jokingly called the “poster boy” for ADHD by some colleagues. However, ADHD affected me negatively and profoundly on many levels. When I first used Concerta I was astounded by the effects. It was a revelation of a lifelong battle with a disorder I did not believe in. Regardless, Concerta, Ritalin, and currently Adderal actually deliver on their claims. They also have an anti-depressant effect in my particular case. When I was first given the generic extended release methylphenidate, it sent me into a deeper depression and I lost all motivation. At the time I did not even question the fact that my ADHD medication had changed. Generic methylphenidate acted only as a harsh stimulant with greatly diminished ADHD symptoms relief. The generic product made me feel “wired” while the brand name product had made me feel motivated and purposeful.

    I am now using brand name Adderall with some success but nowhere near the result obtained with Concerta. However, brand name Adderall is better than generic Concerta. Adderall is covered by my provincial drug plan.

    I also have a degenerative lower back disorder and use opioid analgesics such as fentalyl trans-dermal patches and hydromorphone for breakthrough pain. I use the analgesic with extreme moderation. I am officially disabled and unable to work. I simply unable to pay for the brand name medication that are not covered by my Provincial Disability Program drug plan.

    The key point here is that: Most of my medication is generic and apparently effective. However, in the case of psycho-active medication such as generic Concerta, it is difficult to get treated when the physician prescribes a particular medication but the patient receives another.


  5. Brand name Concerta (methylphenidate) is no longer covered by Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in Ontario. Concerta has been replaced by Teva-Methylphenidate ER. In my case it was ineffective and was in fact detrimental. I am very grateful for ODSP even though I live below the poverty line. Regardless, I cannot possibly afford to buy medication. ADHD is not my disability but Concerta helped my overall disposition unlike the generic version which I stopped taking.

    From what I was told by the pharmacist, as soon as a patent expires or a generic alternative is found, the pharmacist must dispense the generic version of that medication or they wont get reimbursed by the provincial government.

    All is not lost:
    There is a form that your doctor can fill to receive ODSP coverage for non-covered medication. Consult your pharmacist or doctor. I have made several attempts but have not had any success either because of ODSP policies, quotas, or the doctors busy schedule or perhaps inaction. Pardon the cynicism.

    Pat G. D

  6. What is it about the generic that does not work–is the delivery system unpredictable? Or is the chemical structure of methylphenidate different? And who reported that and how did they determine that? It seems that if the facilities that manufacture it are making the same drug, with the same delivery system, then it should work the same.

  7. I have been on Concerta for many years now. I have also had to argue with pharmacists about methylphenidate not being the same. The generic that is Oros Actavis equivalent is the only generic that comes close. It is also shaped the same as brand. I don’t understand how specialist aren’t educated on that issue.

    Ritalin is NOT Concerta. Saying they’re the same is like saying a Lamborghini and a Volkswagen are the same because they’re both vehicles.

    • Just for clarity I probably should have reversed the order as a Volkswagen (Ritalin) compared to a Lamborghini (Concerta).

  8. I actually have a extreme social anxiety. Concerta helped me substantially with social activites in addition to short-time period memories. Actually I sense like I’m a everyday man or woman after I’m on it. I actually have attempted so difficult to adquate myself to the society, which failed everytime I attempted. But it went away after I took concerta. I became prescribed from a doctor. But he does not inform that it’d have excessive withdrawals after I prevent taking it despite the fact that I do not abuse it. Thinking of my authentic country of thoughts I had earlier than I commenced to take it, it sounds lousy that I might have tons worse depression, anxieties and retreatment than that when I cease this drug. I’m now no longer the use of it to sense excessive or to do some distance greater exellent jobs than others. I want it to preserve my life. I had ruined my careers, relationships earlier than I took concerta. It adjustments my persona and complements endurance – now no longer to a notable level, however to a everyday level – that makes me now no longer to be damaged down so easily. But I’m terrified of its withdrawal signs and symptoms that I might also additionally have sooner or later due to the fact I’m taking it everyday. You say it’s far higher to get a few relaxation from it for 1 or 2 months, however I have to surrender having any appropriate relationships with human beings all through that point due to the fact the authentic model of myself isn’t lovely at all. I’ve were given counselings for years however It did not help. I by no means need to head returned to what I became like. But I need to cease it if it makes me tons worse after years. I actually need to recognize if I’m taking an excessive amount of risk. The medical doctors normally do not point out such dangers once they prescribe it..

Leave a Reply