Archive for Ritalin SR

Methylphenidate Shortage in Canada

methylphenidate 300x200 Methylphenidate Shortage in CanadaMarch 12, 2014

There has been a recent shortage of the short acting Methylphenidate medication in Canada. This is listed on the website (and you can visit that site to check if the shortage is still an issue).

Methylphenidate is a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD. It is the active ingredient in the following medications: Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Biphentin and Concerta. However, the only form of this medication which is impacted by the shortage is the short acting version. Specifically, the 10 mg tablets, and the 20 mg tablets.

This shortage does not impact the availability of the long acting versions of methylphenidate such as Biphentin and Concerta.

Although it’s generally recommended that the long acting medications (such as Concerta and Biphentin) should be used to treat ADHD, as they work better for individuals with ADHD, there are still occassions that doctors will use a short acting stimulant medication.

These could include:

  • Using a long acting methylphenidate medication in the morning and then taking a short acting in the evening when it has been a particularly long day (i.e. topping up the medication for night school)
  • When a teen sleeps in on the weekend and gets up too late to take a long acting medication, they may take a short acting mid-day on the weekend to have some stimulant treatment
  • There are some patients (in my experience this is very few) who don’t do as well with a long acting medication as they do with a short acting version

If you or your child is taking a short acting version of Methylphenidate, you may have a hard time refilling the prescription. The pharmacist will likely tell you that the product is ‘back ordered’. However, if the pharmacy still has stock on their shelves, then you should be able to fill the prescription.

Here’s what you can do if you are stuck and cannot refill your prescription for methylphenidate:

  1. Ask the pharmacist to call other pharmacies to see if they have stock on their shelves (i.e. they will be able to call other pharmacies in their ‘chain’ (such as Shopper’s Drug Mart) and if another pharmacy has stock, they may be able to get it for you)
  2. Phone other local pharmacies and see if they have stock on their shelves, and then take your prescription to that pharmacy (you would have to take an actual prescription, as pharmacies cannot transfer prescriptions for methylphenidate from one pharmacy to another).
  3. Check if your pharmacy can order in the 5 mg tablet of Methylphenidate. If they are able to, contact your doctor’s office and explain that you need the doctor to change the prescription to the 5 mg tablets because of the medication shortage.

If none of these strategies work, then be sure to see if you can take either of Biphentin, Concerta, or even Ritalin SR to see if they can help you. Alternatively, you may benefit from a trial of an amphetamine medication – such as Vyvanse, Adderall XR, or Dexedrine. That would be an issue you’ll have to discuss with your doctor.

Please share any experiences you’ve had – particularly if you have a strategy which could be helpful to others.


Dr. Kenny

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Ritalin – Still a Viable Option

Although there are many newer medicines available for ADHD, Ritalin is still prescribed regularly, and it often gets a lot of media attention.

As a parent — or an adult — with attention deficit disorder you’re doing the smart thing by researching the medication you’re taking for your condition. I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power. And the more you understand the mechanisms by which Ritalin and other medications work, then in the long run, you’re far more likely to control your ADD/ADHD than have it control you.

It seems ironic, doesn’t it? That many individuals with ADD/ADHD whose symptoms include hyperactivity would be given medication classed as a stimulant to help calm them. Ritalin is just one class of stimulant drug providing relief for you and hundreds of thousands of others.

Ritalin is also known by its chemical name of methylphenidate. Ritalin is the trade or brand name under which it’s sold. With only a four hour duration, you’ll discover that the individual with ADD/ADHD will need to take this prescription drug in the morning, at noontime as well as a dose at roughly 4 p.m.

These three separate doses provide you with coverage for a 12-hour period. That’s a good portion of a functioning day in anyone’s book. And it gives the individual just about the maximum coverage for the day.

While Ritalin may be short acting, your personal care physician may want to eventually combine it with another drug to help extend its effectiveness. He may prescribe Ritalin as well as a longer-acting methylphenidate preparation. Perhaps he believes your Ritalin isn’t working as effectively as it should.

He may request that you also try using Concerta in the morning with your Ritalin. Your dosage may look something like this then. In the morning, you take Ritalin and a specific dose of Concerta. This dosage is created solely for your specific situation. He may also ask that you take this second form of stimulant at the second dosage.

Many individuals have a medication schedule that include both Ritalin and Concerta in the morning and the afternoon (or at either time period) to help length the effects of this medication. Usually then they take Ritalin only in the evening.

Difference Between Ritalin And Ritalin SR

There is another, second variety of Ritalin available as well. It’s called Ritalin SR. the SR stands for slow release. It’s the same formula as the original, except in the slow release form, the medication is placed in a waxy substance to allow it to release in a steadier, more gradual rate.

This medication isn’t side effect free however. While your son or daughter is taking it you may notice some these more common adverse side effects. Among the most common of these are insomnia and decreased appetite. And do let your physician know if you or your child is experiencing either of these. The two common effects can easily be managed through the careful timing and dosing of the medication itself.

Some individuals get a skin rash, fever, headaches, anorexia nervosa, drowsiness, nausea, abdominal pain and dizziness. If you experience any of these conditions while you’re using Ritalin, be sure to notify your health care professional

Ritalin was the first prescription to be given for the treatment of ADD/ADHD and it was first used in 1958. To this day it’s still the medication most widely associated with the disorder.

While many people have a ‘knee-jerk’ negative reaction to Ritalin, it may still play a role in a reasonable treatment plan for ADHD.

Please share your thoughts below.

Dr. Kenny

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