How is Ritalin prescribed?

Ritalin is prescribed is doses from 10-60 mg a day to help with ADHD. More on Ritalin dosage, cost, and prescriptions here.

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Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, and Ritalin duration of action is relatively short, so this ADHD medication requires prescriptions for medical use. Here, we describe how Ritalin is prescribed and invite your questions about Ritalin or Ritalin prescriptions at the end.

What do doctors prescribe Ritalin for?

Ritalin is a prescription drug that’s used to treat ADD or ADHD. While in most people, Ritalin stimulates the central nervous system, in people with ADHD, methylphenidate has a paradoxical effect and helps ADHD focus and remain calm. Ritalin is no longer prescribed for the stimulant effects it produces, including appetite suppression, wakefulness, and increased focus and attentiveness.  However, Ritalin and euphoria are also possible, so prescriptions are required for this medicine.

Ritalin prescription dosage

Depending on your age, weight, and other factors, you might be prescribed anywhere from 10-60 mg of Ritalin every day. Immediate release versions of Ritalin will usually be split into 2-3 doses to be taken throughout the day. Ritalin SR (slow release) tablets have a duration of action of approximately 8 hours while Ritalin LA (long acting) extended-release capsules are for oral administration once daily in the morning.  Once prescribed, you may also ask yourself, “Can I just stop taking Ritalin?”

Ritalin prescription cost

As with any prescription drug, the cost of Ritalin will depend on your personal health insurance coverage. Ritalin may cost about $100 for a month’s supply without insurance, but generic versions of methylphenidate can be cheaper. Some have reported that the generic is only about $50 a month, and works just as well as the name brand. Some pharmacies have programs in place to provide low-cost generic versions of common medications, so it may be helpful to shop around.

Can you get Ritalin over the counter?

No. Ritalin is available by prescription only. Why? Because the methylphenidate contained in Ritalin is addictive, so it’s only prescribed to people who have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Signs of Ritalin prescription drug abuse

Ritalin is often abused as a stimulant for performance enhancement or increased focus and energy. However, someone who abuses Ritalin regularly can easily become addicted. So how can you know if Ritalin prescription drug abuse is occuring?

People who take Ritalin for ADHD may have difficulty functioning without Ritalin, but this is different from an addiction. A Ritalin addiction involves loss of control when taking Ritalin accompanied by a psychological compulsion to seek out the drug, even when it has negative effects on the addict’s personal or professional life.

Ritalin prescription questions

Do you still have questions about Ritalin prescriptions? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: FDA Medication Guide: Ritalin SR
Daily Med: Ritalin
Daily Med: Ritalin LA
ToxNet: Methylphenidate
DEA: Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
PubMed Health: Methylphenidate 

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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