Also Known As: Methylphenidate, Concerta, Ritalin
Methylphenidate (Ritalin, MPH, MPD) is a psychostimulant drug approved for treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and narcolepsy. It may also be prescribed for off-label use in treatment-resistant cases of lethargy, depression, neural insult and obesity. Methylphenidate belongs to the piperidine class of compounds and increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain through reuptake inhibition of the monoamine transporters. Methylphenidate possesses structural similarities to amphetamine, but its pharmacological effects are more similar to those of cocaine, though MPH is less potent and longer in duration of action.
MPH is the most commonly prescribed psychostimulant and works by increasing the activity of the central nervous system. It produces such effects as increasing or maintaining alertness, combating fatigue, and improving attention. The short-term benefits and cost effectiveness of methylphenidate are well established, although long-term effects are unknown. The long term effects of methylphenidate on the developing brain are unknown. Methylphenidate is not approved for children under six years of age.