One's Ritalin dosage depends on various factors such as age, physical condition, the reason one is taking Ritalin (for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Narcolepsy), allergies, and other medications one may be taking.
What Is Ritalin?
Ritalin (Methyphenidate) is a prescription medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD.
It is a stimulant that works on the areas of the brain that contribute to ADHD behaviors such as inattention, hyperactivity, and lack of impulse control.
Ritalin comes in two different forms, regular, sustained release (SR), and long-acting (LA). The regular typically has an effective duration of 4-5 hours, while the sustained release and long-acting can last as long as 8 hours or more. The advantage of the sustained release and long-acting versions is that they can be taken before school or work without having to administer more during the day.
Children Age 6 And Over
Generally speaking, a small starting dose of 5mg twice daily is often prescribed for those age six and over. The regular version is usually administered before breakfast and again before lunch to help children focus during school times.
Depending on effectiveness, gradual weekly incremental increases of 5 to 10mg can be made by the doctor. Daily dosages above 60 mg are not recommended. Ritalin is usually discontinued if improvements are not observed over one month provided the appropriate dosage guidelines are followed.
An average daily dose is 20 to 30 mg daily divided throughout the course of the day. This may be gradually increased to 40 to 60 mg per day.
Preferably, it should be taken 30 to 45 minutes prior to mealtimes. If this stimulant causes insomnia, talk to your doctor about adjusting dosage times.
Since Ritalin medication is a stimulant, taking the medication earlier in the day also helps to avoid insomnia. The medication can be taken with or without food, although it is best taken 30 to 45 minutes before meals. It may take several weeks to see the full effect of the medication.
Never crush or chew the tablets; they are meant to be swallowed whole. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose.
It goes without saying that one should always take medications as directed and never adjust your dosage without working in conjunction with your prescribing doctor.
Report any side effects to your prescribing doctor, and always attend any medication monitoring appointments in order to track your progress, ask questions, etc.