Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Methylphenidate


Last updated on 19/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Methylphenidate  


BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Concerta, Ritalin 利他林

DRUG CLASS: Central nervous system stimulant 

USED FOR: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy 


– 5mg, 10mg, 18mg, 27mg, 36mg, 54mg (tablets)
– 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg (capsules)

What is Methylphenidate for?

Methylphenidate is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that can increase the concentration of certain chemicals in your brain and hence increase your brain activity. It can be used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness).

How to use it?

Methylphenidate can be taken by mouth as tablets or capsules. Note that for the modified-release / extended-release / prolonged-release tablets (e.g. Concerta, Ritalin), you should not chew or cut them and they should be swallowed whole.

Methylphenidate is used to treat ADHD in individuals who are 6 years old or above. The dose for children between 6 and 17 years old is starting with 5 mg 1-2 times daily and can be increased 5-10 mg daily at weekly intervals if necessary. The dose can be increased up to 60 mg daily or 2.1 mg/kg daily in 2-3 divided doses. The maximum daily dose is 60 mg in 2-3 divided doses. If the effect wears off in the evening, a dose taken at bedtime can be considered. The adult dose is starting with 5 mg 2-3 times daily and can be increased up to 60 mg daily in 2-3 divided doses at weekly intervals if necessary. Same as children, if the effect wears off in the evening, a dose taken at bedtime can be considered.

If you are using it for narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness), you should take 10-60 mg immediate-release medicines twice daily before breakfast and lunch. The usual dose is 20-30 mg daily in divided doses.

What are the side effects of Methylphenidate? 

Common side effects of methylphenidate include mood changes (emotional lability), decreased appetite, irregular heart rhythms, gastrointestinal discomfort, high blood pressure, palpitations, insomnia, and decreased weight. Growth retardation may also occur in children.

Who should not take Methylphenidate?

– People with an allergy to Methylphenidate or other ingredient of the formulation
– Patients with anorexia, irregular heartbeat, severe hypertension, heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, severe depression, and overactivity of the thyroid gland

Pharmacist Tips:

The capsules might appear in your stool after ingestion due to its design, this does not mean the drug was ineffective.

Common dosing schedule:
You can take Methylphenidate with or without food.
Take the short-acting immediate release tablet (Ritalin) 30-45 minutes before meals.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Methylphenidate may interact with:
– Antiepileptics, e.g. Phenobarbital, Phenytoin
– Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, e.g. Isocarboxazid, Phenelzine, Selegiline
– Proton pump inhibitors, e.g. Omeprazole, Pantoprazole

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Methylphenidate in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Methylphenidate is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Methylphenidate in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.