What is Ritalin?
Have you or a loved one been prescribed Ritalin? Perhaps you are wondering exactly what does Ritalin do? This drug stimulates the brain in order to inhibit hyperactivity and increase impulse control. Thus, it is often prescribed for patients suffering from attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is also sometimes prescribed to help those with the sleeping disorder narcolepsy.
Ritalin (generic name: methylphenidate) is usually taken within the hour before you eat a meal. Since you will need to take it three times per day, this will help you to maintain the schedule. Try not to take your last dose after 6 PM because it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep (which is why it helps those with narcolepsy). If you miss a dose, you can take the next dose as soon as possible, but not if it is too late in the evening. Then it is best to just wait till morning because your sleep is important.
One important drug interaction to keep in mind is that you need to be off of all MAO inhibitors for at least two weeks before taking Ritalin. The reaction can be very serious if this warning is ignored. Make sure your doctor knows any medications you are on if they are going to prescribe you Ritalin. This includes over the counter medications since some of these may interact as well.
How does Ritalin work?
It makes the brain produce more dopamine and other chemicals. The reason is not fully understood, but these chemicals seem to be under produced in the brains of those with ADHD. Restoring the natural balance of the brain seems to help in controlling impulsive action and hyperactivity. Therefore, while it may seem counter intuitive, a stimulant is actually the best treatment for ADHD.
Unfortunately, Ritalin can be addictive, so treatment needs to be monitored. Don't let anyone else take your medication. There are also numerous side effects associated with this drug. If it has been prescribed by a doctor, this means that he has decided the benefits should outweigh those potential side effects. You should see how Ritalin affects you before you decide to do anything that requires driving or alertness, as this drug may cause your reaction time to slow significantly.
Having a generic version means that most health insurance companies will cover a good deal of the cost of this prescription. It is thus widely accessible to those in need.