Metadate ADHD: A Guide for Patients

Metadate ADHD: A Guide for Patients
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How it Works

This medication is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. Sometimes patients assume that these types of drugs will over-stimulate them, but they actually have the opposite effect. This medication actually calms the patient, lessens hyperactivity and promotes focus. How the drug does this not is not completely understood, but scientists know that it increases dopamine binding to D2 receptors. Dopamine plays a critical role in controlling human cognition, emotion and movement. When binding is interrupted a variety of disorders, including ADHD, can develop. Cognition is important for focus, emotion is important for controlling actions and movement is important for remaining quiet and still.

Prescribing Guidelines

This medication is generally used for less than three weeks. It can be prescribed to both adults and children. It is typically taken prior to breakfast once a day. Health care providers generally prescribe this medication in addition to other medications and behavioral therapies for ADHD to help control any ADHD-related focus, control and restlessness issues the patient has.

Potential Benefits and Effectiveness

How effective this medication is in the long-term (longer than three weeks) has yet to be established in controlled trials. In the short-term, the effectiveness will depend on the patient and the combination of therapies he or she is receiving. If the Metadate ADHD medication is a good fit for the patient, the benefits will generally include improved focus, less controlling behavior and an easier time sitting still and remaining quiet.

Concerns about Addiction

Addiction is a concern that some patients and health care providers share with this type of drug. Even if the patient is taking CNS stimulants as prescribed there is still the potential for abuse. Those who do abuse them can become addicted quickly. Signs of addiction may include a desire to take higher doses and withdrawal symptoms if the drug is not taken.

General withdrawal may cause nausea and vomiting, mood swings, irritability and headaches. Withdrawal severity will depend on how much of the drug the person was taking. When a health care provider takes a patient off of a central nervous system stimulant, they will gradually lower the dosage to wean the patient so as to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Patients taking this type of drug for ADHD will be closely monitored by their health care provider to help prevent addiction. Regular visits will help the patient and health care provider determine if the drug is still beneficial.

Side Effects and Warnings

Common side effects may include headache, appetite loss, feeling dizzy, vomiting, feeling irritable, blurry vision, constipation, stomach pain, sleeping difficulty, nausea, feeling lightheaded, nervousness, dry mouth or in rare cases, drowsiness. If any of these persist or worsen, alert a doctor.

Serious, emergency side effects include uncontrolled movements, weight loss, mental/behavior/mood changes, signs of infections, pounding/fast/irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, left arm or jaw pain, seizures, one side of body weakness, confusion, chest pain, fainting, blurred vision, slurred speech, verbal tics, difficulty urinating and bruising or bleeding easily.

Contraindications include certain mental or mood conditions, heart structure problems, severe tension or anxiety, motor tics, high blood pressure, overactive thyroid, seizures, verbal tics, blood vessel or heart disease, stroke or heart attack history, glaucoma, heart disease, family history of sudden death, stomach/intestinal/esophagus problems or irregular heartbeat.

Drug interactions may include MAO inhibitors, blood thinners, phenylbutazone, anti-seizure medications, SSRI antidepressants, stomach acid reducing medications, guanethidine, blood pressure increasing drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, isoniazid, theophylline and phenothiazines.

NB: The content of this article is for information purposes and is not intended to replace sound medical advice and opinion.


U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2008). Metadate ER (methylphenidate hydrochloride) Tablet, Extended Release. Retrieved on April 27, 2011 from the U.S. National Library of Medicine

PubMed Health. (2011). Methlyphenidate. Retrieved on April 27, 2011 from PubMed Health

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