Concerta: Benefits and Side Effects

A doctor extending his hand with a bottle of pills

A number of ADHD medications are hitting the market, joining the old Ritalin standby. Concerta, in its relatively short existence, has already grabbed a sizable portion of the adhd medication market share.

Although Concerta offers a number of advantages over the older ADHD medications, it also has several side effects that people with Attention Deficit and parents of Attention Deficit children should be aware of before administering this medication.

Concerta medication for ADHD and ADD is a once-daily treatment and, when introduced, was the first time-release formula. A modified version of Adderall, Adderall XR, followed with a time-released delivery system.

The Concerta capsule has an outer coat of medication that dissolves quickly and then two small compartments of medication inside that release gradually.

The time-released system of the Concerta capsule provides up to 12-hour coverage and provides more even coverage for ADHD symptoms but there are a few drawbacks with the capsule form.

  • If not taken early in the morning, manufacturers recommend skipping the dose for that day since the stimulants will affect normal sleep patterns.
  • Some people find that, even with early morning dosing, Concerta significantly disrupts normal sleep patterns.
  • Because of the tablet’s non-deformable shell, the Concerta pill cannot be cut to decrease the dosage. This aspect causes trouble for people with Attention Deficit still working to find the best dosage levels or for those who wish to give their child a lower dose for half-days at school. Increasing or decreasing by any amount requires a new prescription.
  • Parents cannot crush the tablet and mix with food for children who have difficulty swallowing pills since crushing the Concerta medication will also destroy the release mechanism.
  • The Concerta shell does not completely digested and remnants of the Concerta tablet can often be seen in stools. Although most people’s digestive systems can typically pass a wide variety of very interesting articles and does not typically pose a serious health hazard, Concerta is not recommended for people with gastrointestinal narrowing and digestive problems.

Concerta Side Effects:

Concerta side effects seem less pronounced than Ritalin and Dexedrine side effects. Although Concerta side effects are less pronounced than the older medications’ side effects, the Concerta medication for ADD and ADHD still pose negative side effects, as do other ADHD medications.

Concerta Side Effects include:

  • abdominal pain
  • aggravation, nervousness, hostility, sadness
  • drug dependence
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • tics
  • insomnia and prolonged sleepiness
  • loss of appetite
  • increased coughing, sinusitis, upper respiratory tract infection
  • vomiting
  • allergic reaction
  • increased blood pressure
  • psychosis (abnormal thinking or hallucinations).

Concerta should not be used by people with marked anxiety or agitation, glaucoma, or tics or during treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

The stimulant methylphenidate, also used in Ritalin, is the active ingredient in the Concerta medication for ADHD and ADD. The medical community has not yet determined the long-term effects of having methylphenidate in the bloodstream for prolonged hours every day for numbers of years.

In stating the potential for abuse and dependence on this drug, the Concerta manufacturer also instructs people to inform their doctor if their child has ever used or been dependent on alcohol or drugs, or if the child is now using or dependent on alcohol or drugs.

Concerta, along with all other ADHD medications currently on the market, is not recommended for children under the age of six since its safety and effectiveness has not been determined. Despite ADHD drug manufacturer’s own labels warning against prescribing these powerful drugs to young children, doctors increasingly prescribe ADD medications to children under the manufacturer recommended age.

Parents should carefully consider the health effects of placing small children on medications for ADD and ADHD, even if the child’s health care provider prescribes an medication for ADHD or ADD. The Concerta medication is about 70 percent effective in decreasing the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, which is about the same level of effectiveness to Ritalin, Adderall and Strattera.

Although the prevailing adhd medications have about the same level of effectiveness on the general population, children and adults react differently to the different formulations. Ritalin might produce severe side effects while Concerta side effects might be minimal. Adderall side effects could present themselves differently than Strattera side effects.People using adhd medications know that these little pills are never the “cure-all” answer. Attention Deficit requires a multifaceted approach which requires many different tactics and combination of tactics. What works is highly individual, depending on individual needs.Many people with Attention Deficit Disorder and parents of children with Attention Deficit Disorder find great Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD success from diet supplementation – especially with amino acids and essential fatty acids – a shift in parenting tactics, modifying the home and school environment, biofeedback, neuro-linguistic programming, stress relief measures and exercise.

The greatest successes are found by being bold and trying a combination of many measures.

Bio: Jeannine Virtue is a freelance journalist and mother of an Attention Deficit Disorder son. Visit the Attention Deficit Disorder Help Center at http://www.add-adhd-help-center.com for effective drug-free alternatives to Ritalin, Concerta and other ADHD medications.

Carole Gayle is a freelance writer with a focus on issues relating to Attention Deficit Disorder. For research-based information about Attention Deficit Disorder, practical tips to help parents survive the task of raising Attention Deficit children and information about effective Ritalin alternatives, please visit www.add-adhd-help-center.com or email her at [email protected]

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