Concerta 36mg is a popular medication used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). It is a central nervous system stimulant and contains methylphenidate, the same medication ingredient found in Ritalin. It comes in 18mg, 36mg and 54mg tablets and is intended to be taken once a day.
Use of Concerta for ADHD
Approved by the FDA in 2000, Concerta was the first real once a day medicine for ADHD and it quickly became popular. Like Ritalin, its main ingredient is methylphenidate, but it is packaged in a special, controlled release tablet that provides your child with the medication throughout the day.
Switching to Concerta from regular Ritalin is easy. You usually just take your total daily dose of Ritalin and change to the Concerta pill that is closest to that dose. So if your child is taking 5mg of Ritalin three times a day, for a total daily dose of 15mg, you would probably change to the 18mg Concerta tablet.
Concerta is also available in a 27mg, 36mg, and 54mg tablets, providing flexible dosing options. And although an even larger tablet isn’t available, older teens can be prescribed two 36mg tablets to reach the maximum dose of 72mg.
Although pediatricians often start with low doses when starting a stimulant, keep in mind that in a recent study 95% of kids were either on the 36mg or 54mg strength tablets, so don’t give up on Concerta if the lower dosages don’t seem to be working.
Switching from Adderall or Adderall XR is also easy. You usually just double your total daily dose of Adderall.
Concerta Side Effects
Like other stimulants, Concerta 36mg has side effects that sometimes limit its usefulness, but its side effects are not as common as you might expect. Concerta 36mg is usually well tolerated by most children and adolescents. The most common side effects are headaches, stomach pain, sleeplessness (insomnia), and decreased appetite. Other side effects can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, nervousness, tics, allergic reactions, increased blood pressure, and psychosis.
If your child is having minor side effects, they can often be controlled by lowering your child’s dosage of Concerta. So ask your child’s pediatrician if that’s a possibility. If the side effects continue after a dosage is lowered or if your child is having unacceptable side effects, then he or she should likely be switched to a different ADHD medication. Ask your child’s pediatrician if there are other options to try. Your pediatrician should also monitor your child’s growth and blood pressure while he or she is taking Concerta to watch for any potential problems.
Knowing how long Concerta 36mg remains in the system can help prevent an accidental overdose of the stimulant. Concerta should be taken only as directed. You would increase your risk of an overdose if you take more than prescribed, have an interaction with other drugs, or you are taking it inappropriately by crushing the capsule.
Symptoms of Concerta overdose may include the following:
Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
Loss of consciousness
Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
Widening of pupils
Dry mouth or nose
If you suspect a Concerta overdose, seek immediate medical attention.
It is also important to not stop taking Concerta 36mg abruptly or you may have withdrawal symptoms.