Your dosage of Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is dependent on a number of factors, including size of the patient, the disorder being treated, the severity of the disorder and whether any tolerance has been built. Physicians must interact with patients to ensure individual needs are being assessed and follow up appointments are required to determine appropriate levels are being administered. Should a patient feel the treatment is not working, or should any adverse side effects become present, an immediate appointment with a doctor is required to reassess dosage.
Treatment for Adults
For adults being treated for ADD and ADHD, oral tablets of Ritalin are to be taken a half hour before mealtime. With regular, short-acting tablets, the dosage usually starts at around 5 mg, 2-3 times a day and may be increased up to 20 mg, 2-3 times a day.
In the case of extended-release, long-acting tablets, dosage may begin as low as 18 mg or start up to 32 mg, taken once early in the morning. This may be increased gradually, usually to no more than 72 mg once per day.
There are other options of sustained release pills and these are assessed as needed by physicians. Similar dosages are used for the treatment of narcolepsy in adults.
Treatment for Teenagers
For the purpose of Ritalin, treatment for children 6 years of age up until adulthood constitutes a “teenager”. For ADHD, teenagers begin their Ritalin dosage at 5 mg, 2 times per day. If well tolerated, this may be increased gradually once a week by 5-10 mg per day up to a maximum of 60 mg per day.
In the case of extended release capsules, treatment begins at 18 mg first thing in the morning, and is increased up until 72 mg, the same as adult dosages.
For narcolepsy in teenagers, a prescription usually beings at 5 mg taken before breakfast and lunch, gradually increased to no more than 60 mg per day.
Treatment for Children
Children under 6 years old fall into another treatment category. Treatment for such young patients should be monitored very closely to ensure over-medicating is not an issue.
As this group is so young, there is no set Ritalin dosage that is recommended, rather, it is up to the physician to assess the severity of the condition and to monitor closely any prescription reactions. In this sort of situation, it is paramount that physicians and patients are in close contact to confirm dosages are safe, are working, and are not in need of adjustment.
When a dose is missed, patients should take it as soon as it is remembered. In cases where it is almost time to take the next dose, patients should avoid taking a double dose and just continue on with the regular timing of their treatment.