Ritalin Drug Interactions

by on May 17, 2012

There are a number of medications that have the potential to interact with Ritalin (Methylphenidate). As with all medications, it is very important to discuss any possible interactions with the prescribing physician to ensure treatment is both effective and safe.

Major Ritalin Drug Interactions

The most significant drug interaction is with MAO inhibitors and other anti-depressants. Patients who are taking prescriptions like Prozac or MAO inhibitors, such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), furazolidone (Furoxone), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), tranylcypromine (Parnate), or phenelzine (Nardil), must ensure that there is a minimum 14 day span between taking the anti-depressant and the Ritalin. Both of these drugs work on similar neurotransmitters in the brain and any cross-over of these medications could result in serious, life threatening interactions. Some of these Ritalin drug interactions could even prove fatal.

Additional Ritalin Drug Interactions

Other drugs that may negatively interact with Ritalin include:

  • Blood pressure medications – Medications like Lisinopril used to treat high or low blood pressure should not be used when receiving Ritalin treatment. The combination of these drugs can result in vision problems, dizziness, and headaches. Blood thinners such as warfarin and clonidine are also considered to be particularly risky.
  • Anti-seizure medications – Medications that are used to prevent seizures should also be avoided. Phenobarbital and phenytoin, along with other examples, can have a negative impact on Ritalin’s performance. Anti-seizure medications affect the function of neural transmission in the brain, and this may have an impact on how Ritalin is absorbed into the body, and how it performs.
  • Stimulants – other stimulants, such as caffeine, may exaggerate the effects of Ritalin. An increased heart rate is a likely by-product of combining multiple stimulants. A higher resting heart rate over an extended period of time can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, and may result in additional health problems over the long term. Nicotine can also act as a stimulant, increasing the resting heart rate.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol or other products that may cause drowsiness can interact with Ritalin. Alcohol may also exaggerate the effects of Ritalin, which can have negative consequences. Though alcohol in moderation is permitted, it is recommended that they are combined in very small amounts, and only after someone has been taking Ritalin long enough to know its effects on concentration and responsiveness.

Additional Information

Other possible interactions with Ritalin include: cold and allergy medications that contain decongestants, diet pills (both prescribed and over-the-counter), Alka-Seltzer, and epinephrine. It is important to discuss any medications, drugs, or unusual food you may consume with your doctor. Your doctor is best equipped to ensure that no negative interactions exist. If you use any illicit drugs, it is also very important to disclose this to your doctor. Many street drugs have stimulant properties; adding a stimulant to a stimulant can have disastrous consequences on your health.

When starting a new medication, it is vital to note any unusual reactions you may have to the treatment. Consider keeping a journal to record all unusual effects; this can be a valuable tool to track any changes to later be discussed with your physician.