Concerta: Benefits and Side Effects

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by Jeannine Virtue

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




insomnia and prolonged sleepiness

loss of appetite

increased coughing, sinusitis, upper respiratory tract


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

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

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- for effective drug-free alternatives to
Ritalin, Concerta and other ADHD medications.


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