View Full Version : Experiences with Ritalin - Long acting and Short Acting

06-20-04, 02:06 PM
I'm curious as to what people's experieces having with long acting VS Short Acting Ritalin

Regular Short Acting Ritalin
Ritalin SR
Ritalin LA

I curretly take Ritalin LA and it works well. I started on Concerta but had to stop because the Release mechinism really did a job on my degestive system. The Ritalin LA doesn't last quite as long for me as Concerta but it's last between 6 and 8 hours for me.

I have never taken the short acting Ritalin.
I haven't heard anything but negative things about Ritalin SR.

06-20-04, 02:53 PM
I take regular release ritalin and it seems to work really well for me. I don't have any side effects besides the occasional headaches and insomnia.

I took Concerta 18mg for a month and had unbearable headaches on a daily basis. So I never had good benefits from it.

06-21-04, 02:15 PM
I take aproximately 10 mg's of Brand Ritalin 3-4 times a day. I also get the 20 mg pills and break them in half as I don't like the 10 mg pills. (Yes, I can tell the difference) ;)

I have tried the longer acting Ritalin but it didn't really work well for me. It didn't last as long and I had a problem regulating it based upon my daily activities.

06-21-04, 02:53 PM
I've only ever taken the short acting generic Ritalin. It had a brutal backlash where I'd be willing to eat young children without much provocation. I was taking 10mg twice a day. So far I'm happy with the brand Dex la in the morning and 5mg sa at 3:30pm or so.

I hadn't considered the SR Ritalin but given my success with stimulants I'd guess it might be worth remembering in case the Dex begins to loose it's shine.

I didn't know there was a difference between the LA and the SR Ritalin.

David: I wouldn't mind hearing more about how you use the short acting formula to help regulate or maybe suit your daily activities.

Cheers! Ian.

06-23-04, 03:21 PM
hi! my son tried normal four hour ritalin before trying slow realease and im surpised you have heard only bad things as we are much happier with sr! before my son had headaches, stomach pains nausea, loss of appitite and depression. i took him back to the doctor when he lost 2 stone in 6 weeks. we tried sr and all the side effects went, he eats me out of house and home, laffs jokes and throws typical temper tantrums!lol the only problem we have is that mornings and evenings are pretty bad, but no worse than on normal ritalin. im now looking into strattea as i know it will be suggested but sr worked for us!

10-07-04, 10:38 PM
Glad to finally find a discussion on the various forms of Ritalin. Just today I started on the SR because my doctor inadvertently wrote the script out for it instead of my usual LA, and much to my surprise, found it to be quite different from the LA, even though the pharmacist claimed that there was no difference.

Here are the CONS I experienced:
not as sharp,
absolutely no appetite,
alternately sweat and froze several times within an hour all day long,
dropped things accidentally twice due to muscle weakness,
no elated feelings,
no motivation, and
all of the above symptoms lasted a good 10 hours.

Here are the PROS:

I would love to hear about your personal experiences with LA and/or SR or what you've heard about them. Thanks.

10-14-04, 12:28 PM
I have mostly been on generic ritalin. I have tried stratterra, concerta, and recently generic SR ritalin. No effect for at least 2 hrs, then very little, but better than nothing I guess. I am now just back on regular 4 times a day or so.

02-15-05, 11:47 PM
I'm sorry to sound so dumb folks, but what is the difference between Ritalin SR and Ritalin LR? I just thought there was a "Time released" Ritalin (the SR) and the fast acting stuff which is now available as a generic.

Would somebody clue in this newbie?

02-16-05, 12:11 PM
My son has taken methylphenidate (Ritalin) 10mg 4 hour release and 36mg Methylphendiate slow release. Here's my two pennies worth of comparison.

With the 10mg only side effects were very poor appetite leading to a gradual loss of weight and some problems sleeping.

With the 36mg, loss of appetite, stomach aches, blood in urine, deeper feelings of depression, more obvious mood swings, increased anxiety.

We perservered with the 36mg slow release and loss of appetite and some occasional sleep problems are the only noticable side effects.

02-17-05, 12:04 AM
You have to take any anecdote with a huge grain of salt. People simply are not aware of many issues involved. There is no reason why a slow release of methylphenidate would have markedly different results than fast release, slightly different, potentially. Slightly better? Maybe. Interesting and very new side effects from slow release vs. immediate release? Very unlikely. In general people are not very good at perception and arrive at conclusions too readily.

02-17-05, 12:47 AM
You have to take any anecdote with a huge grain of salt. People simply are not aware of many issues involved. There is no reason why a slow release of methylphenidate would have markedly different results than fast release, slightly different, potentially. Slightly better? Maybe. Interesting and very new side effects from slow release vs. immediate release? Very unlikely. In general people are not very good at perception and arrive at conclusions too readily. You make a good point. My understanding is that the slow release Ritalin is preferred by some people who experience "crashes" as the more frequent doses of regular Ritalin wear off. Other people adjust the timing of doses of regular Ritalin to avoid this.

I am always intrigued by people who blame Ritalin for appetite suppression - a common side effect when first going on the med., which should disappear in time -, forgetting that the patient was thin, hyperactive and often forgot to eat before ever going on Ritalin. When I read stories about weight loss with other ADHD meds., I am tempted to approach my doctor for a new med. to lose the extra pounds I carry. As I do well on Ritalin, my doctors are hesitant to mess with something that is working with no side effects.

02-17-05, 01:09 AM
This is a very interesting topic.

The only Ritalin I have ever tried is the SR. It was not a good experience, which is why I have not tried anything else. The minor stuff that occurs when the body is getting used to a drug, like headaches and no appetite, went away in a week or so. The awful stuff crept up on me. I tried to ignore it, I willed this medicine to work for me, but it didn't.
Firstly, it made me seriously unhappy to the point of wondering why I was alive. I cried 3-4 times daily. I was not like this before trying the SR. I am usually the happy-go-lucky, Pollyanna type.
Secondly, it did nothing to improve motivation or focus. I gave it a good try. Almost four months. Then I threw the rest away.
The deep sadness didn't go away immediately. It took several weeks SR free to get rid of the feelings of wretchedness that it gave me.

Therefore, the fact that others who have tried more kinds of Ritalin than me say that there IS a difference gives me hope. From what I have read here, I will not be trying the Concerta. I think I would like to try the straight stuff, as it sounds like the least complicated.

Why do you think there is a difference between the 10 mg and the 20 mg cut in half? I really want to know this.

01-17-08, 11:46 PM
I've been actually taking both Ritalin LA and methylphenidate together for the past few years. I definitely prefer the LA since its makes me less edgy and allows me to work at a more relaxed pace. Unfortunately, it doesn't last as long as it should with me which is why I compliment it with the short acting; taking it towards the end of the day to help during the last few hours. I just couldn't take the short acting multiple times a day as I kept feeling like I was "spiking" my moods. Also, the short acting doses really make me anxious unless I keep it a low dosage ( <10 mg). It took a year of modifying my prescription before my doctor and I came to this treatment. It works well for if the LA doesn't last as long but you don't want to increase the dosage or take multiple SA all day long.

01-19-08, 10:27 PM
Long acting (capsules), released twice: Have a 30 min valley between the first and second dose. The last dose workes less than the first one. Makes me calmer, but doesn't do much for my concentration and focus. Easier than tablets in social situations, more stabile throughout the time it's working. I take mine with 5 hrs apart. It lasts longer than that, but between 5 - 6 hrs after I take it, it loses effect quickly. I also avoid the "valley" between each time I take it this way. You can take a smaller dose than the "window" that works for you on the tablets, without getting jittery etc. Of course that will affect how well it works. Starts to work after little over an hour.

Ritalin (tablets): Works quickly - 30-45 min. You need to find that "window" where "everything falls in to place". Makes me feel more calm, works better, a whole lot better ability to focus than capsules, but wears off quickly. It can be hard if it's a social event or meeting; it works, then it doesn't, then you have to take the next dose. Works better overall - when it is working. I have to take them every 3 hrs. After 3 hrs I know (feel) it's time for the next dose, on the spot, I don't need a watch. :p Except for the down period between you take them, it can work much better also in social events (but they will notice when it's time to take your meds again :o ).

01-19-08, 11:22 PM
I started with Ritalin. Headaches and a bad reaction with caffeine the first two days. Palpitations too. Sleep problems!!!!! horrible. Palpitations and crazy heart rates.
But now I don't have side effects apart from the weird palpitations and irregular heart beats.
I'm taking 54 mg concerta right now. It kicks in in about 50 minutes. Ritalin worked in 30 minutes so that's the advantage but I prefer taking just one concerta pill in the morning instead of taking Ritalin every now and then (mainly because I forget to).

01-22-08, 02:43 PM
I can't believe I forgot this! I can't take capsules as the last dose of the day, when you have to endure the whole wearing off period, instead of cutting it short by taking a new dose. With the capsules, the wearing off period is longer than from the tablets (short acting)!

02-06-08, 08:39 PM
I have 20 mgs of ritalin I take for studying ......and I unfortunately am a bad ADDer, I do not take it regularly.

I feel ritalin does help me study, but ONLY if I really want too, if I dont , I won't!! Even Straterra and Aderrall were the same...I still PROCRASTINATE..

though ritalin helps me retain information, and study at times....

02-11-08, 12:38 AM
Im getting pretty fed with everyone telling me one thing from another: Doctor mentioning how if the Ritalin LA 10mg he prescribed isnt working, I don;t have ADD. Worked for the first 7 days with improved memory, focus, motivation..but over time, I just have my old inattentive symptoms.

Could anyone explain why this is happening to me? I weigh 135 pounds for a 5 foot 5 for a 17 year old. Could I even actually talk to my GP over the phone and talk to him about this without him having to talk with my mother?

The cons of this med for me is the ocassional headaches, maybe twice a week chestpains, but thats about it. Im inattentive btw.

Anyway to request to try dexadrine from my GP?

02-28-08, 08:01 AM
I'm currently taking a generic form of Ritalin - IC Methylphenidate SA 20mg - which I believe is short acting.

It kicks in about 30 minutes after taking it, lasts for about 3-4 hours giving me great focus, a positive level mood, and the ability to work hard. Unfortunately, many of my classes are still boring, so that doesn't help. :rolleyes:

As for side effects, I have noticed an increase in "abnormal thinking" - that this - thinking wayyy outside the box more than usual (philosophical sort of stuff, most of which I don't enjoy) and a slight drop in my libido (which blows). Further, I do get much more frustrated, much more easily than before, which is never good.

04-06-08, 07:21 PM
Currently on day 1 of Ritalin LA 20mg (2 10mg capsules 1x in a.m.) after having titrated up from 10mg 1x a day. The only thing I've been experiencing is intermittent headaches. Strange headaches! Within 1 hour of taking the med I experienced a dull tension-like headache. Several hours later I experienced throbbing headaches below my eyebrows. It's been five hours since I took the med and I feel like my left eye socket has a fire hot spear piercing through it! I'm trying patiently to wait for the medication to wear off so I can get some work done.

Guess everyone has different experiences.

04-07-08, 12:44 PM
Ritalin I think is just nice to see if you can handle methylfinyl and if it really helps to clear up your mind instead of just getting some sort of ampetamine rush.
IŽd never give a child ritalin for very long period, those fluxtuations in activity during the day are not nice. Concerta I think is the longest working time released version (12 hours, I think 8 hours for many others) and for me the 54mg capsules work great.

I see it like this; If the ease of mind and increased focus and productivity outweigh this nasty side of ritalin, it's probably time to start taking concerta. If not, stop taking add meds alltogether or try another substance.

I really dont get how people can make prescriptions like 2x10mg + 2x10mg or 1xwhatever dose ritalin for AD(H)D. Lol, to me that seems like pure mental torture and only thing I can think of is that people with tiredness problems at certain point in day might benefit from something like that.
It's very simple, also ritalin is not woring immediately(For me after 40 minutes it starts reaching a blood dose that is noticable), it slowly reaches peak blood level and then slowly fades away again.(for me in about 3 hours with I think a small rest dose in blood but definately need to take a new dose after that time)
The effect of ritalin at a certain blood concentration however is very direct. If you take it down to zero now, all positive effects immediately disappear plus one will experience a short period of ADD+, like I call it. This blood level is impossible to keep anywhere near to constant with ritalin so if you want to be confronted several times a day with how exactly it feels again to have ADD, use ritalin... If not and you also want to have a smoother ride down towards bedtime, go for concerta or another time released product.

Garbanzo Dude
12-01-08, 06:06 PM
Great posts everyone......what are the genric forms of long lasting Ritalin.....any better than the other.....I'm currently back on 10mg twice daily (Sandoz) after trying Barr Dex....the Dex had too many sides....and I have a caffiene issue....which was not good with Dex.... the one thing I like about ritalin is that it kicks in quick for focus and wears off when you're done for the day. But I'm thinking if I take a longer acting form in the morning I can start to ditch the coffee.,

01-27-09, 12:29 AM
You have to take any anecdote with a huge grain of salt. People simply are not aware of many issues involved. There is no reason why a slow release of methylphenidate would have markedly different results than fast release, slightly different, potentially. Slightly better? Maybe. Interesting and very new side effects from slow release vs. immediate release? Very unlikely. In general people are not very good at perception and arrive at conclusions too readily.

I have no experience with Ritalin LA, but for me there was a vast difference between short acting Ritalin and Ritalin SR.

I was started on short acting and told to take 10mg qd for a week and then work up to 10mg twice a day (BID). I did as directed and had horrible side effects, I would get headaches the minute it wore off and extremely tired.

I was then switched to Ritalin SR 20mg qd and short acting Ritalin 10mg qd. Perfect. Even if I don't take the short acting that day, no headaches, no sudden tiredness.

I'm sure it is different for everyone, but I'm very happy with SR being supplemented with immediate release.

03-04-09, 11:47 PM
In my 40's I used 20mg slow release ritalin at 8am and supplemented it w/ 10 mg regular ritalin mid-afternoon. Benefits gone by 7pm. After 4 or 5 years, my body got used to the ritilin, so I have switched to adderol slow release. Working well for me.

03-11-09, 02:58 PM
sometimes my adhd sucks so bad I can't tell. I was on a high dose then read some post and then said screw it this is must be bad, so I titrated down to nothing.. Turns out theres a reason I'm on a high dose, I found myself at ease with barely taking any meds but I'd just daydream all day long....Work ..Ha!! thats for suckers I said and I'd nod off and the day was over. After a week I decided the only thing I was doing was working out, so I went back to ritalin and concerta and the the higher dose and found myself working and acting normal again... Normality sucks I thought, and now I do wonder if adderall is different.

07-13-10, 11:59 PM
Concerta was horrible... all it did was give me the worst excrusiating headaches of my life. Didn't seem to help me at all. I did have loss of appetite but more of a tweakier high that crashed hard and made me easily agitated. Same with Strattera just massive headaches. I'm on the short acting Ritalin right now, so far I'm very dissapointed because I need the long acting for my job. the only other side affect I can complain about is the constant hunger pangs.

01-14-11, 02:06 AM
I started off on 5mg of Ritalin IR and was titrated to 10mg twice per day.
My experience was ok with the 10 mg. I did see noticeable results in my hyperactivity and concentration. However, the effectiveness only lasted for two hours. Also after the medication began to wear off I would get headaches and would become extremely tired.

Recently I have switched to Ritalin LA. I am currently prescribed 20 mg that is administered twice per day. One thing I do like about this medication is that I no longer suffer from headaches. I have noticed that the effectiveness is more subtle for the long acting. It does not seem to help as much with my concentration. For some reason it seems like the benefits come and go.

Anyone that has taken both medications, did you notice if the dosage was less effective for the long acting?

01-17-11, 12:02 PM
I'm on metadate CD (* methylphenidate *) which is basically ritalin. It lasts about 8 hours in my system.

Longer lasting dosages usually have a slight peak then even out to a gradual release of methylphenidate beads which provide a steady stream of dopamine to the brain, which in turn allows the patient to be medicated for the specified period of time.

Short term: peak then gradual decline of methylphenidate in the blood stream.

01-17-11, 04:03 PM
I take short-acting (Instant Release) Ritalin tablets (generic Watson).

I don't have any problems with the Watson generic, I find it to be the smoothest of all the Ritalin generics.

It gives me good focus and impulse/hyperactivity control. I also feel calm on it. I actually can listen and "get" things.

The generics that didn't work for me were: Methylin (Mallinckrodt) and Sandoz.

01-19-11, 03:33 PM
Im having a tough time with Concerta vs Ritalin IR. Very different continual feeling with Concerta - more or less foggy all day. The Ritalin IR gave me peaks and valleys, but much better concentration while on peaks. Combine that with the price difference and im unsure about Concerta.

Looks like continual dosing of IR is the way to go, or a SR in the morning and IR in the afternoon to cut out a single dosage.

02-17-11, 04:05 PM
I'm on concerts 2x36mg at 7am and another 36mg at midday and I don't really have any side affects a part from insomnia but I now take risperdale to reverse the affects from concerts otherwise I won't sleep all night I once went a week without sleep which I never intend doing ever again

02-17-11, 11:13 PM
I will post my story here with my short time on generic Ritalin LA and IR. I was started on 20mg of LA(at 8 am morning), the concentration seemed to come in waves and was not too effective. I did have a crash on it at around 2-3 PM that was generally manageable.

I told the doc about this and he upped me to 30 mg of LA at morning and 10mg of IR for afternoons to keep things going for my 5 PM class. Well the crash on 30mg is brutal, not really headaches I just feel like an out right vegatable. Add a day with the 10mg of IR + 30mg SR and I am 100% worthless.

I often have to experience the crash twice a day: once when the SR wears off, because if I take the IR before the SR wears off the IR wont last through my 5 PM class.

So don't get me wrong the Ritalin does work(when I am on it it has changed my life) and I think personally 40mg of SR in morning and 10 mg of IR at 1 PM and 4 PM would be around the sweet spot for me to have all day coverage and minimal crash time at night. However I am not the doc.

01-06-13, 05:25 PM
Just going to put this out there for the person who claimed that these meds do not affect son was diagnosed at age 9, had never had an appetite issue up to that point. The first med he was prescribed was Concerta. He literally did not eat from the time he got up in the morning till he went to bed unless I MADE him eat-and did not sleep. We gave it a good chance, he was on it for over 9 months. We adjusted dosage, etc. Nothing worked, he looked like the walking dead, dark circles under his eyes, pale-but his schoolwork and focus was greatly improved. Finally, we switched him to Ritalin LA, which was perfect for him. He regained a normal appetite and his sleep issues greatly improved as well. He was on the Ritalin LA with no issues for a few years, then our insurance changed and we could no longer afford it, so he switched to Dexedrine, which also worked great for several we again have better insurance and he just switched back to the Ritalin LA. He is age 16 and an honor student, skinny, but my whole family is built that way so it is likely hereditary. He has a normal teenage boy appetite-eats me out of house and home.