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Key Information



Methylphenidate (Ritalin)




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Ritalin works by affecting some of the natural chemicals that are found in the Brain. In particular, it increases the activity of chemicals called Dopamine and Noradrenaline in areas of the Brain that play a part in controlling attention and behaviour. These areas seem to be underactive in children with ADHD. It is thought increasing the activity of these chemicals improves the function of these underactive parts of the Brain.   Ritalin tablets contain the active ingredient Methylphenidate Hydrochloride, which is a type of medicine called a Stimulant.


Ritalin comes in tablet or capsule form. Ritalin is available in 5, 10 and 20 milligram tablets. The tablets typically are white or yellow in colour Taken as prescribed, Ritalin can be an effective medicine.  Abusers either swallow the tablets or crush them to produce a powder, which is snorted. Some abusers dissolve the tablets in water and then inject the mixture — a particularly dangerous practice. Complications can result when the drug is injected because insoluble fibres in Ritalin can block small blood vessels.

HEALTH RISKS (long term) which includes withdrawal & tolerance:

Ritalin could permanently damage your brain.  It can also cause weight loss and nervousness.  There have also been reports of: abnormal Liver function, Cerebral Arthritis, Leucopoenia and death.  There have been at least 19 cases of sudden death in children taking Ritalin.  Ritalin has been implicated in cases of sudden death by heart failure.  Recent research suggests that people who are treated with Ritalin are actually less likely to abuse drugs including Alcohol later in life.


Ritalin is a Class B drug.  Maximum penalties are five years in prison and/or a fine for possession or 14 years in prison and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.

  1. Since Ritalin is a prescribed medication, it's often considered innocent and harmless, without the stigma associated with street drugs. In fact, illegal Ritalin use can be very dangerous, with effects similar to those produced by Cocaine and Amphetamines.
  2. In clinical studies, Ritalin, like Amphetamines, produces behavioural and psychological effects similar to Cocaine. In simple terms, this means that the human body cannot tell the difference between Cocaine or Amphetamines.
  3. When abused, these prescription tablets create powerful stimulant and addictive effects. In recent years, Ritalin has become one of the most abused prescription drugs.
  4. Ritalin is abused by diverse segments of the population, from health care professions and children to street addicts.
  5. Between 30 and 50 percent of adolescents in drug treatment centres report Ritalin use.
  6. Ritalin ranks in the top 10 most frequently reported controlled pharmaceuticals stolen from licensed handlers.
  7. Reports from students show Ritalin used as a study aid and party drug in the same manner that Amphetamine was used in the 1960s.
  8. Research suggests that Ritalin causes long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and function. The drug appears to initiate changes in brain function that remain long after the therapeutic effects dissipate.
  9. Harold Shipman (Dr Death) was addicted to Ritalin.
  10. Ritalin was patented in 1954 by the Ciba pharmaceutical company (one of the predecessors of Novartis) and was initially prescribed as a treatment for Depression, Chronic Fatigue, and Narcolepsy, among other ailments.
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