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Ritalin LA (methylphenidate hydrochloride) extended-release capsules is indicated for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The efficacy of Ritalin LA in the treatment of ADHD was established in 1 controlled trial of children aged 6 to 12 who met DSM-IV criteria for ADHD.
A diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD; DSM-IV) implies the presence of hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment and were present before age 7 years. The symptoms must cause clinically significant impairment, e.g., in social, academic, or occupational functioning, and be present in 2 or more settings, e.g., school (or work) and at home. The symptoms must not be better accounted for by another mental disorder. For the Inattentive Type, at least 6 of the following symptoms must have persisted for at least 6 months: lack of attention to details/careless mistakes; lack of sustained attention; poor listener; failure to follow through on tasks; poor organization; avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort; loses things; easily distracted; forgetful. For the Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, at least 6 of the following symptoms must have persisted for at least 6 months: fidgeting/squirming; leaving seat; inappropriate running/climbing; difficulty with quiet activities; “on the go;” excessive talking; blurting answers; can’t wait turn; intrusive. The Combined Types requires both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive criteria to be met.
Specific etiology of this syndrome is unknown, and there is no single diagnostic test. Adequate diagnosis requires the use not only of medical but of special psychological, educational, and social resources. Learning may or may not be impaired. The diagnosis must be based upon a complete history and evaluation of the child and not solely on the presence of the required number of DSM-IV characteristics.
Ritalin LA is indicated as an integral part of a total treatment program for ADHD that may include other measures (psychological, educational, social) for patients with this syndrome. Drug treatment may not be indicated for all children with this syndrome. Stimulants are not intended for use in the child who exhibits symptoms secondary to environmental factors and/or other primary psychiatric disorders, including psychosis. Appropriate educational placement is essential and psychosocial intervention is often helpful. When remedial measures alone are insufficient, the decision to prescribe stimulant medication will depend upon the physician’s assessment of the chronicity and severity of the child’s symptoms.
The effectiveness of Ritalin LA for long-term use, i.e., for more than 2 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in controlled trials. Therefore, the physician who elects to use Ritalin LA for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
Ritalin LA (methylphenidate hydrochloride) extended-release capsules are for oral administration once daily in the morning. Ritalin LA may be swallowed as whole capsules or alternatively may be administered by sprinkling the capsule contents on a small amount of applesauce (see specific instructions below). Ritalin LA and/or their contents should not be crushed, chewed, or divided.
The capsules may be carefully opened and the beads sprinkled over a spoonful of applesauce. The applesauce should not be warm because it could affect the modified release properties of this formulation. The mixture of drug and applesauce should be consumed immediately in its entirety. The drug and applesauce mixture should not be stored for future use. Patients should be advised to avoid alcohol while taking Ritalin LA.
Dosage should be individualized according to the needs and responses of the patients.
There is no body of evidence available from controlled trials to indicate how long the patient with ADHD should be treated with Ritalin LA. It is generally agreed, however, that pharmacological treatment of ADHD may be needed for extended periods. Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use Ritalin LA for extended periods in patients with ADHD should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient with trials off medication to assess the patient’s functioning without pharmacotherapy. Improvement may be sustained when the drug is either temporarily or permanently discontinued.
If paradoxical aggravation of symptoms or other adverse events occur, the dosage should be reduced, or, if necessary, the drug should be discontinued. If improvement is not observed after appropriate dosage adjustment over a 1-month period, the drug should be discontinued.
Ritalin LA (methylphenidate hydrochloride) extended-release capsules are contraindicated in marked anxiety, tension, and agitation, since the drug may aggravate these symptoms.
Ritalin LA is contraindicated in patients known to be hypersensitive to methylphenidate or other components of the product.
Ritalin LA is contraindicated in patients with glaucoma.
Ritalin LA is contraindicated in patients with motor tics or with a family history or diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome
Ritalin LA is contraindicated during treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and also within a minimum of 14 days following discontinuation of treatment with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (hypertensive crises may result).
Periodic CBC, differential, and platelet counts are advised during prolonged therapy.
Prescribers or other health professionals should inform patients, their families, and their caregivers about the benefits and risks associated with treatment with methylphenidate and should counsel them in its appropriate use. A patient Medication Guide is available for Ritalin LA. The prescriber or health professional should instruct patients, their families, and their caregivers to read the Medication Guide and should assist them in understanding its contents. Patients should be given the opportunity to discuss the contents of the Medication Guide and to obtain answers to any questions they may have. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
Patients should be advised to avoid alcohol while taking Ritalin LA. Consumption of alcohol while taking Ritalin LA may result in a more rapid release of the dose of methylphenidate.
Nervousness and insomnia are the most common adverse reactions reported with other methylphenidate products. In children, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss during prolonged therapy, insomnia, and tachycardia may occur more frequently; however, any of the other adverse reactions listed below may also occur.
Cardiac: angina, arrhythmia, palpitations, pulse increased or decreased, tachycardia
Gastrointestinal: abdominal pain, nausea
Immune: hypersensitivity reactions including skin rash, urticaria, fever, arthralgia, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme with histopathological findings of necrotizing vasculitis, and thrombocytopenic purpura.
Metabolism/Nutrition: anorexia, weight loss during prolonged therapy
Nervous System: dizziness, drowsiness, dyskinesia, headache, rare reports of Tourette’s syndrome, serotonin syndrome in combination with serotonergic drugs, toxic psychosis
Vascular: blood pressure increased or decreased; cerebrovascular vasculitis; cerebral occlusions; cerebral hemorrhages and cerebrovascular accidents
Methylphenidate is metabolized primarily by de-esterification (nonmicrosomal hydrolytic esterases) to ritalinic acid and not through oxidative pathways.
The effects of gastrointestinal pH alterations on the absorption of methylphenidate from Ritalin LA have not been studied. Since the modified release characteristics of Ritalin LA are pH dependent, the coadministration of antacids or acid suppressants could alter the release of methylphenidate.
Methylphenidate may decrease the effectiveness of drugs used to treat hypertension. Because of possible effects on blood pressure, methylphenidate should be used cautiously with pressor agents.
As an inhibitor of dopamine reuptake, methylphenidate may be associated with pharmacodynamic interactions when coadministered with direct and indirect dopamine agonists (including DOPA and tricyclic antidepressants) as well as dopamine antagonists (antipsychotics, e.g., haloperidol).
Case reports suggest a potential interaction of methylphenidate with coumarin anticoagulants, anticonvulsants (e.g., phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone), and tricyclic drugs (e.g., imipramine, clomipramine, desipramine) but pharmacokinetic interactions were not confirmed when explored at higher sample sizes. Downward dose adjustment of these drugs may be required when given concomitantly with methylphenidate. It may be necessary to adjust the dosage and monitor plasma drug concentrations (or, in the case of coumarin, coagulation times), when initiating or discontinuing concomitant methylphenidate.
Methylphenidate is not metabolized by cytochrome P450 to a clinically relevant extent. Inducers or inhibitors of cytochrome P450 are not expected to have any relevant impact on methylphenidate pharmacokinetics. Conversely, the d- and l-enantiomers of methylphenidate did not relevantly inhibit cytochrome P450 1A2, 2C8, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1 or 3A.
Methylphenidate coadministration did not increase plasma concentrations of the CYP2D6 substrate desipramine.
An interaction with the anticoagulant ethylbiscoumacetate in 4 subjects was not confirmed in a subsequent study with a higher sample size (n=12).
Other specific drug-drug interaction studies with methylphenidate have not been performed in vivo.