Primarily, Ritalin targets a specific neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for an individual’s memory and learning capabilities, attention, pleasurable reward, behavior and cognition, and most especially for mood and sleep (1). Now, Ritalin blocks the protein responsible for transporting Dopamine and thus, acts by blocking the reuptake and re-absorption of the said neurotransmitter. Because of this, there will be an indirect increase in the levels of Dopamine within the brain. With an increased level of this neurotransmitter, there will be a significant improvement in one’s mood and cognitive abilities. It may also be of great help to deal efficiently with stress, anxiety, depression, and even signs of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. With regards to ADHD and ADD, Ritalin works by improving attention span and ability to concentrate and focus. It also plays a role in behavior control and improves organization of tasks and listening skills. This effect may be attributed to the"fine tuning"of the neurons in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. This area has been associated with executive functions, attention and memory, decision making, and impulse control. (2)(6)
In addition to an improved cognitive function, Ritalin also works by increasing the levels of Norepinephrine in the brain, the neurotransmitter also being referred to as the stress hormone. As the name implies, it is responsible for our body’s ability to respond to stress and is also involved in the"fight or flight"response. Norepinephrine increases a person’s breathing rate and heart rate thus, increasing blood circulation. And with an increase in blood flow, there will be more glucose and oxygen delivered to our working muscles as well as to our neurons in the brain (3). Norepinephrine works by improving attention switching and motivation.
With Ritalin, Narcolepsy may also be addressed. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. As a result, individuals have excessive daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during daytime (4). Now, Ritalin addresses this condition by increasing the individual’s awareness while reducing lethargy and fatigue. It also produces an effect equivalent to exciting or rewarding stimuli thus, helping the brain stay awake.
On the other hand, researchers have also considered the idea of Ritalin being a weight loss aid. This effect may be attributed to the mechanism that Ritalin works as a stimulant. Stimulants, in general, increase heart rate and basal metabolic rate and also act as a natural fat burning system. Moreover, through an increase in metabolic rate, Ritalin works as an appetite suppressant as well. However, it is best not to solely rely on Ritalin for its weight loss promoting effects. Proper diet and exercise should also be incorporated to achieve desired results.
It is very crucial for any drug or supplement to be taken at the right amount and frequency for it to produce the desired effects while possibly eliminating or minimizing the undesired ones. With the case of Ritalin, how much of it do we really need each day? The recommended daily dose of Ritalin has a wide range however it is advised that Ritalin be taken at 1 mg for each kg of body weight. For example for an individual weighing 198 lb or 90 kg, the recommended dosage would approximately be 90 mg per day. On the other hand, take Ritalin 30 to 45 minutes before a meal so as not to interfere with absorption. Some Ritalin forms such as Extended-release Ritalin LA capsules or Ritalin SR tablets can be taken with or without food. When addressing Narcolepsy, take Ritalin in the morning. This medication should not be taken in smaller or larger amounts or for longer duration other than the dose prescribed by the doctor. When you have missed a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is later than 6 pm. Do not take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
Using this drug improperly can cause death or serious side effects on the heart. Also, there is danger since it could be habit forming, so it should be used exactly as prescribed by the doctor. When taking Ritalin, read all patient information, medication guides and instruction sheets. One should follow all directions on the prescription label. (5)
The use of Ritalin has been associated with a wide range of reported side effects. As a CNS stimulant, it can produce tachycardia or an increased heart rate. Other common Ritalin side effects include fever, headaches, chest pain, stomach pain, joint pain, skin rashes and/or hives, nervousness and irritability, insomnia and other sleep problems, nausea, and loss of appetite. When side effects are experienced, discontinue its use immediately and contact healthcare provider for proper medical attention and guidance. Since it is habit forming, do not share Ritalin with anyone, especially those people who have a history of drug abuse and addiction.
It is also important to note that not all people are approved to use Ritalin. There would be some contraindications and some points to consider especially when pertaining to drug interactions. Do not take Ritalin if you have glaucoma, tics or Tourette’s syndrome, severe anxiety, tension and agitation (stimulants can make these worse). Avoid drinking alcohol when under Ritalin medication, especially that of the Ritalin LA capsules. This is because alcohol causes Ritalin to be released in the bloodstream fast. If anticipating a surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are taking Ritalin. Use of this medication may be stopped. (5)
Tell your doctor about all current medications even those that have been recently started and/or stopped, especially anti-depressants, blood pressure medications, seizure medication, blood thinners such as warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven and cold or allergy medication that contains decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine. Moreover if you have taken MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, including isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others, the use of Ritalin is contraindicated.
Where can I buy Ritalin?
Ritalin may be purchased online. Although it can be bought without prescription, it would be best used under the direction of a qualified medical practitioner. Ritalin is available in oral capsule extended release, oral powder for suspension extended release, oral solution, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable, and oral tablet extended release. In 2012, FDA approved the liquid form of methylphenidate for patients age 6 and older who might have difficulty swallowing pills.
For improved concentration and energy booster, Adderall alternatives are available, they also enhances focus, alertness and wakefulness without the characteristic stimulant side effects of drugs like Ritalin.References:
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