Methylin Vs. Ritalin


Methylin and Ritalin are both name brand medications that use methylphenidate hydrochloride as the main active ingredient. They are available by prescription only and are used to treat such conditions as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Care should be taken while using either medication as there are adverse reactions associated with their use.


  • The active ingredient in both Methylin and Ritalin tablets is methylphenidate hydrochloride, a mild stimulant for the central nervous system. Methylin and Ritalin tablets are both available in 5, 10 and 20 mg strengths. The numbers designate the amount of methylphenidate hydrochloride contained in each tablet. Methylin also comes in liquid and chewable versions. Chewable tablets are available in 2.5, 5 and 10 mg tablets. The liquid version is available in 5 mL doses that contain 2 mg of methylphenidate hydrochloride.


  • Both medications are prescribed as part of a treatment plan for people suffering from attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They are used to control symptoms of distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsivity and short attention span. Methylin and Ritalin can also be used to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Both medications are supposed to be taken twice daily for as long as they are prescribed by a doctor.


  • Methylin tablets are round, white and imprinted with an "M" on one side and a "5", "10", "20" or "1423" on the other side. The pill marked "1423" is Methylin ER, an extended release tablet. Ritalin 5 mg tablets are round and yellow with "CIBA 7" imprinted on them. Ten milligram tablets are round and green with "CIBA 3" imprinted on them, and 20 mg tablets are round and yellow with "CIBA 34" imprinted on them. Ritalin's extended release tablets are round and white with a coating and are imprinted with "CIBA 16."

Side Effects

  • Some common side effects associated with Methylin use are headache, stomach ache, decreased appetite, nervousness, trouble sleeping, nausea and dizziness. Other more serious side effects include slowing of growth in children, blurred vision or eyesight changes and seizures. The list of side effects associated with Ritalin is almost identical to that of Methylin.


  • There have been cases of sudden death in adults, children and adolescents associated with methylphenidate hydrochloride use. This medication should not be used in individuals with serious cardiac abnormalities. Use of methylphenidate hydrochloride has been linked to heart-related problems like stroke and heart attack. It has also been linked to new or worsening behavior, bipolar illness and aggression.

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