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What is Ritalin?
Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system
stimulant, similar to amphetamines in the nature and duration
of its effects. It is believed that it works by activating
the brain stem arousal system and cortex. Pharmacologically,
it works on the neurotransmitter dopamine, and in that
respect resembles the stimulant characteristics of cocaine.
When taken in accordance with usual prescription instructions,
it would be classified as having mild to moderate stimulant
properties, but when snorted or injected it has a strong
stimulant effect. Ritalin is manufactured by CIBA-Geigy
Corporation, and is supplied in 5 mg., 10 mg., and 20
mg. tablets, and in a sustained release form, Ritalin
SR as 20 mg. tablets. It is readily water soluble and
is intended for oral use. It is a Schedule II Controlled
Substance under both the federal and Indiana Controlled
Substances Acts. Since Ritalin is a Schedule II Controlled
Substance, the federal government strictly regulates the
amount that may be manufactured, through a system of rigid
How is Ritalin used?
When abused, Ritalin tablets are taken orally, crushed and then
snorted, or dissolved in water and "cooked" for intravenous
There are numerous reports in medical journals about permanent
and irreversible lung tissue damage related to injection of
crushed Ritalin tablets.
order to make the 5- to 20 mg. dose tablets large enough to
handle easily, at least 100 mg. of "inert ingredients"
are added to the tablets to increase their size. Depending upon
size and formulation, the following inert ingredients are found
in Ritalin tablets, according to the manufacturer: lactose,
starch, polyethelene glycol, magnesium stearate, sucrose, talc,
cellulose, mineral oil, and various dyes and conditioning agents.
While these ingredients are "inert" when taken by
mouth, they can cause serious problems when injected or snorted.
What are the side effects of Ritalin?
The side effects of Ritalin addiction include but are not limited
doses of stimulants produce a predictable set of symptoms that
death due to non-medical use of Ritalin is not common, it has
been known to occur.
What are the symptoms of Ritalin overdose?
Symptoms of Ritalin overdose may include: Agitation, confusion,
convulsions (may be followed by coma), delirium, dryness of
mucous membranes, enlarging of the pupil of the eye, exaggerated
feeling of elation, extremely elevated body temperature, flushing,
hallucinations, headache, high blood pressure, irregular or
rapid heartbeat, muscle twitching, sweating, tremors, vomiting.
A growing number of youngsters taking the drug Ritalin®
(methylphenidate) experience overdose, researchers report. The
study looked at the frequency of Ritalin overdose cases reported
to a regional poison control center in Detroit. Children ages
6 to 9 years were at the greatest risk of overdose, compared
with other age groups. Over a two-year period, 289 cases were
reported. Of these, 31% developed symptoms. Most common adverse
effects included tachycardia, agitation and lethargy. Most cases
were due to parents or caregivers unintentionally giving patients
excessive amounts of the drug.
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