Concerta is licensed by the FDA and can be legally prescribed from the age of 6 through 65. FDA warnings are required to be listed on the label, and include interactions with other drugs, contraindications, cautions for use during pregnancy, and health risks such as sudden death, suicidality, age restrictions, and others. (1)
Of importance, a prescription for Concerta and others in its class is typically meant to continue over many years, often beginning in childhood and continuing even into adulthood. Currently, about 1 in 10 children have been diagnosed, in the US alone, as needing to take Concerta or other ADHD medications.
Some countries around the world have experienced even higher percentages, initiating extremely high drugging of children, for example, in South Africa. (9)
Below is some additional information that is frequently searched for to help anyone considering stopping or starting a prescription of Concerta.
Concerta contains methylphenidate, a drug with similar structure and stimulant properties to cocaine and methamphetamines. Methylphenidate is prescribed to treat ADHD in children and adults between the ages of 6 and 65. The term ADHD is an acronym for attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder.
Some believe that ADHD is a bonafide diagnosis that may even be related to autism, and that it should be treated as a psychiatric illness.
The DSM V edition revised the official diagnostic criteria for ADHD in 2013. (2)
Symptoms of ADHD have recently been separated into two kinds of ADHD. One is “inattentive ADHD” according to the most current psychiatric literature on diagnosis. This disorder is diagnosed against a set of 9 symptoms. A diagnosis for children under the age of 17 years must include evidence of at least 6 of these nine symptoms for at least 6 months; however, for age 17 and up, a patient only needs evidence of 5 of these 9 symptoms to completely satisfy the criteria for diagnosis:
The second diagnostic category for this disorder is called “hyperactive-impulsive ADHD”, and the 9 symptoms to satisfy diagnostic criteria for this psychiatric disorder, (required minimum of 6 of the 9 symptoms under 17 years of age, and a minimum of 5 out of 9 for age 17 and older) are:
However, ADHD is considered, by some in the mental health field as a fictitious disease model, and do not agree that placing a label on a child or an adult for that matter, is sound medical practice, or that such labels and treatment models lead to any desirable outcome in helping those so labeled to do better in school, in their work or professional career, or to meet the challenges in general that life may bring. (3)
Some medical experts question the near tidal-wave rise in reliance on medication to relieve boredom, increase interest and attention span, or as a quick fix to calm down overly-boisterous children or adults.
Other questions have yet to be completely answered as to the wisdom of attempting to alter natural brain chemicals and neuropathways in young people, and in adults, and why such practices should have become the most frequently chosen option, when such significant questions as to potential long-term health and safety consequences still remain glaringly open. (5)
Giving a child a stimulant such as Concerta during the time of transition from puberty into adulthood raises some important concerns. It is during this time that a child begins to sense the rewards of life. The dopamine areas of the brain, called the Mesocorticolimbic region, are just getting wired up and interconnected with other parts of the brain at this time. It is likely that stimulants like Concerta could interfere with this very important age-related development. Additionally, it is very common for children and young adults to abuse Concerta, and then stay up one too many nights in a drug-induced mania. Concerned parties, including physicians, may mistake this drug-induced psychosis as an actual mental disorder and prescribe antipsychotic medications. Unfortunately, this is an all too common event and can result in long term consequences.
A recent Reuter’s article interviewed the Nationwide Poison Control Center, who report about 2000 calls a week involving ADHD drug exposures. About half of these calls were regarding overdoses, accidental overdoses, and intentional abuse or suicide attempts. (6)
Such questions deserve a serious assessment so that informed decisions can be made regarding the use of drug-based treatments, as well as considering other approaches to improving social skills, workplace management skills, improved strategies and skills for learning, and achieving bettered individual mental health without relying on drugs.
Concerta has developed a host of slang terms such as:
These terms would be used in a context of recreational use or diversion.
Concerta is a stimulant, but is probably better known for its paradoxical (non stimulant) effects particularly in children and teenagers. Some side effects point to health risks and these should be closely monitored, such as:
The above points are from the warnings listed on the FDA label information for Concerta. (1)
The following is a list of other commonly reported side effects of drugs containing methylphenidate:
More serious side effects can include:
Always talk with your prescribing physician if these or other symptoms appear while taking Concerta.
The FDA warns of the following possible withdrawal effects (1):
While some people report minimal withdrawal symptoms after stopping Concerta, others report a range of withdrawal effects that may include:
Coming off any medication, especially one that has been taken for years or even decades, may require precise, careful monitoring to ensure the safety of the person during and after the tapering process.
Worldwide statistics collected over many years have shown that a person diagnosed with ADHD would be 5 times more likely to develop an addiction disorder. (7)
Tapering from Concerta in a nurturing, well-monitored and health-restorative setting is recommended to avoid the possibility of further health risks.
The Alternative to Meds Center provides careful tapering for adults who wish to discontinue Concerta or other drugs safely, in a relaxed and compassionate inpatient facility. Over forty highly trained staff members, including medical doctors, nurses, practitioners, and other caregivers are on hand for round-the-clock client care.
Prior to tapering, lab testing is employed to investigate neurotoxin accumulations. Poisonous toxins and heavy metals are often linked to unwanted symptoms such as anxiety, depressed mood, insomnia, and other ailments.
When these neurotoxic accumulations are removed from the body, using deep cleansing techniques, infra-red sauna, nebulized glutathione, and other natural neurotransmitter repair protocols, clients often report near immediate improvements such as more energy and focus, deeper and more restful sleep, better appetite, less cravings, lift in emotions, improved sense of calmness, and many other benefits.
These are improvements to mental health, acquired naturally, that may be available especially where no real investigation of symptoms ever occurred, and stimulants were simply used to achieve an effect that is generally not sustainable.
A person who has become dependent on ADHD or other medication may have made a decision to quit, but may have some reservations. One might be the desire to quit Concerta in a way that does not create further health risks. Another concern may be the desire to correct symptoms that existed prior to medication, and not suffer the return of “rebound” symptoms after quitting Concerta. With gradual and gentle cessation methods, and with exhaustive investigation and holistic corrective techniques, the Alternative to Meds Center specializes in both areas.
Contact us at the Alternative to Meds Center for more information on the programs we offer, or for other information that may be helpful to you or your loved one.
Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.