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Concerta Review – Is it Effective?

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

Reviewed by Rebecca Williams, MD, MA, MB, BChir

Last Updated:

Evidence Based | Overview | Nutrition Facts | Health Benefits | Potential Side Effects | Contraindications | Cost | Shop For Concerta | Directions | Does it Work

Concerta is a stimulant prescription drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), narcolepsy, and in some cases, in treatment-resistant cases of major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.[1] It works by activating the areas of your brain that are responsible for paying attention and focusing.[2]

Concerta is the brand name of a generic medication. The generic form of Concerta is Methylphenidate.


1) Quick Overview

Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant.[3] It impacts chemicals in the nerves and brain that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

Concerta carries a black box warning issued by the FDA. Its label says to use the drug with caution in people who have a history of alcoholism or drug dependence as it can lead to abuse or addiction and habit-forming.[4]

2) How Did Janssen Pharmaceutica Start?

Concerta is made by Janssen Pharmaceutica, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Beerse, Belgium. Janssen Pharmaceutica was founded in 1953 by Paul Janssen. In 1961, the company was purchased by New Jersey-based U.S. corporation Johnson & Johnson and renamed Janssen Research and Development (JRD).

This J&J subsidiary conducts research and development projects linked to a broad spectrum of human medical disorders, including neurological disorders, mental illness, gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, anesthesia and analgesia, allergies, fungal infection, and HIV/AIDS.

Over the years, Janssen Pharmaceutica has developed and brought to the market over 70 new active substances (NCE), including some prevalent prescription drugs such as Reminyl (Galantamine), Daktarin (Miconazole), Imodium (Loperamide), Motilium (Domperidone), Vermox (Mebendazole), Nizoral (Ketoconazole), Duragesic (Fentanyl), and Risperdal (Risperidone).

Janssen Pharmaceutica contact information:

  • Phone: +1-800-526-7736
  • Address: 2340, Turnhoutseweg 30, 2340 Beerse, Belgium
  • Website: janssen.com
Nutrition Facts

3) Concerta Nutrition Facts

Concerta contains one active ingredient: Methylphenidate.

Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant and a controlled substance [5], which means your doctor will have to control its use thoroughly. It is regularly prescribed in the treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder.[6][7]

Methylphenidate is produced in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Sweden, and India. Brand names for Methylphenidate include Concerta, Ritalin, Adaphen, Inspiral, Methylin, Medikinet, Attenta, Cognil, Artige, Equasym, Addwize, Penid, Phenida, Tradea, and Prohiper.[8]

Long-acting stimulants like lisdexamfetamine and dextroamphetamine are generally recognized as the most effective and widely used treatment for ADHD.[9][10] They are considered first-line options for children, adolescents, and adults.

4) Does Concerta Work?

Some clinical researches imply that since ADD/ADHD diagnosis is rising significantly around the world, taking Methylphenidate may cause more harm than good in individuals using Concerta as a “study drug.” [11] This applies to individuals who possibly may be experiencing a different issue and are misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD.

Concerta is also prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep and overwhelming daytime drowsiness. Stimulants represent the primary treatment for narcolepsy; therefore, Methylphenidate is examined as effective in increasing performance, vigilance, and wakefulness.[12]

Methylphenidate may also be prescribed for off-label use in treatment-resistant cases of major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.[13] It can also improve depression in several groups, including cancer, stroke, and HIV-positive patients.[14]

However, the use of stimulants, such as Methylphenidate in cases of treatment-resistant depression is controversial.[15]

Health Benefits

5) Concerta Health Benefits

Some Concerta (Methylphenidate) claimed benefits include:

  • It may improve the symptoms of impulsivity and inattention;
  • Concerta is the only ADHD treatment with the unique OROS delivery system;
  • Concerta delivers extended time-released medication throughout the day.
Potential Side Effects

6) Potential Side Effects from Concerta Ingredients

Common side effects[16][17][18][19] of Concerta (methylphenidate) include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heavy sweating
  • Back pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn
  • Uncontrollable movement of a part of the body
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tightness
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased sexual desire

More serious adverse effects may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Erection that lasts longer than 4 hours
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Fainting
  • Mood changes
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Changes in vision or blurred vision
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Blistering or peeling skin
  • Itching
  • Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
  • Believing things that are not true
  • Hallucinating
  • Skin color change from pale to blue to red in the fingers or toes
  • Motor tics or verbal tics
  • Seizures
  • Abnormally excited mood
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Hives
  • Frequent, painful erections
  • Numbness, pain, or sensitivity to temperature in the fingers or toes
  • Unexplained wounds on the fingers or toes
  • Rash
  • Hoarseness
  • Feeling unusually suspicious of others
  • Swelling of the eyes, mouth, tongue, face, lips, or throat

7) Concerta Warnings and Precautions

While one of the most popular ADD/ADHD prescription drugs out there, Concerta isn’t right for everyone. Furthermore, many health conditions and prescriptions may change the way the medications work. Patients taking MAOI antidepressants (linezolid, methylene blue, isocarboxazid, moclobemide, procarbazine, phenelzine, rasagiline, safinamide, tranylcypromine, selegiline) should avoid taking Concerta (Methylphenidate).[20][21]

Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction.

Concerta is a pregnancy category C drug. This means that some animal studies have shown harm to a pregnancy, but Methylphenidate hasn’t been studied enough in humans to know if they’re harmful to human pregnancy.

Shop For Concerta

8) Who Sells Concerta?

Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a prescription drug, which means it can’t, and it shouldn’t be bought from questionable online or offline sources. It is available, however, at most drugstores.


9) Concerta Cost

The price for Concerta oral tablet, extended-release (18 mg/24 hr), is around $1,250 for a supply of 100 tablets, depending on the drugstore you visit. Costs are for cash paying clients only and are not valid with coverage plans.

10) What Are Concerta Alternatives?

Because Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a prescription drug, we can only review prescription medicines as potential alternatives. We don’t advocate substituting a treatment directed by your medical doctor with an over-the-counter dietary supplement.

Similarly to Concerta, Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is another stimulant prescription drug belonging to the class of medications called central nervous system stimulants (CNS stimulants).[22][23] The formula works by modifying the brain’s norepinephrine and dopamine levels, which are neurotransmitters that allow signals to travel from one nerve cell to another.

Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) it’s an amphetamine chemical compound.[24] Like Methylphenidate, lisdexamfetamine also alters brain chemicals. However, it targets both norepinephrine and dopamine. It’s speculated that this prescription medicine increases dopamine levels in the brain and improves the rate at which norepinephrine is released. As a result, more of these chemicals are available to stimulate the brain, which helps increase focus and attention.

You may also try other ADD/ADHD supplements like Synaptol.


11) Directions For Taking Concerta

Take one Concerta tablet orally once daily in the morning with or without food.

The recommended starting dosage of Concerta for patients who are not currently taking Methylphenidate or stimulants other than Methylphenidate is 18 mg once per day for children and adolescents and 18 or 36 mg/day for adults.

12) Of the Same Product Line

Concerta Extended-Release is available in the following strengths:[25]

  • 18 mg methylphenidate hydrochloride modified-release tablet
  • 27 mg methylphenidate hydrochloride modified-release tablet
  • 36 mg methylphenidate hydrochloride modified-release tablet
  • 54 mg methylphenidate hydrochloride modified-release tablet

13) Concerta Reviews

"I've been on this medication for about 14 YEARS now. And I love it but hate it. It's considered an abusable drug soon, so getting and filling this prescription is insane. " [Read full review]

---Tom Tucker

"My nine-year-old son has struggled for years, in school, and at home: impulsive behavior, anger, inappropriateness. I always fear the worst and avoided medication for two years." [Read full review]


"I've severe ADHD diagnosed at 39 took a year before I was put on Elvanse (lisdexamfetamine in the UK) currently 70mg. The only problem it wears off after 4 hours can take manic impulsive spending or stealing stupid stuff." [Read full review]


"I started taking Concerta when I was around five due to my severe ADHD, which would cause me to get into trouble a lot at school and not pay attention to it. " [Read full review]


"I started Concerta in August after Vyvance gave me harmful side effects. I began at 36mg, and now I take 54mg. Being on this has helped me with classwork and anxiety- I no longer have anxiety spirals like before!" [Read full review]


Does it Work

14) Bottom Line – Does It Really Work?

Prescriptions such as Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin, or Vyvanse are commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These controlled substances may help reduce impulsive actions and hyperactivity in some individuals with ADD/ADHD.

However, some patients may respond better to one medicine than the other. It’s important to share your full health history with your physician. Tell him about all multivitamins, herbal supplements, nootropics, amino acids, medications, or other dietary supplements you take. This will help your physician prescribe the right drug for you.

4.3/5 - (3 votes)

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