Concerta Side Effects, Interactions, & Warnings

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Concerta is a stimulant drug that has various side effects such as dry mouth and weight loss. There are also drug interactions which can occur when the drug is combined with substances such as antidepressants and other central nervous system stimulants.

Methylphenidate (brand name Concerta) is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant medication used to help control symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) such as impulsivity. 

In addition to treating ADHD symptoms, Concerta may be used to treat excessive sleepiness or a condition known as narcolepsy.

Concerta is a Schedule II controlled substance according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means the drug has the potential to be habit-forming and can lead to psychological or physical dependence.

Side Effects Of Concerta

Concerta use may lead to side effects which range in severity. 

Common Side Effects

Those who take Concerta as prescribed may experience common side effects, including:

  • muscle twitching
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • irritability
  • heartburn
  • trouble sleeping
  • nausea
  • drowsiness
  • diarrhea

Serious Side Effects

More serious side effects may occur with long-term Concerta use, including:

  • muscle twitching or motor tics
  • priapism or painful erections
  • blurred vision
  • high blood pressure
  • chest pain
  • withdrawal symptoms
  • mental health issues
  • overdose

Concerta Drug Interactions 

Concerta should not be combined with other drugs or substances, as serious interactions or allergic reactions may take place. Some of the substances to avoid while taking Concerta include:

  • other CNS stimulants
  • benzodiazepines
  • alcohol
  • supplements
  • other ADHD medications such as Ritalin or Adderall

Interactions With Antidepressants

Additionally, there are various interactions which can take place when antidepressants are combined with Concerta such as depression, anxiety, or psychosis.

Antidepressants to avoid consist of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). More specifically, mao inhibitors (MAOIs) such as phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and selegiline should be avoided.

Warnings For Those Prescribed Concerta

There are a variety of warnings for those who are prescribed Concerta, including contraindications, dependence and withdrawal, and overdose.

Underlying Conditions

Those with certain medical conditions should avoid Concerta, as allergic reactions and other adverse effects may take place. If you belong in the following categories, speak with your prescribing doctor before taking Concerta:

  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • glaucoma
  • if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, as the drug can pass from mother to child via breast milk
  • family history of mental health problems such as bipolar disorder
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon
  • overactive thyroid
  • heart problems or circulation problems

Withdrawal Symptoms

If a person abruptly stops taking Concerta, withdrawal symptoms may develop. Symptoms of Concerta withdrawal, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), include:

  • severe depression
  • increase in appetite
  • agitation
  • sleeping problems
  • fluctuations in heart rate

Concerta Overdose

Those who take large quantities of Concerta, whether by taking more than prescribed by your doctor or participating in another form of Concerta drug abuse, may experience a life-threatening overdose. Signs of a Concerta overdose may consist of:

  • fever
  • muscle weakness
  • sweating
  • heart attack
  • hallucinations
  • seizures
  • coma
  • sudden death

If a Concerta overdose is suspected, contact 911 immediately and seek urgent medical attention.

To learn how our healthcare professionals treat prescription stimulant addiction in an inpatient setting, please contact us today.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. Drug Enforcement Administration
  3. Drug Enforcement Administration
  4. Food and Drug Administration
  5. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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