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How Does Dexmethylphenidate Work?

Although dexmethylphenidate is a stimulant, it has effects that are the opposite of what would be expected of a stimulant. Stimulants like caffeine can cause hyperactivity; but dexmethylphenidate has a calming effect. The exact way in which dexmethylphenidate produces a calming effect is not known. However, it is known that dexmethylphenidate affects chemicals in the brain.
Dexmethylphenidate is very similar to methylphenidate (the active component of Concerta®, Daytrana®, Ritalin®, Metadate®, and Methylin®). In fact, methylphenidate is actually a mixture of dexmethylphenidate and levomethylphenidate. Of these two components, dexmethylphenidate is the more active one.

Effects of Dexmethylphenidate

In previous clinical studies, children and teenagers with ADHD who took dexmethylphenidate had significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms, compared to children and teenagers with ADHD who did not take dexmethylphenidate. The improvements were reported by teachers who were asked to rate the symptoms of ADHD in the children and teenagers.

When and How to Take Dexmethylphenidate

Some general considerations for when and how to take dexmethylphenidate include:
  • Dexmethylphenidate comes in tablet form. It should be taken by mouth twice a day, with at least four hours between doses.
  • It does not matter if you take dexmethylphenidate with or without food. If dexmethylphenidate bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • For dexmethylphenidate to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Dexmethylphenidate will not work if you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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