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Generic Name:

methylphenidate, Transdermal patch

All Brands

  • Daytrana
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for methylphenidate

Transdermal patch

Methylphenidate is used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Your doctor will decide the correct dose of methylphenidate for you. Your dose will depend on the condition you’re treating and the form of the drug you’re taking.


Common side effects include headache, decreased appetite, upset stomach, nausea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.


Methylphenidate is a federally controlled substance because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Selling or giving it away may harm others and is against the law.


Don’t take methylphenidate if you have heart issues, mental health conditions, or problems with circulation to your fingers or toes. Taking this drug can make these issues worse.


FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Abuse and dependence. Taking methylphenidate for a long period of time may lead to dependence and addiction. Use it with caution if you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Your doctor will stop this medication slowly to prevent symptoms of withdrawal.

May cause heart problems

Methylphenidate may cause stroke, heart attack, or sudden death in people with heart issues. People with serious heart problems shouldn’t take this drug.

This medication may increase your blood pressure and heart rate. If you have high blood pressure, heart failure, a history of heart attack, or an abnormal heart rate, ask your doctor if this drug is safe for you.

Heat warning

Avoid exposing the patch to heat sources. Stay away from hair dryers, heating pads, and electric blankets. When heat is applied to the patch while it’s on your skin, the drug gets into your body faster and can cause an overdose.

Contact dermatitis warning

The patches may cause skin reactions. Mild reddened skin at the area where you use the patch is normal. Remove the patch and call your doctor if:

  • your skin is swollen, has bumps or pimples with or without fluid, and it has spread beyond where the patch was applied
  • this reaction lasts for more than 2 days

What is methylphenidate?

Methylphenidate is a prescription drug and a controlled substance. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet, extended-release tablet, extended-release capsule, chewable tablet, extended-release chewable tablet, transdermal patch, oral suspension, and oral solution.

This drug may be available as a generic drug. Generic drugs often cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

Methylphenidate is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It may help to increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity if you have ADHD.

How it works

Methylphenidate belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants.

More Details

How It Works

Methylphenidate belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. It works by increasing the amount of the chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine in your brain. These chemicals send signals to other parts of your body, which will help to improve your symptoms.

SECTION 2 of 4

methylphenidate Side Effects

Transdermal patch

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with methylphenidate include:

  • headache

  • decreased appetite

  • upset stomach

  • nervousness

  • trouble sleeping

  • nausea

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • heart problems. Symptoms may include:

    • pain in your chest, left arm, jaw, or between your shoulders
    • increased blood pressure
    • increased heart rate
    • shortness of breath
  • stroke. Symptoms may include:

    • weakness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
  • abnormal liver function that may be mild or lead to severe liver damage

  • mental health problems. Symptoms may include:

    • symptoms of mania, such as racing thoughts, feelings of power, and excessive energy
    • aggression or hostility
    • hearing voices
    • seeing or believing things that aren’t real
    • feeling suspicious
    • feeling overexcited
  • seizures

  • slowed growth (height and weight) in children

  • changes in eyesight or blurred vision

  • circulation problems. Symptoms in your fingers or toes may include:

    • numbness
    • feeling cool (sensitive to temperature)
    • pain
    • changes in skin color from pale to blue to red
    • new, unexplained wounds
  • painful and prolonged erections (priapism)

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Methylphenidate does not cause drowsiness.

Mild side effects may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

methylphenidate May Interact with Other Medications

Transdermal patch

Methylphenidate can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol Interactions

Alcohol may increase the effects of methylphenidate. You should not use alcohol while taking this drug.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Acid reflux drugs

These include:

  • antacids
  • H2 blockers
  • proton pump inhibitors

These drugs may increase the level of methylphenidate in your body and lead to more side effects. These medications may also affect the way long-acting forms of methylphenidate work.

Serotonergic drugs

These drugs include:

  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine and sertraline
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine and venlafaxine
  • tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as amitriptyline and clomipramine
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as selegiline and phenelzine
  • the opioids fentanyl and tramadol
  • the anxiolytic buspirone
  • triptans
  • lithium
  • tryptophan
  • St. John’s wort

Taking these drugs with methylphenidate may increase your risk of serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal. If you take any of these drugs, your doctor will start you on a lowered dosage of methylphenidate and monitor you for signs of serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include agitation, sweating, muscle twitches, and confusion.

Methylphenidate can’t be used during treatment with MAOIs. You also can’t take it within 14 days of stopping treatment with an MAOI. Using these medications together can lead to a dangerous increase in your blood pressure.

Blood pressure drugs

These include:

  • angiotensin II receptor blockers such as losartan, valsartan, and irbesartan
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as enalapril and lisinopril
  • diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide and furosemide

Methylphenidate may reduce the intended effects of these medications. This means that they will be less effective.


These include:

  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  • haloperidol (Haldol)

Using these drugs with methylphenidate may increase your risk of side effects from both medications.

Seizure medicines

Examples include:

  • phenytoin
  • phenobarbital

Methylphenidate may increase the amount of the seizure medicine in your body. This can lead to more side effects from the seizure medicine.

Warfarin, a blood thinner

Methylphenidate may increase the effect of warfarin in your body, which can raise your risk of bleeding.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Methylphenidate Warnings
heart problems
People with heart problems

Methylphenidate may increase the risk of sudden death, stroke, and heart attack. If you have a heart condition, a history of heart attack, high blood pressure, or an abnormal heart rate, ask your doctor if this drug is safe for you.

psychiatric disorders
People with psychiatric disorders

Methylphenidate may make the symptoms of your condition worse. It can also cause new psychotic symptoms, especially in children and adolescents. You may need to stop taking this drug if this happens.

People with aggression

If you or your child tends to be anxious, tense, or agitated, don’t take methylphenidate. It can make these symptoms worse.

circulation problems
People with circulation problems

This drug can make circulation problems in your fingers and toes worse.

People with seizures

If you or your child has a history of seizures, don’t take methylphenidate. It may increase the chance of having a seizure.

People with glaucoma

Methylphenidate may worsen your vision.

growth issues
People with growth issues

Methylphenidate has been shown to stop growth in children. Your child’s doctor will monitor your child’s height and weight. If your child is not gaining height or weight, methylphenidate may need to be stopped.

skin problems
People with skin problems

Tell your doctor if you have any skin problems, such as eczema, psoriasis, or skin reactions to soaps, lotions, make-up, or adhesives. Using the patch can irritate sensitive skin.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Methylphenidate is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect a fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Methylphenidate should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

Methylphenidate may pass through breast milk. It can cause serious effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take methylphenidate or breastfeed.

For seniors

The safety and effectiveness of this drug haven’t been established in people over 65 years of age.

For children

The safety and effectiveness of this drug haven’t been established in children under 6 years old.

Children should have their growth monitored by their doctor while they’re taking methylphenidate.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take methylphenidate (Dosage)

Transdermal patch

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Brand: Daytrana

Form: Transdermal patch
Strengths: 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)

Your doctor will decide your dose and how long you need to wear the patch. It will be based on your response to the medication.

Child Dosage (ages 6-17 years)

Your doctor will decide your dose and how long you need to wear the patch. It will be based on your response to the medication.

Child Dosage (ages 0-5 years)

Dosages for people younger than 6 years haven’t been established.


Methylphenidate shouldn’t be taken late at night because it may cause trouble sleeping.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Methylphenidate comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If You Stop Taking It

If you stop taking methylphenidate, your symptoms won’t be controlled. If you’ve been taking high doses of this drug for a long time and stop it suddenly, you may have extreme tiredness, fatigue, or severe depression.

If You Don’t Take It on Schedule

If you take methylphenidate later in the day, you may have trouble falling asleep. 

If You Take Too Much

If you wear a patch longer than 9 hours, or if you wear more than one patch at a time, you have used too much methylphenidate. Remove all methylphenidate patches and wash the application sites right away. Call your local poison control center or go to the emergency room right away if you experience:

  • vomiting
  • shaking
  • confusion or mental changes
  • hallucinations
  • sweating
  • redness in your face
  • headache
  • heart rate changes

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it’s almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a single dose.

Don’t double the dose to try to catch up. This could result in toxic side effects.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell if the drug is working for ADHD if you’re able to focus and pay attention better and be less impulsive and hyperactive. 

If methylphenidate is working for your narcolepsy, you may feel less sleepy and more alert.

Methylphenidate may be short-term or long-term drug.

This drug is usually stopped after puberty. Your doctor may try to stop the methylphenidate on occasion to see if you still need to take it. If your symptoms return, you may need to continue taking it.

Important Considerations for Taking Methylphenidate
do not take with food
Certain forms shouldn’t be taken with food
Take at the right times for best effects
See Details
do not cut patch
Don’t cut patches. Only apply intact patches
Store the patches at 77°F (25°C)
See Details
not refillable
Prescription is not refillable
See Details
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical Monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks all forms of methylphenidate, so call ahead
prior authorization needed
See Details

Take at the right times for best effects

  • Apply the patch to your hip 2 hours before you need to feel its effect.
  • Don’t wear the patch for longer than 9 hours per day.

Store the patches at 77°F (25°C)

Make sure to keep it in temperatures from 59—86°F (15--30°C). Once the sealed tray or outer pouch is opened, use the patches within 2 months.

Don’t freeze methylphenidate. Keep it away from high temperatures. Keep it away from light.

Note: Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.


When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s label to identify the medication. Keep the original pharmacy prescription-labeled box with you when traveling.
  • This is a controlled substance. You won’t have refills from your doctor. Be sure to check that you have enough medication before you leave on your trip.


  • Apply the patch to your hip 2 hours before you need to feel its effect.
  • Don’t wear patches for longer than 9 hours per day.
  • Apply a patch to a different hip each day.
  • Don’t cut patches.
  • Parents or caregivers should apply and remove patches for a child if a child can’t do it on their own.
  • If you forget to apply a patch in the morning, apply the patch later in the day. You should remove your patch at the usual time to lower the chance of side effects later in the day.
  • If you lose your appetite or have trouble sleeping in the evening, ask your doctor if you can take the patch off earlier in the day.
  • Contact with water while bathing, swimming, or showering can make the patch not stick well or fall off. If your patch falls off, don’t touch the sticky side of the patch with your fingers. You may apply a new patch to a different area on the same hip. If you have to replace a patch that has fallen off, the total wear time for the first and second patch should not be more than a total of 9 hours per day. Don’t reapply the same patch that fell off.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor will check you for the following while you take this drug:

  • blood pressure and heart rate
  • signs of aggressive behavior or changes in mental health conditions
  • growth and weight in children


Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for methylphenidate.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on May 17, 2017

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.