Concerta (methylphenidate) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Concerta’s cost may depend on factors such as your dosage, whether you have health insurance, and the pharmacy you use.

Concerta is used in some adults and children to treat ADHD.

The active ingredient in Concerta is methylphenidate. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) It comes as an extended-release* tablet that you swallow.

For more details on Concerta, see this in-depth article.

* “Extended release” means the drug is slowly released into your body over a long period of time.

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The price you pay for Concerta can vary. Your cost may depend on your treatment plan, your insurance coverage (if you have it), and the pharmacy you use.

To find out how much you’ll pay for Concerta, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Note: If you have insurance, you may need to get prior authorization before your insurance provider will cover Concerta. This means your insurer and your doctor will discuss Concerta in regard to your treatment. Then the insurance company will determine whether the drug is covered. If Concerta requires prior authorization and you don’t receive it before you start treatment, you could pay the full cost of the drug.

Be sure to ask your insurance company whether Concerta requires prior authorization.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Concerta and cost.

Does the 54-mg tablet of Concerta cost more than the 36-mg tablet?

The cost of different strengths of Concerta may vary. The 54-milligram (mg) tablet of Concerta may cost more than lower strengths. Concerta is available in the following strengths: 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg, and 54 mg.

Any cost differences may also depend on your health insurance (if you have it) and the pharmacy you use. To find out more, talk with your pharmacist or health insurance provider.

How does the cost of Concerta compare with the cost of Adderall?

The cost of prescription drugs such as Concerta and Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) can vary depending on many factors. These factors may include your dosage, the form of the drug you take, and the pharmacy you use.

Both drugs are available in generic versions. Generic drugs tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

To find out the cost difference between Concerta and Adderall, speak with your pharmacist. And if you’re interested in taking Adderall instead of Concerta, talk with your doctor.

Concerta is available as the generic drug methylphenidate. A generic contains an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. A generic is considered just as safe and effective as the original drug but tends to cost less.

To find out how the costs of Concerta and methylphenidate compare, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

If you’ve been prescribed Concerta and are interested in using methylphenidate instead, talk with your doctor. They may prefer that you take one version instead of the other. In addition, you’ll need to check with your insurance provider. This is because it may only cover one drug or the other.

Why is there such a cost difference between brand-name drugs and generics?

Years of research and testing are needed to ensure that brand-name drugs are safe and effective. This testing can make the drugs expensive. The manufacturer of a brand-name drug can sell the drug for up to 20 years. After that, other drugmakers can create generic versions. This competition in the market can lead to lower costs for generics. And because generics have the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, they don’t need to be studied again. This can also lead to lower generic costs.

If you take Concerta long term, you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Concerta if approved by your insurance company. This could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost of Concerta. If you’re interested in getting a 90-day supply of this drug, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

If you need help covering the cost of Concerta or understanding your insurance, check out these resources:

On these sites, you can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, and links to savings cards and other services.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you still have questions about the cost of Concerta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to give you a better idea of what you’ll pay for this drug. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’d pay for Concerta.

Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor or insurance provider include:

  • Are there lower cost drugs that can treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
  • With my health insurance, what’s the cost difference between Concerta and methylphenidate?
  • How does the cost of Ritalin (methylphenidate) compare with Concerta?

To learn more about Concerta, see these articles:

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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 another 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.