If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), your doctor might suggest Concerta as a treatment option for you. It’s a prescription drug used to treat ADHD in some adults and children.

Concerta belongs to a group of drugs called stimulants. The active ingredient in Concerta is methylphenidate. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)

Concerta is available as a tablet that you swallow.

This article describes the dosages of Concerta, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Concerta, see this in-depth article.

Note: This article covers Concerta’s usual dosages, which are provided by the drugmaker. But when using Concerta, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.

The table below highlights the basics of Concerta’s dosage. Be sure to read on for more detail.

AgeStarting dosageMaximum dosage
children ages 6 to 12 years18 milligrams (mg) once daily54 mg per day
children ages 13 to 17 years18 mg once daily72 mg per day*
adults ages 18 to 65 years18 mg or 36 mg once daily72 mg per day

* The maximum daily dosage for children in this age range should be no more than 2 mg of Concerta for every kilogram of body weight.

What is the form of Concerta?

Concerta comes as a tablet that you swallow.

What strengths does Concerta come in?

Concerta is available in four strengths: 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg, and 54 mg.

What are the usual dosages of Concerta?

Your doctor will likely start you on a low dosage and adjust it over time to reach the right amount for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults

Concerta can be used in adults ages 18 to 65 years to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The recommended starting dosage for adults is 18 mg or 36 mg once daily. Your doctor will then slowly increase your dosage by 18 mg each week to find the best dose for you. The maximum dosage is 72 mg per day.

If you already take methylphenidate (the active ingredient* in Concerta) in another drug and are switching to Concerta, your doctor will recommend the best dosage for you. They will base your Concerta dosage on the dosage of methylphenidate you already take. Your doctor will likely use a dosage conversion chart to find the best dose for you.

* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.

What’s the dosage of Concerta for children?

The recommended starting dosage for children ages 6 to 12 years is 18 mg once daily. Their doctor may increase the dose by 18 mg a week to find the best dose for your child. The maximum daily dosage for children is 54 mg.

The recommended starting dosage for children ages 13 to 17 years is 18 mg once daily. Their doctor may increase their dose by 18 mg per week to find the best dosage. The maximum daily dosage for children in this age range is 72 mg as long as it’s not more than 2 mg of Concerta for every kilogram (kg) of body weight.

Is Concerta used long term?

Yes, Concerta is usually used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.

Dosage adjustments

If you experience certain side effects or your ADHD symptoms get worse, your doctor will likely reduce your Concerta dosage. If that doesn’t help, your doctor may have you stop taking Concerta and try a different treatment.

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Concerta’s dosage.

Will my doctor increase my dose of Concerta? How will I know if my Concerta dose is too high?

Your doctor may increase your dose of Concerta if the starting dosage does not reduce your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Your doctor will adjust your dose to find the one that works best for you.

If your ADHD symptoms get worse or you have side effects, your dosage may be too high. Talk with your doctor if you’re worried about this. They can also answer any questions you have about what side effects to watch out for. You can read about Concerta’s side effects in this article.

Is there a 72-mg dose of Concerta?

Yes, 72 milligrams (mg) is the maximum daily dose of Concerta for adults and some children. Concerta tablets don’t come in a 72-mg tablet though, so you’ll likely take two 36-mg tablets to total 72 mg.

If you have questions about the Concerta dose that’s right for you, talk with your doctor.

Does Concerta have a recommended dosage calculator?

Concerta doesn’t have a specific dosage calculator. But there are dosage calculators available for ADHD medications that your doctor may use if you’re switching medications.

For example, if you’re switching to Concerta from another drug containing methylphenidate (Concerta’s active ingredient*), your doctor may use a dosage calculator to find the best Concerta dosage for you.

Methylphenidate is available as a generic drug, and it’s also the active ingredient in several other brand-name drugs.

If you have other questions about how your Concerta dosage is determined, talk with your doctor.

* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.

The dosage of Concerta you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • your age
  • your weight
  • how your symptoms respond to the medication (do they get better or worse?)*
  • whether you experience side effects*

* To learn more, see “Dosage adjustments” in the “What is Concerta’s dosage?” section above.

Concerta is a tablet that should be swallowed whole with water. Do not crush, split, or chew Concerta.

It’s best to take Concerta in the morning. It can be taken with or without food.

If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.

And you can also see this article if you’re looking for information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Concerta.

Accessible drug containers and labels

If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to supply Concerta in an easy-open container. They may also have tips to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

If you miss a dose of Concerta, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s close to when you’re supposed to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at its regular time.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Concerta on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

If you’re unsure of whether you should take a missed dose of Concerta, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Do not take more Concerta than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Concerta belongs to a group of drugs called stimulants. These drugs are generally considered safe when taken as directed. But if an overdose occurs, symptoms can include:

What to do in case you take too much Concerta

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Concerta. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Concerta has a boxed warning for the risk of drug dependence.* This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Certain factors may increase the risk of dependence with Concerta. To learn more, see the “Boxed warning” section at the top of this article.

* With dependence, your body needs the drug to function as usual.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drugmaker. If your doctor recommends Concerta for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Concerta without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Concerta exactly as prescribed. If you have questions or concerns about your current dosage, talk with your doctor.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How will I know if my dosage of Concerta is working?
  • Will my risk of side effects increase if I’m prescribed a higher dose?
  • Does my dosage of Concerta need to change if I’m taking other drugs along with it?

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.