Daytrana (methylphenidate) is prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6 years and older. It can cause side effects ranging from mild to serious. Examples include decreased appetite and insomnia.

The active ingredient in Daytrana is methylphenidate. The drug comes as a patch that you apply to the skin.

Keep reading to learn about the common, mild, and serious side effects that Daytrana can cause. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.

Daytrana has a boxed warning. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Daytrana treatment, consider taking notes on any side effects your child is having. You can then share this information with your child’s doctor. This is especially helpful when first starting a new drug or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of the drug your child was taking when the side effect occurred
  • how soon your child had the side effect after starting that dose
  • what your child’s symptoms were
  • how your child’s symptoms affected their daily activities
  • what other medications your child was taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your child’s doctor will help them learn more about how Daytrana affects your child. They can then use this information to adjust your child’s treatment plan if needed.

Some people may experience mild to serious side effects during their Daytrana treatment. Examples of Daytrana’s commonly reported side effects include:

  • decreased appetite
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • trouble eating
  • weight loss

These side effects may not affect everyone during Daytrana treatment. Other side effects are also possible. Keep reading the following sections to learn more about mild and serious side effects of Daytrana.

Like most medications, treatment with Daytrana can cause mild side effects. Mild side effects reported with Daytrana include:

  • pain in the abdomen
  • skin reaction, such as skin discoloration or irritation, where the patch is applied
  • decreased appetite
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • irritability
  • nausea and vomiting
  • trouble eating
  • weight loss
  • insomnia

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be managed easily. But if your child has symptoms that are ongoing or bothersome, talk with your child’s doctor or pharmacist. And do not stop Daytrana treatment unless your child’s doctor recommends it.

Daytrana may cause mild side effects other than those listed above. See the drug’s prescribing information for details.

While rare, treatment with Daytrana can cause serious side effects. Some people may be at higher risk of certain side effects.

Serious side effects reported with Daytrana include:

  • circulation problems in the fingers or toes, including Raynaud phenomenon
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • glaucoma and increased pressure in the eye
  • intense mood shifts (sometimes called affect lability)
  • loss of skin color where the patch is applied
  • new or worsening tics
  • priapism (persistent, often painful erection of the penis)
  • seizure
  • slowed growth
  • new symptoms of psychosis or mania
  • boxed warning: risk of misuse and addiction

If your child develops serious side effects while taking Daytrana, call your child’s doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think they’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911. Or call your local emergency number.

You can learn more about the following serious side effects in the “Side effects explained” section below:

  • slowed growth
  • new symptoms of psychosis or mania
  • boxed warning: risk of misuse and addiction

Note: After the FDA approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect your child has had with Daytrana, visit MedWatch.

Allergic reaction

For some people, Daytrana can cause an allergic reaction. This side effect was not reported in the drug’s studies. But it has occurred since the drug was approved.

In general, symptoms of allergic reaction can be mild or serious. You can learn more about possible symptoms in this article.

What might help

If your child has mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your child’s doctor right away. They may suggest a treatment to manage the symptoms and can determine whether your child should continue Daytrana.

If your child has severe symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 right away. Or call your local emergency number. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

Your child’s doctor can confirm whether your child has had a serious allergic reaction to Daytrana. If they have, the doctor may switch to a different treatment.

Learn more about some of the side effects Daytrana may cause.

Risk of misuse and addiction

Daytrana has a boxed warning about the risk of misuse and addiction. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Daytrana contains methylphenidate, which is a stimulant drug that’s known to have a risk of misuse and addiction. As a result, any drug containing methylphenidate is a controlled substance. This means government regulations control how the drug can be prescribed and dispensed.

With misuse, a person takes a drug in a way other than how a doctor prescribes it. (This was formerly referred to as drug abuse.)

With addiction, a person feels unable to stop taking a drug despite it causing harm. (This differs from drug dependence, which means your body needs the drug to function as usual.) Doctors sometimes refer to addiction as substance use disorder.

Daytrana misuse and addiction increase the risk of a potentially life threatening overdose. It can also increase the risk of serious mental health side effects. These include psychosis and suicidal thoughts. (Read more about psychosis below.)

Symptoms of Daytrana misuse and addiction include neglecting school, work, or social obligations due to drug use.

Factors that can increase the risk of these effects during Daytrana treatment include having a substance use disorder.

What might help

Before your child begins taking Daytrana, your child’s doctor should review and discuss the risks of this boxed warning. If your child has a substance use disorder, the doctor may recommend a treatment other than Daytrana.

Keep Daytrana stored in a safe place that others can’t access. It’s also important to administer Daytrana only and exactly as prescribed by your child’s doctor.

Dispose of each Daytrana patch properly at a drug take-back location, if available. (Check this Drug Enforcement Administration site.) If not, fold each patch in half after removing it from the skin, being sure to attach the adhesive sides to each other. Then flush the patch down the toilet. Place the pouch and liner in a container with a lid, close it, and then place the container in the trash. Visit the FDA’s drug disposal site for additional information.

If you have concerns about these risks, talk with your child’s doctor.

Slowed growth

Treatment with Daytrana may cause slowed growth in children. (Daytrana is not approved for people ages 18 years and older.) Long-term studies of children taking methylphenidate (the active drug in Daytrana) found a small slowing in their growth rate. Growth was measured in both height and weight and compared to expectations for children their age.

Slowed growth is a known side effect of stimulant medications, including those that contain methylphenidate. Daytrana contains methylphenidate.

What might help

During treatment with Daytrana, your child’s height and weight will be monitored closely by their doctor. If your child is not gaining height or weight as expected for their age, the doctor may stop Daytrana treatment. They may stop it temporarily or permanently.

If you have concerns about this side effect in your child, let your child’s doctor know.

New symptoms of psychosis or mania

In studies, new symptoms of psychosis or mania were reported rarely in people taking Daytrana. These side effects may be serious.

Symptoms of psychosis include:

  • difficulty thinking clearly
  • hallucinations
  • delusions (closely held false beliefs contradicted by reality)
  • disorganized behavior
  • lack of interest in activities enjoyed previously

Symptoms of mania can include:

  • extreme euphoria and excitement
  • hallucinations or delusions
  • racing thoughts
  • rapid speech
  • aggressive behavior

Some people may have psychosis or mania before starting Daytrana. It’s possible that methylphenidate can worsen their existing symptoms.

In people who have bipolar disorder, Daytrana treatment could trigger a manic or mixed episode.

What might help

Before beginning treatment with Daytrana, the doctor should review your child’s medical history. Be sure to tell them about any mental health conditions your child has, especially psychosis, mania, or bipolar disorder. Your child’s doctor may decide that a treatment other than Daytrana is best for them.

If your child develops new or worsening symptoms of psychosis or mania during Daytrana treatment, immediately stop administering it. And call your child’s doctor right away. They’ll likely suggest permanently stopping Daytrana and can help you explore other treatments. They’ll also recommend the best way to treat your child’s side effect symptoms.

Help is out there

If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

If you’re calling on behalf of someone else, stay with them until help arrives. You may remove weapons or substances that can cause harm if you can do so safely.

If you are not in the same household, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.

Was this helpful?

Below is important information you should consider before taking Daytrana.

Boxed warning: Risk of misuse and addiction

Daytrana has a boxed warning. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. For details, see the “Side effects explained” section above.

Other warnings

Daytrana can sometimes cause harmful effects in people who have certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether Daytrana is a good treatment option for your child.

Talk with your child’s doctor about your child’s health history before they start Daytrana. Be sure to tell them if any of the following factors apply to your child:

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.