Methylphenidate is a generic prescription drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy in adults and some children. Methylphenidate’s cost may depend on factors such as your dosage, whether you have health insurance, and the pharmacy you use.

Methylphenidate is used in adults and certain children to treat:

Methylphenidate comes in the following forms:

  • tablet
  • chewable tablet
  • extended-release tablet
  • extended-release chewable tablet
  • extended-release capsule
  • extended-release liquid suspension
  • oral solution
  • extended-release skin patch

This drug is also available as the brand-name versions:

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

The price you pay for methylphenidate can vary. It may depend on your treatment plan, your insurance coverage, and the pharmacy you use. To find out how much you’ll pay for methylphenidate, 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 methylphenidate. This means your insurer and your doctor will discuss the drug in regard to your treatment. Then the insurance company will determine whether it’s covered. If methylphenidate 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 methylphenidate requires prior authorization.

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

How much does methylphenidate cost without insurance?

Methylphenidate’s cost without insurance depends on the form of the drug you’re prescribed. It may also depend on the dose you take. The brand-name forms of this drug usually cost more than generic methylphenidate.

To find out your monthly cost for the form and dosage you’re prescribed, talk with your pharmacist.

Do the ER forms of methylphenidate cost more than the IR forms?

Yes, usually extended-release (ER) forms of methylphenidate cost more than immediate-release (IR) forms. But the cost you’ll pay for methylphenidate also depends on other factors, including the pharmacy you use and your insurance coverage.

Insurance companies may only cover IR forms of methylphenidate. If you have insurance, check with your insurer to see if you’re covered for ER forms of this drug.

Methylphenidate is a generic drug. This means it 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 usually costs less.

Methylphenidate comes in different brand-name versions for its different forms, as shown in the table below.

Brand nameDrug form
Aptensio XRextended-release capsule
Concertaextended-release tablet
Cotempla XR-ODTextended-release orally disintegrating tablet
Daytranaextended-release skin patch
Jornay PMextended-release capsule
Metadate CDextended-release capsule
Methylinoral suspension
Methylin ERextended-release tablet
Quillichew ERextended-release chewable tablet
Quillivant XRextended-release oral suspension
Relexxiiextended-release tablet
Ritalin LAextended-release capsule

To find out how the costs of the brand-name versions and generic methylphenidate compare, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

If you’ve been prescribed methylphenidate and you’re interested in using a brand-name version instead, talk with your doctor. They may prefer that you take one version instead of another. You’ll also need to check with your insurance provider, as 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 maker 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 methylphenidate long term, you may be able to lower your cost by using a mail-order pharmacy to get your medication. Plus, you could get your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order drugs. If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.

Note: Due to the possibility for misuse,* methylphenidate is a controlled substance in the United States. This means it has approved medical uses but may be misused for other purposes. It also means government agencies, doctors, and pharmacists pay close attention to how the drug is prescribed and used. Because of this, pharmacies in certain locations may refuse to deliver it. Or there may be extra steps to follow to receive the drug via delivery, such as by showing a medical ID card and/or a photo ID, and signing for the drug. Talk with your pharmacist to find out if it’s possible for you to receive methylphenidate via delivery.

* With misuse, a person uses a drug in a way or for a reason other than how a doctor prescribes it. Misuse can lead to addiction, in which a drug is taken even if it’s causing harmful effects.

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

On these sites, you can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, links to savings cards for certain brand names, 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 methylphenidate, 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 methylphenidate.

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

  • How do the costs of other ADHD medications compare with methylphenidate?
  • If my methylphenidate dose changes, will the cost I pay also change?
  • Is there a lower-cost form of methylphenidate I could use to treat my condition?

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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.