What is Concerta?

Pronounced as /kän-ˈsərt-ə/

Concerta® is a chemical substance which stimulates the central nervous system. It’s available in four extended-release (XR) tablets with varying strengths. The four tablets contain varying amounts of methylphenidate HCl USP: 18, 27, 36, or 54 milligrams. Each tablet was formulated to give a 12-hour effect for the patient.

Concerta is the brand name of the generic drug and is the brand name of the generic drug methylphenidate hydrochloride. The DEA has classified this drug under Schedule II controlled substance or medicinal substances with high addictive potential for abuse and addiction. Most people abuse this drug by crushing the tablet or emptying the capsule and then taking it in either through injection or snorting. This substance and other ADHD medications are abused as a “party drug”, appetite suppressants, and as a “study drug” to boost focus.

What does Concerta look like?

The natural physical appearance of its chemical composition is white, odorless crystalline powder. In the market, this prescription medicine takes the following form:

Concerta, 18mg XRYellowOblongalza 18
Concerta, 27mg XRGrayOblongalza 27
Concerta, 36mg XRWhiteOblongalza 36
Concerta, 54mg XRBrownish-redOblongalza 54

XR – means extended release

What are the other names of Concerta?

The generic name of this drug is methylphenidate HCl.

This drug is also known by the following Brand names:

  • Aptensio XR
  • Cotempla XR-ODT
  • Metadate CD
  • Metadate ER
  • Methylin
  • QuilliChew ER
  • Quillivant XR
  • Ritalin

What are the street names?

The drug is known in the streets by different names, depending on the area or what it is mixed with.

Here are some street names:

  • JIF
  • MPH
  • R-ball
  • Skippy
  • The Smart Drug
  • Vitamin R

What is Concerta used for?

This is a prescription medicine used to cure attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. A person diagnosed with ADHD has hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive manifestations which prevent normal social interaction. This starts before the person reaches seven years old. Whereas, narcolepsy is a mental illness wherein the person cannot control his state of wakefulness and sleepiness.

How does Concerta work?

Once taken in, this central nervous system drug inhibits the reuptake of the dopamine and norepinephrine into the presynaptic neuron while enhancing the secretion of these monoamines.

In the previous section, it was stated that the main chemical composition of this prescription medicine is methylphenidate hydrochloride. In relation to this, the methylphenidate component is responsible for the activation of the brainstem arousal system and cortex which in turn gives its stimulant effect and enhanced cognitive process.

How strong is Concerta?

This prescription medicine when abused has a comparable addictive potential as cocaine, amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, phenmetrazine, and diethylpropion. When this substance is taken intravenously, it shows similar pharmacokinetics as cocaine.

The time and the rate at which this medicine and cocaine are absorbed by the brain are parallel, but with the latter being faster, with around 70 minutes difference. Likewise, several publications have stated that this medicine has the same pharmacologic properties as amphetamine.

In order to get the right medicinal effect from this drug and avoid addictions risks, proper dosage must be done and monitored. Below are the recommended dosages when using this drug for medication.

Methylphenidate substances must start at the lowest recommended amount.

Children (over 6 years old) and adolescents:

  • Dosage increments must be done consecutively at 9mg between 18mg and 36mg.
  • 18mg increments to a maximum of 54mg/day for children between 6-12 years old.
  • Maximum dosage of 72mg per day for adolescents between 13-18 years old
  • In general, dosage increments can be done weekly.


  • Initial dose of 18 or 36 mg per day in 18mg increments to a maximum amount of 72mg daily (once every morning)

An increment in dosage can be done in weekly intervals

How long does Concerta stay in your system, blood, urine, saliva, hair?

If you are to undergo a drug test, you may be wondering how long this drug stays in your system.

  • Blood test: this method is not typically used for drug screening
  • Urine test: 48 to 96 hours
  • Saliva test: 1 to 3 days
  • Hair test: 90 days

How does one get addicted to Concerta?

The high addictive potential of this prescription medicine is overshadowed by the several positive clinical results from oral intake. The exact medicinal action of this drug is completely different compared to amphetamines and cocaine. However, abuse of this substance either through intranasal or intravenous methods is completely comparable with the other two illicit substances in stimulating euphoric effects. A continuous dosage of more than 18 to 36 mg daily can lead to overdose and addiction, otherwise prescribed by the medical personnel.

How does Concerta use affect the brain and the body?

This medicinal substance is a central nervous system stimulant. It targets the brain where its first action is to help the secretion and production of dopamine. This first action leads to more production of postsynaptic dopamine which provides the required stimulation and activation of the motor inhibitory system in the orbitofrontal-limbic axis. Upon the activation of this motor inhibitory system, there’ll be a decrease in the person’s state of impulsiveness. Consequently, this makes methylphenidate hydrochloride an effective medicine for ADHD patients.

What are the short and long-term effects of Concerta?

This medicine like any other methylphenidate drug is categorized as Schedule II controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to its highly addictive potential. Below are the short term and long term effects for the abuse of this medicine.

Short-term effects:

  • Nervousness
  • Euphoria
  • Inability to sleep
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Headache

Long-term effects:

  • Hypertension
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fast heart rates
  • Uncontrolled body reactions
  • Priapism or long painful penis erections
  • Glaucoma
  • Deformed brain arteries

Why is Concerta dangerous?

This prescription drug is dangerous because it has a comparable effect as cocaine and amphetamines when abused. The high addictive potential of the substance is overshadowed by the positive medical results from oral intake.

The toxicity level for the abuse of this drug is highly similar to other CNS stimulant overdoses. Some of the long-term side-effects for its abuse include schizophrenic actions, psychoses, delusions, cerebrovascular disorders, cardiac abnormalities, and other behavioral disorders.

What causes Concerta overdose?

One of the most common causes of overdose for any prescription drugs is taking larger amounts in order to heighten the effects provided by the drug. For this kind of substance, overdose typically happens as a result of intranasal and intravenous abuse.

The highest reported amount that was intranasally abused was 200mg of substance. Meanwhile, for intravenous and oral intake, the highest amount reported is around 40-1000mg and 125 tablets per day respectively.

What are the signs of overdose?

There are several physical and behavioral indications if a person has been excessively using this prescription drug. These overdose indications are a result of the overstimulation of the brain and excess adrenaline effect.

Below are some apparent effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pains
  • Hallucinations
  • Uncontrolled bodily actions
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headache
  • Hypertension

How do you treat Concerta overdose?

In order to help those people who have experienced overdose with this drug, the following treatments or procedures are recommended:

  • The patient must be refrained and protected against self-injury and external situations that might exacerbate his stimuli.
  • If needed, the patient’s current content inside his stomach must be flushed out.
  • Other options for detoxifying the inside of the patient’s stomach is through the ingestion of activated charcoal or cathartic.
  • The patient can also undergo peritoneal dialysis or the removal of waste from the blood.

What are the withdrawal symptoms from Concerta?

Prolonged excessive usage of this substance definitely results in drug addiction or dependence. Likewise, this substance is under Schedule II controlled substance because of its highly addictive potential. In the process of gaining drug independence, there are several withdrawal symptoms to be observed.

Below are the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Severe fatigue
  • Depression
  • Low heart rate
  • Panic attacks
  • High-level of irritability
  • Delusions

How can you treat Concerta addiction?

Abuse of prescription or illicit drugs is treatable. Treatment must be done step-by-step for complete recovery. You can consider the following steps for your treatment process:

  • Consult your medical personnel or clinician for a comprehensive guideline in order to recover from drug dependence.
  • Reward System: A contingency management plan where sets of rewards will be given to the patients who avoid using this drug.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): A treatment process seeking to determine the variables causing drug abuse, risk reduction methods, and enhancing coping mechanism.
  • Recovery Group: A community-based plan which allows the patient to meet other victims and have a sharing about their experiences and success.