Posted on October 24, 2017 in Substance Abuse

What Happens When You Combine Ritalin With Other Drugs

Many people ask, what is Ritalin used for? Is it safe to take? Is it OK to take Ritalin if I take other prescriptions or drugs? If you’ve been asking these questions, here is what you need to know about combining Ritalin with other drugs.

What Is Ritalin Used For?

Ritalin is most commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a stimulant drug that causes increased focus and improved attention span. Ritalin is prescribed to children, teens and adults who suffer from ADHD or to adults who suffer from narcolepsy. Ritalin should only be used if prescribed by a doctor and should be consumed only in the prescribed amount. Taking too much Ritalin can cause harmful side effects.

Can I Take Ritalin While Using Other Drugs?

Because Ritalin is a stimulant medication, it should not be taken with other stimulant drugs or substances such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Doing so can cause a severe overreaction of the central nervous system. Ritalin should also not be taken with alcohol as this can cause rapid heart beat, increased blood pressure, problems sleeping, anxiety and depression. Taking Ritalin with alcohol can also mask the effects of alcohol so that you are unable to determine how intoxicated you are, which can lead to alcohol overdose or poisoning.

Ritalin may interact with other prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs such as:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Blood thinners
  • Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Decongestants
  • Cold and cough medications
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Seizure medication

If you are taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to consume Ritalin.

Is There Anything Else I Shouldn’t Mix With Ritalin?

Oddly enough, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that individuals who take Ritalin should not consume large amounts of chocolate. While a single bite-size piece will not harm you, consuming a large piece of chocolate cake or a whole chocolate bar can increase the effects of Ritalin to a harmful level. This is because chocolate – especially dark chocolate – contains caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can exacerbate any unpleasant or harmful side effects of Ritalin. Beverages with high levels of caffeine also should be avoided.

While Ritalin is generally safe for use as prescribed, it is important to know what foods and other drugs could negatively interact with Ritalin. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about specific foods, drugs or medications.

Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Stimulant ADHD Medications: Methylphenidate and Amphetamines. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/stimulant-adhd-medications-methylphenidate-amphetamines
University of Michigan. (n.d.). The Effects of Combining Alcohol with Other Drugs. https://uhs.umich.edu/combine
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2008). Avoiding Drug Interactions. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm096386.htm
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Methylphenidate. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682188.html#precautions
Watson, S. (2015). The Effects of Mixing Ritalin and Alcohol. http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/ritalin-and-alcohol#AsPrescribed2

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