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ADHD Adults

Effective dose of Ritalin in adult??

I am 43, diagnosed a few years ago. Tried Strattera with bad results (very bad insomnia for 2 months) quite a while ago.
Recently tried Adderall generic (up to 20mg twice a day) with mixed results (it made me calmer (as in less irritable), curbed my appetite (yay! wink) but didn’t do much in terms of focus, attention, motivation… It was working for me more as a mood stabilizer).
So I am now trying Ritalin (a generic form). My doctor made me start with 5mg twice a day, which not surprisingly didn’t do anything, the following day I took 10mg twice a day. No difference. Today I am trying 15mg twice a day. So far I don’t see much. And I feel much more irritable again the last few days.
I think the dose is still too low for me, I don’t feel it kicking in or wearing off, my doctor say you can go up to 60mg a day (over 2 or 3 doses a day).

I know everyone is different, and people react to different doses, but I was curious as to how much people usually take?... Thanks in advance. grin


I recently switched from Adderall to Concerta and Ritalin…I have an appointment and am going to ask about switching back.  My mood was dramatically improved with the Adderall but mostly because I was able to focus and didn’t get as irritable if I was interrupted.  I have read that some people do better on the amphetamine and some better on the methylphenidate.  I would be in the first group.

Posted by SuzieSubie on Jan 28, 2014 at 10:00pm

Currently I take generic Ritalin 20mg three times a day, so I take the max.  I love it; it’s worked the best for me out of all the ADHD meds I have taken except for Focalin XR (but that is a form of Ritalin and it’s long-acting).  I’m also on Strattera right now, which works pretty good too.  I’ve taken Adderall, Adderall XR, Dexedrine, Provigil, and I think that’s it.  I feel like I’m forgetting something because I know there’s a medication I used to take that was long-acting but the ending wasn’t XR, so I had to remind my doctor that it was different, but I can’t think of what it is right now.  Doesn’t matter anyway, but it’s going to bug me…lol.

I hope you can find a dose that works for you. Adderall would give me energy the first few times I would take it but after that I found it would just make me hyperfocus and on the wrong things, of course.  But with Ritalin, it calms me down a LOT (almost like an anti-anxiety medication) and I can focus on whatever I put my mind to.  So it’s like I get to choose what to focus on, whereas with Adderall I felt I didn’t get to choose; still, I took it for a good while.  I used to have to switch between Adderall and Ritalin quite often because I would build up a tolerance, but shortly after the Adderall shortage, I switched back to Ritalin and have been on it ever since.

Good luck!  Keep us posted.

Posted by LittleD1981 on Jan 28, 2014 at 10:55pm

I was on 20mg 3x/day, just like the previous commenter. It was marvelous—changed my life, really. However, then I cut sugar and refined grains completely out of my diet and upped the amount of protein in my diet to include more tryptophan (promotes dopamine production). After I made these diet changes, this dosage of ritalin became too strong for me (I started feeling anxious when I took that much). Anyway, now I almost never take it at all, and I’m fine as well as I stick to my diet and get at least 8 hours of sleep. In case you’re interested, I based my diet off the book Potatoes Not Prozac. smile

Posted by jwait on Jan 29, 2014 at 12:56am

I take 10mg 2x/day, 3 times if I really need to concentrate like if I’m driving home for 3 hours in the evening.  More than that caused chest pain for me.  This dose helps with focus, but I’m still distractable.  If there’s anxiety in my life, then it’s not enough.  I will have to look at that book Jwait mentioned.

Posted by whizinc on Jan 29, 2014 at 5:47am

Well, I’m the weirdo of the bunch. I take 1/2 tab of 5mg tablet (generic Ritalin) in the morning and 1/2 tab of 5 mg mid afternoon.It increases my need for B Complex vitamins, though, which is already high. I’ve tried higher doses, but, at this dosage I’ve felt the best and the most focused. So, like I said…weirdo! grin

Posted by DebNunn on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:27am

I, too, had insomnia with Strattera.  I do not think doctors know that if you have insomnia from a medication they should not put you on benzodiazapines, but simply find another medication!  A lack of sleep should be a deal breaker for any medicine meant to help us with ADHD.  Sorry not to respond on topic, but you are the first person I know of besides myself that had that side effect.  Did it go away and sleep return immediately after discontinuing the Strattera?

Posted by Yamalen on Jan 30, 2014 at 11:48am

I had insomnia from Strattera if I took it at night . It activated me. I had numerous all nighters even when feeling exhausted - really all night.Consecutive. Then I switched to taking it in the daytime and it put me to sleep - if I was a passenger in a car I’d be asleep within five minutes. It never leveled out. I also had increased ear hissing and jaw clenching. My provider has been trying to get me to reconsider taking it again at a lower dose to see if mixing it with my Concerta will let me lower the 72 mg dose because I developed high blood pressure. She tells me it could fill in some gaps that the Concerta doesn’t address (different neurotransmitters?) and reduce some of the concerns about the heart.

Posted by Juggler on Feb 01, 2014 at 9:13am

Silly me forgot to subscribe to the thread so I didn’t see the answers!! Duh!... ADHD much!?... LOL… >.<

Well first to answer the question about Strattera, I was taking it in the morning I believe, and I was waking up in the middle of the night and being awake for 2 or 3 hours, pretty much every night. the weird thing is I was not overly tired during the day, even though I had been awake in the middle of the night… After 2 months I couldn’t take it anymore and I stopped, and yes, normal sleep pattern returned.

Now for Ritalin I really don’t know what to think!! After 3 days at 15 mg X2, and still not seeing a difference I upped to 20 mg X2 a day. I have been doing that since last Friday and still see no difference!!! o.O Except for being hyper irritable (like when I am PMS, which I unfortunately am… wink)

I don’t get it, except from maybe sweating a tad more which was happening with Adderall too (more with Adderall which also gave me some hot flashes sometimes when it was wearing off…) I don’t see any effects… o.O
My doctor says that I went up too fast and that the irritability is a side effect. I am not convinced at all that she is right since unfortunately I feel like I usually feel at certains times of the month (which is like the Hulk but that’s another story… wink) so it feels more like the medecine is not working and I feel like my usual crappy self!! It’s especially hard/frustrating because the Adderall took the edge off a bit so now I feel even worse being back to square one. hmmm I have been told to stay at 20mg X2 for 2 weeks to give it time but quite frankly I fail to see the point, since I have no apparent side-effects, or effects!!
At this point honestly I am considering going back to Adderall! Plus I am pissed off because my doctor said that 40 mg/day was the maximum dosage for Adderall (regular) but another doctor (gp also) told me he goes up to 60mg/day!! I wish I knew that before because then I would have asked her to let me try bigger doses of Adderall instead of trying something else… And it bugged me that she said that if the Ritalin wasn’t working maybe I was just not adhd… I don’t think it’s that simple or clear cut!!... angry
I think I need to go see a specialist, or at least a neuropsychiatrist or psychiatrist…

Is it common though to not react at all to the Ritalin?? Is it just an indication that the dose is too low, or that it mean that it’s not working for my body?... I saw my therapist today and he said I’m weird and not reacting like everybody! Geez thanks!!!... LOL wink
I’m really at a loss, and hate the idea of having to just wait feeling like a damn pressure cooker to see what will happen… hmmm

Ps: as for the diet, since I also have fibromyalgia and various food intolerances, I am on gluten free and dairy free diet and avoid cane sugar when I can… I take fatty acids in the form of Evening Primrose Oil.

Posted by ~Bee~ on Feb 05, 2014 at 5:10am

Also I am convinced I need a slow release form, but not sure I can find one that my stupid insurance will cover…

Posted by ~Bee~ on Feb 05, 2014 at 5:20am

Actually, the maximum dose of short-acting Adderall per day is 90mg.  I know, because I’ve been on it.  The maximum dose for short-acting Ritain is 60mg per day.  I took the Adderall as 30mg 3x a day, and the Ritalin as 20mg 3x a day.  Now, if it’s Adderall XR, then, yes, the max dose MAY be 40mg, but I’m not positive on that.

Posted by LittleD1981 on Feb 07, 2014 at 8:12pm

Hmm, that’s interesting, the thing though is that there are pharmaceutical guidelines and doctors who are willing to bend them and some who aren’t!... It also probably depends if you are seeing a GP or an adhd specialist…
My hubby is GP and he prescribes up to 60mg/day of Adderall (regular). My GP (same office) only goes up to 40mg (that’s what the official guideline is apparently… wink). That’s why I think I might need a specialist to adapt this ttt for me. Her telling me that if the Ritalin doesn’t work (after Strattera being a disaster and Adderall being beneficial but not optimal) could just mean I don’t have adhd is a little disconcerting… Especially when we didn’t try an optimal dose of Adderall in my opinion!... hmmm If she sticks to the book, I don’t think we’ll be able to go anywhere together… :-(

Posted by ~Bee~ on Feb 08, 2014 at 2:34am

I see a psychiatrist and I’ve also read the physicians’ prescribing information on the drug companies’ websites.  Read the section that says “for prescribers.”  That usually will have somewhere in there what the dosage limit to not exceed is.  The only time ever that my psychiatrist went over the FDA guidelines was when I took Focalin XR, and I have no idea why he did.  The guidelines say 20mg a day.  That’s where I started at, but it didn’t do anything so he told me to take 2.  It worked great! (Still the best med I’ve taken to this date, but my insurance right now won’t cover it.) But it only lasted about 6 hours, so he told me to take it twice a day then.  So I was taking 40mg twice a day.  I’m surprised my insurance at the time covered it.  But that was before Medicare had Part D and there really weren’t quantity limits and stuff like there are now.  Your issue may just be that you’re seeing GPs and not a psychiatrist.  It could be they really don’t know what the limits are, or that they don’t feel comfortable in going above that level.  Try getting a psychiatrist and see how that goes.  Let them know the success you had on Adderall but that you think it could have been even more beneficial had the dosage been a little higher.  Don’t give up!  Sometimes we have to fight for the right effective treatment!  I know I have!  I’ve VERY persistent, and have been known to be a fighter…hehehe.

Posted by LittleD1981 on Feb 08, 2014 at 7:48am

Oh, and about the not being ADHD if Ritalin or Adderall aren’t working is a load of BULL!  Stimulants are actually only effective for 70-80% of ADHDers.

Posted by LittleD1981 on Feb 08, 2014 at 7:51am

Oh I certainly don’t plan on giving up!! LOL wink Just frustrated by the process… I have only seen her so far for that, and she didn’t know me before, so at first she didn’t even want to treat me before I was evaluated because she said it could be depression… sooo I got an eval with a freaking idiot that said I was in his opinion depressed and limit borderline personality disorder (based on the facts that I kind of tried to off myself when I was 17, and that my test on the computer said there was 70% chances I was not ADHD (even though everything else pointed to add!!) and that according to him anger, frustration and mood swings are NOT ADHD symptoms!!). Arrrgggghhhh, way to screw things up!!.... Then my therapist had to write my GP a letter to tell her he sought I had ADHD and would benefit from ttt!!! angry My therapist is great but he can’t prescribe so, yes, you are right, I need to find a psychiatrist to manage my ttt. My therapist recommended someone, I am trying to figure out if the insurance will go for it! wink In the meantime, also looking into Vyvance maybe for next guinea pig experiment!!... grin

Posted by ~Bee~ on Feb 08, 2014 at 7:59am

What is ttt?

Posted by LittleD1981 on Feb 08, 2014 at 8:11am

Sorry it’s the french abbreviation for treatment… wink I used to be a nurse, it stuck with me. grin

Posted by ~Bee~ on Feb 08, 2014 at 8:19am

Oh, okay…lol

Posted by LittleD1981 on Feb 08, 2014 at 8:40am

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