Patients with an element of agitation may react adversely; discontinue therapy if necessary.
Periodic CBC, differential, and platelet counts are advised during prolonged therapy.
Drug treatment is not indicated in all cases of this behavioral syndrome and should be considered only in light of the complete history and evaluation of the child. The decision to prescribe methylphenidate hydrochloride should depend on the physician’s assessment of the chronicity and severity of the child’s symptoms and their appropriateness for his/her age. Prescription should not depend solely on the presence of one or more of the behavioral characteristics.
When these symptoms are associated with acute stress reactions, treatment with methylphenidate hydrochloride is usually not indicated.
Long-term effects of methylphenidate hydrochloride in children have not been well established.
Information for Patients
Prescribers or other health professionals should inform patients, their families, and their caregivers about the benefits and risks associated with treatment with methylphenidate and should counsel them in its appropriate use. A patient Medication Guide is available for methylphenidate hydrochloride chewable tablets. The prescriber or health professional should instruct patients, their families, and their caregivers to read the Medication Guide and should assist them in understanding its contents. Patients should be given the opportunity to discuss the contents of the Medication Guide and to obtain answers to any questions they may have. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
Physicians are advised to discuss the following issues with patients for whom they prescribe methylphenidate hydrochloride:
Choking – Taking this product without adequate fluid may cause it to swell and block your throat or esophagus and may cause choking. Do not take this product if you have difficulty in swallowing. If you experience chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty in swallowing or breathing after taking this product, seek immediate medical attention.
Directions – Take this product (child or adult dose) with at least 8 ounces (a full glass) of water or other fluid. Taking this product without enough liquid may cause choking. See choking warning.
Advise patients, caregivers, and family members of the possibility of painful or prolonged penile erections (priapism). Instruct the patient to seek immediate medical attention in the event of priapism.
Circulation Problems in Fingers and Toes [Peripheral Vasculopathy, Including Raynaud’s Phenomenon]
- Instruct patients beginning treatment with methylphenidate hydrochloride about the risk of peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon, and associated signs and symptoms: fingers or toes may feel numb, cool, painful, and/or may change color from pale, to blue, to red.
- Instruct patients to report to their physician any new numbness, pain, skin color change, or sensitivity to temperature in fingers or toes.
- Instruct patients to call their physician immediately with any signs of unexplained wounds appearing on fingers or toes while taking methylphenidate hydrochloride.
- Further clinical evaluation (e.g., rheumatology referral) may be appropriate for certain patients.
Phenylketonurics – Phenylalanine is a component of aspartame. Each 2.5 mg methylphenidate hydrochloride chewable tablet contains 0.35 mg of phenylalanine; each 5 mg methylphenidate hydrochloride chewable tablet contains 0.70 mg of phenylalanine and each 10 mg methylphenidate hydrochloride chewable tablet contains 1.40 mg of phenylalanine.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI)
Concomitant use of MAOIs and CNS stimulants, including methylphenidate hydrochloride can cause hypertensive crisis. Potential outcomes include death, stroke, myocardial infarction, aortic dissection, ophthalmological complications, eclampsia, pulmonary edema, and renal failure (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). Concomitant use of methylphenidate hydrochloride with MAOIs or within 14 days after discontinuing MAOI treatment is contraindicated.
Methylphenidate hydrochloride may decrease the effectiveness of drugs used to treat hypertension. Monitor blood pressure and adjust the dosage of the antihypertensive drug as needed.
Combined use of methylphenidate with risperidone when there is a change, whether an increase or decrease, in dosage of either or both medications, may increase the risk of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). Monitor for signs of EPS.
Methylphenidate hydrochloride may decrease the hypotensive effect of guanethidine. Use cautiously with pressor agents.
Human pharmacologic studies have shown that methylphenidate hydrochloride may inhibit the metabolism of coumarin anticoagulants, anticonvulsants (phenobarbital, diphenylhydantoin, primidone), phenylbutazone, and tricyclic drugs (imipramine, clomipramine, desipramine). Downward dosage adjustments of these drugs may be required when given concomitantly with methylphenidate hydrochloride.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
In a lifetime carcinogenicity study carried out in B6C3F1 mice, methylphenidate caused an increase in hepatocellular adenomas and, in males only, an increase in hepatoblastomas, at a daily dose of approximately 60 mg/kg/day. This dose is approximately 30 times and 2.5 times the maximum recommended human dose on a mg/kg and mg/m2 basis, respectively. Hepatoblastoma is a relatively rare rodent malignant tumor type. There was no increase in total malignant hepatic tumors. The mouse strain used is sensitive to the development of hepatic tumors, and the significance of these results to humans is unknown.
Methylphenidate did not cause any increase in tumors in a lifetime carcinogenicity study carried out in F344 rats; the highest dose used was approximately 45 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 22 times and 4 times the maximum recommended human dose on a mg/kg and mg/m2 basis, respectively.
Methylphenidate was not mutagenic in the in vitro Ames reverse mutation assay or in the in vitro mouse lymphoma cell forward mutation assay. Sister chromatid exchanges and chromosome aberrations were increased, indicative of a weak clastogenic response, in an in vitro assay in cultured Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. The genotoxic potential of methylphenidate has not been evaluated in an in vivo assay.
Usage in Pregnancy
Adequate animal reproduction studies to establish safe use of methylphenidate hydrochloride chewable tablet during pregnancy have not been conducted. However, in a recently conducted study, methylphenidate has been shown to have teratogenic effects in rabbits when given in doses of 200 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 167 times and 78 times the maximum recommended human dose on a mg/kg and a mg/m2 basis, respectively. In rats, teratogenic effects were not seen when the drug was given in doses of 75 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 62.5 and 13.5 times the maximum recommended human dose on a mg/kg and a mg/m2 basis, respectively. Therefore, until more information is available, methylphenidate should not be prescribed for women of childbearing age unless, in the opinion of the physician, the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks.
Nervousness and insomnia are the most common adverse reactions but are usually controlled by reducing dosage and omitting the drug in the afternoon or evening. Other reactions include hypersensitivity (including skin rash, urticaria, fever, arthralgia, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme with histopathological findings of necrotizing vasculitis, and thrombocytopenic purpura); anorexia; nausea; dizziness; palpitations; headache; dyskinesia; drowsiness; blood pressure and pulse changes, both up and down; tachycardia; angina; cardiac arrhythmia; abdominal pain; weight loss during prolonged therapy; libido changes; and rhabdomyolysis. There have been rare reports of Tourette’s syndrome. Toxic psychosis has been reported. Although a definite causal relationship has not been established, the following have been reported in patients taking this drug: instances of abnormal liver function, ranging from transaminase elevation to severe hepatic injury; isolated cases of cerebral arteritis and/or occlusion; leukopenia and/or anemia; transient depressed mood; a few instances of scalp hair loss; serotonin syndrome in combination with serotonergic drugs. Very rare reports of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) have been received, and, in most of these, patients were concurrently receiving therapies associated with NMS. In a single report, a ten year old boy who had been taking methylphenidate for approximately 18 months experienced an NMS-like event within 45 minutes of ingesting his first dose of venlafaxine. It is uncertain whether this case represented a drug-drug interaction, a response to either drug alone, or some other cause.
In children, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss during prolonged therapy, insomnia, and tachycardia may occur more frequently; however, any of the other adverse reactions listed above may also occur.
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