Concerta for Narcolepsy
A friend of mine has just been prescribed Concerta (Methylphenidate Hydrochloride) and she asked me what I knew about the medication. My initial reply was very little but then I started to review chats and conversations I have had over the years and my immediate thought was that: It’s probably more prescribed in the US…I was right. It is one of the most commonly prescribed central nervous system stimulants in the U.S. Brace yourselves, this is a long blog post for my friend. Please comment and share your experiences of Concerta if you have been prescribed the medication. Concerta is a psychostimulant and assist in making the communications of the central nervous system more active. It increases alertness, reduces fatigue and boosts cognitive functions. Concerta is mainly used to treat ADHD, weight loss, depression and Narcolepsy.
Used in co-junction with an anti-depressant, Concerta can improve impaired cognitive functions. One of the benefits of using Concerta is that it contains Methylphenidate in a time-release formula so you don’t have to remember to take x-many tablet per day at specific times but just 1 tablet a day, occasionally a second dose is needed. It comes in 18mg, 27mg, 36mg and 54mg capsules. How do you notice how medication affects you? I always find it easier to ask someone near me (family close friend) to keep an eye on my behaviour because sometimes changes happen so slow that it can be difficult to notice at first.The most common recorded side effects are:dry mouth, sleeplessness, tics (uncontrolled, involuntary movements), headaches, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, common colds and stomach pain. Further potential side-effects include allergic reactions, increased blood pressure, suicidal thoughts and chest pains. There are also other potential side effects but these are still in a speculative group: sinus irritation or infection, weight loss, light headed feelings, dizziness, sore throat, irritability, being injury prone, runny nose, heartburn, indigestion, digestion issues, excessive coughing, painful menstruation, tremors and fever.
This list is long enough to cause anxiety and slight hypochondria. Don’t worry too much! Sometimes, anxiety can cause more damage (psychosomatic) than the actual medication. But be smart! Keep an eye on how you feel and take notes, record it in a diary and ask family or friends to let you know if they notice any changes during initial period. When I tried Modafinil – I could have lessened the painful side-effects if I had stopped taking the medication earlier. Also, don’t just stop taking it if you get negative side effects, get an appointment with your GP/Sleep doctor and reduce the medication over time.
If you have an overactive thyroid and hypertension (high blood pressure), taking Concerta might exacerbate your condition and make it worse. Until your thyroid condition is managed, you should avoid Concerta. Concerta could potentially cause heart attacks, strokes and even sudden death in individuals that leave these issues untreated. The tests involved in diagnosing narcolepsy, includes a thyroid test so no reliable Neurologist/Sleep clinician would prescribe Concerta without checking your thyroid and blood pressure.
If you have been prescribed Concerta your Doctor should be checking your blood pressure on a regular basis.
Taking any medication can put a strain on your kidneys so ensure you drink plenty of water and take drug-free holidays/weekends now and again. I also try to regularly take supplements such as Spirulina/Chlorella with my daily multivitamin. It helps my body to cleanse out drug-residues. Lymphatic massage is also supposed to be beneficial in assisting the body expelling toxins and waste products.
Swiftly moving over to the benefits of using Concerta. As already mentioned you only need to take 1 tablet a day. Performance improvements have been recorded in academics, behaviour and social skills. As with many stimulant medications Concerta tends to wear off early in the afternoon and the tablets can’t be cut due to the time-releasing feature.
Janssen-Cilag manufactures Concerta for the UK market. Visit their website Here to obtain a patient information leaflet.
Read research on side-effects of Concerta: Here