What is Concerta?
Usually, individuals who have issues with impulse control and hyperactivity have chemical imbalances in the brain. These individuals often suffer from conditions that limit their ability to function in educational or social situations as well as other aspects of their lives. These disorders can cause secondary conditions such as anxiety and depression. Methylphenidate, marketed under the name of Concerta, is a slow-released central nervous system stimulant that is prescribed for specific brain disorders.
How does Concerta work?
Concerta is designed to affect the chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. As it stimulates the central nervous system, it enhances the effects of norepinephrine and dopamine on the body. These neurotransmitters increase the blood pressure and heart rate thereby constricting blood vessels. Concerta encourages a slow and steady increase of dopamine that recreates the natural production of the chemicals in the brain. This medication is designed to work very quickly and typically reaches the peak blood level within an hour if taking orally.
Concerta works throughout the day, but the most beneficial effects are generally seen between five to nine hours after the initial dose. This medication is considered to be very useful for individuals who have ADHD due to the lack of requiring a second does throughout the day. Dosing guidelines typically suggest using this product early in the day due to its ability to affect the patient’s sleeping habits. Because it is an extended-release prescription, Concerta should not be crushed or snorted by individuals who wish to abuse it. Too much of this medication taken at one time can cause an overdose or other serious health complications. Typically, Concerta is eliminated from the body within the first 48 hours (2 days) after ingesting.
What is Concerta used for?
The most common uses for Concerta is as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children over the age of six. However, it can also be prescribed for other off-label conditions such as for the treatment of depression, lethargy, and obesity if these conditions do not respond to other more traditional medications.
ADHD is a commonly misunderstood condition that affects millions of Americans every day. While most individuals who have this disorder are diagnosed during their younger, school-age years, adults who were able to cope during their adolescence may not be diagnosed until later in life. ADHD often inhibits a person’s ability to concentrate or focus on activities that are not stimulating such as studying or complex projects. In addition, it can affect how the individual reacts with other people creating social issues that can lead to a negative self-image, anxiety or depression.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters or chemical messengers that help transmit signals in the brain. Because these transmitters cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, a precursor must be used to promote an increase in the natural production process within the body. Each chemical is responsible for specific functions that regulate how we react or feel during certain situations. Dopamine is responsible for sending the feelings of well-being and pleasure throughout your body. As well as helping to make us feel happy, dopamine can also help to control weight, boost energy levels and supports brain and heart health. Without dopamine, individuals would feel fat, unhappy and tired, a miserable place for anyone.
Norepinephrine is another neurotransmitter whose primary function is to control rest cycles, alertness, and memory in the central nervous center. It is also responsible for our fight or flight response along with epinephrine.
How does Concerta make you feel?
As long as patients are taking Concerta at therapeutic levels, they should experience a normal reaction to a new medication. Typically, doctors start a patient out at a relatively low dose, usually, 18 mg/day to see how they react. Most patients describe being able to feel differently within half an hour. Increased concentration and focus are generally felt until the evening when the medication begins to wear off. As the body becomes more accustomed to the lower dosages, your doctor may find it necessary to increase at small intervals to ensure the best results. Occasionally, medical professionals will ask the patient to discontinue Concerta to evaluate how the medication has affected your behavior.
When used as prescribed, Concerta does not typically produce a high that other stimulates can and the risk of developing an addiction is low unless misused. However, individuals who break it apart and snort or inject this medication can become addicted due to the increased euphoria that such a large dose can cause. Unfortunately, those who abuse Concerta can also develop a tolerance to the drug’s stimulant action requiring larger doses to achieve the same effect as before potentially leading to an accidental overdose. Most often individuals who abuse Concerta do so for one of the following reasons:
- Weight loss
- Improvement in academic performance
- To prevent falling asleep
- To achieve a high similar to cocaine
Additionally, repeated misuse of Concerta will cause changes in the brain and body as the physiologic processes adapt to the drug. Once individuals have abused it for an extended amount of time, sudden cessation of it can cause severe withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to yet another change.
What are Concerta side effects?
Although Concerta has been approved for the treatment of children and adults ages six to sixty-five, there are side effects that could be seen. Below is a list of the most common side effects associated with Concerta use:
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Disruption in sleeping habits
- Stomach ache
- Increased sweating
- Weight loss
Other more severe side effects can also occur. If any of these are noted, your physician may discontinue the use of Concerta. These conditions include the following:
- Slow growth in children
- Changes in vision
- Blurred vision
Although Concerta can be an effective treatment for ADHD as well as other off-label conditions, patients should always use great care while taking it. If used properly, there is little chance that patients will become addicted. As with any medication that can be used for inappropriate reasons, Concerta capsules should be kept safely away from individuals who might be tempted to misuse them. If you have been diagnosed with ADHD and are not satisfied with your current treatment regime, talk to your doctor today about trying Concerta.