Concerta Dose: Getting It Right
Many articles can be found around. This is By Dr. Kenny Handelman on October 15, 2006
Concerta is a newer, long acting preparation of Methylphenidate – which is the medication name for Ritalin.
It has been out for several years in the USA and Canada, and many other countries in the world.
Despite the fact that it has been around for quite some time, I still see dosing mistakes in patients who are sent to my office.
Allow me to explain to you how Concerta should be dosed.
To start off, we need to go back to the original Ritalin.
Here are the dosing guidelines for Ritalin:
Recommended daily max = 60 mg
Timing: as each dose only lasts 3-4 hours, it is generally dosed 3 times daily – i.e. morning, noon and 4 pm
It is not dosed too late in the day, as it may lead to insomnia
Children would be started at 5 mg twice to three times daily, and the dose would be increased upwards as needed.
When Concerta was developed, they used a fascinating technology called OROS. OROS refers to: osmotic-controlled release oral delivery system. What OROS does, is use the water in the gut to cause the medicine to be absorbed gradually, through osmosis. Suffice it to say that this new pill takes a medicine that has to be taken 3 times daily, and makes it once per day.
Concerta comes in 4 doses:
The way to convert Concerta doses into the equivalent of Ritalin doses is this:
Take 22% of the Concerta dose, and that becomes the effective Ritalin dose, three times daily. In other words, the initial 22% is quickly released, and the whole rest of the pill supports that dose.
You need to remember that not all of the medicine is released from the Concerta pill – about 10% is not absorbed.
Just picture a ketchup bottle – can you ever get the last bit out?
So, here is a conversion:
18 mg Concerta = 4 mg Ritalin 3 times per day
27 mg Concerta = 6 mg Ritalin 3 times per day
36 mg Concerta = 8 mg Ritalin 3 times per day
54 mg Concerta = 12 mg Ritalin 3 times per day
Here is an example of how some people get into trouble:
Let’s say that a teen required 60 mg of Ritalin per day – i.e. 20 mg three times daily.
If the doctor converts the dose of 60 mg Ritalin to 54 mg of Concerta – because they seem close, this can have dire consequences.