Pharmacology of stimulant medication

Methylphenidate is rapidly absorbed and easily crosses the blood- brain barrier. The effects of this stimulant are seen in 30 min. Its peak plasma level occurs in 1 to 2 h, and its half peak level in 3 h. Its absorption is unaffected by meals. (123) Of primary clinical importance is the duration of its effect; the effects of methylphenidate last only 1 to 4 h. Therefore, the medication must be taken repeatedly. The effect of sustained-release dexedrine (Dexedrine Spansules) lasts 9 h. (124) Sustained-release methylphenidate (Ritalin Sustained Release) is designed to have the same impact as 10 mg of regular methylphenidate taken twice daily. However, sustained-release methylphenidate may have a variable and slow onset of effect; it may take 3 h to take effect, and the effect may last only 5 h.(!24)

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