How Long Does Concerta Take to Work

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The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient's unique health circumstances and needs.

Concerta is a prescription medication for treating the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adults struggling with ADHD often have difficulty paying attention and show impulsive behavior. Other symptoms, such as excessive movements and hyperactivity, mainly occur in childhood. ADHD medication Concerta acts on specific parts of the brain to help individuals cope better.

What Is Concerta, and How Does It Work

Concerta is a stimulant medication containing methylphenidate as the active ingredient. FDA approved it for medical use in 1955. The drug is used for ADHD relief in children above six and adults below 65. Concerta helps improve the symptoms of ADHD by stimulating the parts of the brain and nervous system responsible for impulses and hyperactivity. This class of meds helps restore the balance of certain brain chemicals, dopamine, and norepinephrine, whose deficiency causes ADD symptoms.

Ask EZCare doctors about the most suitable medication for you.

Do Concerta Generics Exist?

Yes, Concerta is available in a generic form. The generic name of this ADHD medication is methylphenidate hydrochloride extended-release (ER). Many companies, including Actavis, are approved to manufacture Concerta generic, which is often cheaper than the brand-name medication.

Despite the price differences, brand name and generic medication usually contain the same active ingredient and have a similar mechanism of action. Both Concerta and its generic contain methylphenidate.

Note: Beware of potentially unsafe, counterfeit Concerta generics, especially when looking for cheaper options from online pharmacies, as some might be selling illegal generic ADHD medication Concerta.

How Long Does Concerta Take to Kick In

Concerta comes as an extended-release tablet, taken by mouth once daily. Once swallowed, tablets bring the calming effects within an hour, with the effects lasting up to 12 hours. As an extended-release tablet, Concerta is designed to dissolve slowly, releasing a small amount of methylphenidate hydrochloride into the body progressively.

Concerta Mechanism of Action

Concerta works by blocking the reuptake of neurotransmitters (dopamine and noradrenaline) in the brain. This increases neurotransmitter concentration, which relieves ADHD symptoms, i.e., lack of concentration, hyperactivity, impulsivity, etc.

Within the first hour, the outer membrane of the drug dissolves, leading to the onset of action. The special membrane inside the pill gradually releases the remaining ingredients, helping maintain the medication’s effects.

Concerta Strengths and Dosage

The ADHD medication is available in tablets of 18, 27, 36, and 54 mg. The recommended starting dose for adult ADD patients of 18-65 is 18-36 mg once daily, with the maximum daily dose being 72 mg.

Typically, the healthcare provider prescribes a lower dose and adjusts it over time to reach the right amount for a patient. The adjustment is usually made after one week and in increments of 18 mg. For instance, if the prescribed initial dose of 18 mg once daily is not effective, the doctor will increase the daily amount to 36 mg after a week and so forth until the effective Concerta dosage is reached. That said, the daily amount should not exceed 72 mg.

If the chosen medication does not work or is not as effective as expected, another option can be chosen.

Side Effects of Concerta

Concerta can cause undesired responses like other medications, even if taken in the right amounts. These side effects of Concerta can be mild or severe; however, they do not occur in all individuals taking the drug. Talking to the healthcare provider about the potential risks can help you identify and manage the unwanted effects of Concerta.

Common Concerta side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Excessive sweating
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Headache

The side effects and their severity often vary from person to person. Most disappear after a few days or weeks as your body gets used to the drug. However, some might persist or worsen. In such events, inform the healthcare provider promptly.

Although rare, Concerta can cause serious problems that require immediate medical intervention. Some of the conditions and symptoms to watch out for when taking Concerta include:

  • Heart problems characterized by chest pain, fainting, and difficulty breathing.
  • Symptoms of elevated blood pressure, including headache, fatigue, and vision changes.
  • Seizures with symptoms such as confusion, uncoordinated movements, and loss of consciousness.
  • A prolonged and painful erection lasting for more than 4 hours in men.
  • Psychological problems such as depression, hallucinations, and aggression.
  • Circulatory changes, especially in the extremities, such as the fingers and the toes, might feel numb, change color and be painful.
  • Changes in vision without elevated blood pressure.

If these rare side effects occur while taking Concerta, contact your doctor immediately or call the emergency department if the situation becomes life-threatening. Always keep in touch with your provider and inform them of any Concerta side effects.


Concerta is a stimulant ADHD medication with methylphenidate hydrochloride as the active ingredient. The Concerta medication comes as an extended-release tablet whose effects kick in within an hour of ingestion and last up to 12 hours. Concerta improves ADD symptoms by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine chemicals in the brain, causing stimulation. Concerta generic that works similarly also exists and is approved for use in adults below 65. To know what medication will work best for you, contact EZCare doctors today.


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