Child with head on arms

We first began to suspect the quality of generic drugs nearly two decades ago. That’s because a mother complained to us about a generic form of the brand name Ritalin aka methylphenidate. She knew her son and noted that he wasn’t doing as well in school on the generic methylphenidate. Even the teachers were complaining that he started losing attention on the generic form of Ritalin. Fast forward to a very similar story we recently received. In this case, a long-acting brand name drug called Concerta OROS was also substituted with a generic form of methylphenidate. The result was way too familiar.

When Generic Methylphenidate Didn’t Work So Well:

Q. My 13-year-old son has ADD. He has been on Actavis’ generic Concerta OROS system with excellent results. He has made the honor roll and earned straight As for four years running.

Last month the pharmacy switched to a different generic. He’s now failing math and is symptomatic. I know Actavis was purchased by TEVA. I contacted TEVA and was told Actavis 27 mg was on backorder. No pharmacies in our region have any.

Do you know of an equivalent generic? Or could my son switch to regular methylphenidate tablets and take them breakfast, lunch and dinner? The etended release version works so very well.

My son was in tears when he failed his first math test last week. He’s struggling to focus, and it is breaking my heart.

What is Concerta OROS?

A. The osmotic-release oral system (OROS) was approved for Concerta in 2000 and allows for convenient once-daily dosing (CNS Drugs, Nov. 2014).  Actavis was selling this under an “authorized generic” agreement with Janssen, the original maker of Concerta. However, that agreement lapsed at the end of last year.

Another generic supplier, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, should be shipping authorized generic methylphenidate early in 2019. We cannot tell you when that will be implemented, however.

What About Brand Name Concerta?

Brand name Concerta is available, though the cost could be around $350 a month. If that is unaffordable, you may have to discuss use of immediate-release methylphenidate with your son’s doctor. It sounds as though both you and your son are motivated enough for him to stick with a three-times daily dosing schedule. Three immediate-release pills a day should be as effective as one long-acting Concerta (Pediatrics, June 2001).

You could learn more about authorized generic medications from our eGuide to Saving Money on Medicines. It is available alphabetically in the health guide section of our store.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Scott
    Florida
    Reply

    Make a game of taking short activity ADHD meds. Set alarms on a phone or watch every +/- 3.2 hours. Use a neat sound.
    9-12:15- 3:32-6:19…

  2. Suzanne
    Blacksburg
    Reply

    I worked for 20-plus years as a pediatric occupational therapist. In my experience with children and families, these drugs only work temporarily. I found that increasing physical activity was extremely helpful such as swimming, walking, bicycling. Also helping children to find social outlets such as clubs and scouts made a big difference in children’s lives.

    From my experience, it’s rarely appropriate or effective in the long term to give children medications that affect their brains. This idea of needing drugs to cope with life gives a message that is easily translated to alcohol and other drugs when they reach adulthood. Is that what we want to teach?

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Total
USD
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.