Learn what methylphenidate, a medication commonly used to treat ADHD, looks like and how to identify it.

Learn what methylphenidate, a medication commonly used to treat ADHD, looks like and how to identify it.

Methylphenidate is a medication commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Methylphenidate is available in several forms, each with its own unique appearance.

Pill Form

In its most commonly prescribed form, methylphenidate comes in pill or tablet form. The size, shape and color of the pill may vary depending on the brand and dosage. Here are some examples:

  • Ritalin: The brand name Ritalin is often associated with methylphenidate. The tablets are usually small, round, and white, with the name “CIBA” and a number printed on one side.
  • Concerta: Concerta is an extended-release form of methylphenidate. The tablets are usually round and white or off-white in color. They have the dosage printed on one side, such as “18 mg” or “36 mg.”
  • Adderall: Adderall is a combination medication that contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, but is sometimes used as an alternative to methylphenidate. The tablets are usually oval-shaped and come in different colors, such as orange, blue or white. They are printed with a fusion of letters and numbers to indicate the dose and brand.

It is important to note that the appearance of methylphenidate tablets may vary depending on the manufacturer, dosage and formulation. Always consult a healthcare professional and read the package insert of any medication carefully before using it.

Physical Appearance of Methylphenidate

The appearance of methylphenidate may vary depending on the formulation and manufacturer. However, it is usually a small, solid, homogeneous substance in the form of a tablet or capsule. The color, shape, size, and markings of the medication may vary depending on the brand and dosage. It is important to note that methylphenidate should only be obtained from a reputable source and with a valid prescription, as counterfeit or unauthorized versions of the medication may exist.

Important information:

  • Methylphenidate is a medication used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
  • It is available in various forms such as tablets and capsules.
  • The physical appearance of methylphenidate may vary depending on the specific formulation and manufacturer.
  • Taps or capsules may differ in color, shape, size and marked according to the brand and dose.
  • Be sure to obtain methylphenidate from an accredited source with a valid recipe to avoid falsified or unauthorized versions of the medication.
Formulation Color Shape Marked
Immediate release tablets White Round “M” on one face and dosage in the other
Prolonged release capsules Yellow Oval Different brands according to the brand and the dose
Prolonged-release tablets Pink or blue Round Different brands according to the brand and the dose

Various Forms of Methylphenidate

There are several different forms of methylphenidate, each with its own characteristics and administration methods. These forms include

  • Immediat e-release tablets: These tablets are designed to release the medication in the body quickly, providing an immediate relief of ADHD symptoms. They are usually taken 2 or 3 times a day, with or without food.
  • Prolonged release capsules: These capsules are formulated to release the medication slowly and constantly for a prolonged period of time. They are usually taken once a day in the morning, and their effects can last all day.
  • Transdermal patch: This form of methylphenidate is applied to the skin, allowing medication to be gradually absorbed for a 9-hour period. The patch is usually applied in the hip area and must be removed before bedtime.

Methylphenidate is available in several doses, ranging from 5 mg to 60 mg, depending on the specific form of the medication. It is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by the healthcare professional to ensure safe and effective use.

In addition, it should be noted that methylphenidate is also available under various trademarks, such as Ritalin, Concerta and Daytrana. These brand medications may have slight differences in their formulation and administration mechanisms, but all contain methylphenidate as an active substance.

Shape Administration Method Duration of the effect
Immediate release tablets Orally 2-4 hours
Prolonged release capsules Orally 8-12 hours
Transdermal patch Topic 9 hours

Ultimately, the choice of the methylphenidate form depends on the specific needs, the lifestyle and the preferences of each person. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate shape and dose of methylphenidate to obtain optimal treatment results.

Color and Shape of Methylphenidate Tablets

With regard to the color of methylphenidate tablets, there is no standard color for all brands and doses. Different manufacturers often use different dyes to distinguish their products. However, it is important to keep in mind that the color of the tablet does not indicate its power or effectiveness.

Important information:

  • Methylphenidate tablets can occur in various colors, such as white, yellow, blue, green or even multicolored.
  • The color of the tablet does not affect its effectiveness; It only serves to identify it.

In addition to varying color, the shape of methylphenidate tablets can also vary. The most common forms are round, oval and oblong. The specific form of the tablet is determined by the manufacturer and the dose.

Important information:

  • Methylphenidate tablets can be round, oval, oblong or have another form.
  • The shape of the tablet is determined by the manufacturer and the dose.
Brand Color Shape
Brand a White Oval
Brand b Yellow Round
Brand c Blue Elongated

It is important that people who take methylphenidate always check the labeling and packaging of their medication to ensure that they are taking the correct dose. The color and shape of the tablet, although they are useful for identification, should not be the only basis to differentiate the different brands or dose.

Identifying Methylphenidate by Brand Names

One of the best known methylphenidate brands is Ritalin. Ritalin is available in immediate release tablets, which are usually taken two or three times a day. These tablets are round and can be several colors, such as blue, yellow or white. Ritalin usually prescribes children and adolescents with ADHD, helping to improve their ability to concentrate and reduce impulsivity.

Important: Methylphenidate should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional and according to the prescribed dose. It is not recommended to modify the dose or change brand without medical orientation.

Other brand names of methylphenidate include:

  1. Concerta: Concerta is a prolonged methylphenidate release formulation, designed to provide a gradual release of the medication throughout the day. It is usually taken once a day and is available in tablets. Concerta tablets have a characteristic shape, similar to a capsule, with an outer cover that remains intact and releases the medication gradually.
  2. Metadate: Metadate is another brand name of methylphenidate, available in immediate-release and extended-release formulations. Metadate immediate-release tablets are usually taken two or three times a day, similar to Ritalin. Metadate CD extended-release capsules, meanwhile, release the medication gradually, providing a longer duration of action.
  3. Quillivant XR: Quillivant XR is a liquid suspension of methylphenidate, designed specifically for pediatric patients who have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules. It is an extended-release formulation that is taken once a day, using a special dosing cup supplied with the medication.

It is important to note that although these brands may differ in appearance and release mechanisms, they all contain the active ingredient methylphenidate and provide similar therapeutic effects when used as prescribed by healthcare professionals.

Differences in Methylphenidate Appearance: Generic vs. Brand

Generic methylphenidate:

  • Generic medications are usually manufactured by different pharmaceutical companies and are considered bioequivalent to their brand-name counterparts.
  • Generic methylphenidate can come in various forms, such as tablets, capsules, or extended-release formulations.
  • The appearance of generic methylphenidate may vary depending on the manufacturer, but it is required that they have the same active ingredient and the same potency as the brand name version.

Brand name methylphenidate:

  • Brand-name methylphenidate refers to the drug produced by the original manufacturer, which holds the patent on the drug.
  • Brand-name methylphenidate is usually available in extended-release tablets or capsules.
  • The appearance of brand-name methylphenidate is consistent and unique to each specific brand, often with a different color, shape, and markings.

It is important to note that although there may be visual differences between generic and brand-name methylphenidate, these variations should not affect the effectiveness or safety of the medication. Patients prescribed methylphenidate may receive the generic or brand-name version, depending on factors such as insurance coverage and cost. Ultimately, both forms of the medication contain the same active ingredient and are intended to provide the same therapeutic benefits to people with ADHD.

Packaging and Labeling of Methylphenidate Products

Packaging: Methylphenidate products are usually packaged in blister packs or bottles. Blisters provide individual dosage units, ensuring accurate administration and reducing the risk of contamination. They also offer protection against moisture and light, which can affect the stability of the medication. The bottles, for their part, are usually used for large quantities of methylphenidate tablets or capsules and are usually fitted with child-resistant caps to prevent accidental ingestion.


Product name and dosage: Each methylphenidate product should be clearly labeled with its brand or generic name, along with the strength of the medication. This information helps healthcare professionals and patients easily identify the correct medication and dosage.

Instructions for use: Packaging and labeling should provide clear instructions on how to take methylphenidate, including recommended dosage instructions, frequency, and any special instructions, such as taking with food. This ensures that patients use the medication correctly to obtain optimal therapeutic effects.

Note: It is essential that patients strictly follow the instructions provided by their healthcare professional and never exceed the recommended dosage without medical supervision.

Special warnings and precautions: This section of the labeling highlights important information about the safety of methylphenidate products. It may include warnings about possible side effects, contraindications, and precautions for specific patient populations, such as individuals with a history of heart problems or substance abuse.

Summary of labeling information
Key information Description
Brand/generic name Identify the specific methylphenidate product
Dose Specify the dosage of the medication
Instructions for use Tells how to take the medication correctly.
Special warnings and precautions Highlights important safety information and precautions

Author of the article
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Medical oncologist at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, MD, at the University of Vermont

Cannabis and Hemp Testing Laboratory
Add a comment