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Methylphenidate.pngRitalin molecular structure.jpg
Systematic name Methyl Phenyl(piperidin-2-yl)Acetate
Other names Methylphenidate, MPH, Concerta,
Metadate, Methylin
Molecular formula C14H19NO2
Molar mass Molar mass::233.31 g/mol
Appearance White to off-white solid
CAS number CAS number::113-45-1
Solubility in water 1.1 g/ ml (32°C)
Melting point Melting point::35°C
Boiling point Boiling point::Decomposes
Acidity (pKa) 8.77
MSDS Material safety data sheet
Main hazards May be fatal if swallowed. Harmful if
inhaled or absorbed through skin. allergen.
Exposure may produce allergic response.
Affects central nervous system. Causes
irritation to skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 svg.png

Flash point 152°C
RTECS number TM3675000
Related compounds
Related compounds

acid hydrochloride

Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Ritalin is a medication used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, depression, and weight loss. It is a schedule II stimulant, otherwise known as Methylphenidate, MPH, Concerta, Metadate, Methylin, or as a street name "Kiddie Coke".[1] It was first produced in the early 1940's, but grew its rapid popularity in the U.S. in the 1990's. [2] It can be addictive due to its affects on the brain's dopamine transporters. [3]


Ritalin, or methylphenidate, is considered a schedule II stimulant. It stimulates the central nervous system and shares many of the pharmacological effects of methamphetamine, amphetamine, and cocaine. [4]

Methylphenidate has a molar mass of 233.3062 grams per mole. It has an appearance of a white to yellow color. Its melting point is about 34 to 36 degrees Celsius. It is said that methylphenidate decomposes rather than boils. A specific boiling point of this compound is unknown. It has a density of 1.1 gram per cubic centimeter. The methylphenidate molecule is composed of fourteen parts carbon, nineteen parts hydrogen, one part nitrogen, and two parts oxygen. [5]

Methylphenidate is soluble in alcohol, ethyl acetate, and ether. Although it is soluble in water and petroleum ether, the amount of solubility is very small. Its solubility in water at a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius is 1.1 gram per milliliter. In the molecules, there are covalent bonds found between all of the atoms. There are four double bonds. One of these double bonds is between one oxygen atom and one carbon atom. The other three double bonds connect carbon atoms.[6]

The SMILES code for methylphenidate is COC(=O)C(C1CCCCN1)C2=CC=CC=C2. It has a half life of two to four hours. It is excreted out of the body through urine. It has 30% protein binding. The bioavailability is about eleven to fifty-two percent. [7] About sixty to eighty percent of the consumed ritalin is eliminated by urinary means in the form of ritalinic acid. [8]

Methylphenidate is known to exist in four different isomers. There are two threo isomers and two erythro isomers. When this compound was first introduced as a drug, it was manufactured at a 3:1 ratio mixture of erythro and threo diastereomers. The threo isomers are the more energetic of the two isomers, so so it is easy to epimerize out any of the unused erythro isomers. [9]

History and Production

10 Mg Bottle of Ritalin (Methylphenidate)

According to the United Nations, The United States accounts for eighty-five percent of production and consumption of ritalin, or methylphenidate. [10] This compound was first produced in the early 1940's. By the early 1950's, the drug had made several improvements. By 1954 it was already being tested on human beings. The first company to produce methylphenidate, or MPH, was Ciba Pharmaceutical Company. They released it in the market to make it available for treatment of narcolepsy, psychosis, depression, exhaustion, and to balance the sedative effects of other drugs.[11]

In the early 1960's, it was being released in combination with vitamins and hormones. It was also prescribed to maintain strength. In this decade, methylphenidate had been under studies related to healing properties of new conditions. Tests were done on the compound's healing of hyperkinetic syndrome, otherwise known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. By the end of the 1960's, it was being releases as Ritalin.[12]

Throughout the 1970's and 1980's, Ritalin was being commonly used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder across America. In 1971, methylphenidate became categorized as a class II drug, largely due to an epidemic of the drug abuse in Sweden. In the 1990's, the sales of this drug rose five hundred percent in America. [13]


Ritalin is mainly used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy. It is mainly used by children as young as six years old, or adolescent kids under eighteen years old. It can be used in narcoleptic adults. It is also used, although rarely, in weight loss and depression.[14]

Its main use, in treatment of ADHD, helps treat consumers in problems related to difficulty paying attention, remaining still, or controlling personal behavior. To qualify for ADHD, these symptoms must be evident in a child before the age of seven. ADHD can also be found in teens and adults. To diagnose ADHD in an adult, different medicine is generally prescribed, due to different conditions. Although Ritalin is a stimulant that could cause hyperactivity, the doses consumed by those possessing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder usually will have a calming effect. The reason behind this behavior is unknown, but chemicals in the brain are affected by this drug differently depending on conditions of a person's disorder.[15]

Methylphenidate is also used in the treatment of narcolepsy. This condition has symptoms including uncontrollably falling asleep at unusual times. People with narcolepsy often have hallucinations before falling asleep. Once asleep, there body is in a paralyzed state. People with narcolepsy usually take larger doses of methylphenidate, due to its stimulating effects. These effects will help consumers stay awake while on this drug. Methylphenidate is not recommended for use of treatments of any kind for children five years old or younger. [16]


R20 Tablets of Ritalin (Methylphenidate)

Methylphenidate can be used as a moderate stimulant, but it can have very addictive properties. It sends messages to the brain's reward center that produce artificial pleasure. It does this by mimicking the action of chemicals in the brain that produce these messages. Ritalin acts like certain brain messenger chemicals which produce positive feelings in response to signals in the brain. This reaction to the drug often results in an addiction. The consumer will then depend on the affects of this drug. [17]

Once coming off addiction to Ritalin, withdrawals will normally occur. The amount and duration of time a consumer was addicted to Ritalin varies the withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include nausea, agitation, insomnia, exhaustion, anxiety, abdominal cramps, and severe emotional depression.[18]

Ritalin can also be known by its similarities with cocaine. They are both powerful stimulants that increase alertness and productivity. The chemical structure of the two compounds are share resemblance as well. They both increase dopamine levels in the brain. They block dopamine transporter proteins that are responsible for the taking in of dopamine at the synapse.[19]