ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Medication, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Medication

Concerta Side Effects

What side effects does Concerta have?

Short Term Concerta Side Effects

The information on Concerta’s side effects come from the clinical trails undertaken during the approval process for its use an ADHD medication. It was tested on over 2100 people, some of whom were healthy adults but most were patients diagnosed with ADHD.

In a four week trial of children, the following Concerta side effect were reported. The percentages indicate the number of patients reporting side effects whilst on Concerta and those reporting side effects whilst (unknowingly) on a placebo.
Headache 14% / 10%
Abdominal pain (stomachache) 7% / 1%
Vomiting 4% / 3%
Anorexia (loss of appetite) 4% / 0%
Nervous Dizziness 2% / 0%
Insomnia 4% / 1%
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection 8% / 5%
Cough Increased 4% / 2%
Pharyngitis 4% / 3%
Sinusitis 3% / 0%

Trials on adolescents found a very similar level of Concerta side effects to the trials on children. One notably difference is that a notably increase in accident injury occurring when on medication compared to the placebo ( 6% to 3% ). This may indicate that heightened energy levels and improved concentration may cause adolescents to take part in new, higher risk activities.

Long Term Side Effects of Concerta

Unlike comparable drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall there is useful information on the long term side effects of Concerta. In two trails (one involving just children and the second a mixture of children, adolescents and adults) 6.7% of the patients discontinued using the drug because of side effects with insomnia being the leading cause.

One of the Concerta side effects reported in long term studies was facial tics. After an average of 7 months of treatment one study of 682 children found that 1% of patients developed facial tics. In a second study lasting 27 months, 9% of patients had developed tics.

In common with other stimulant medication there is a danger of patient’s abusing the drug. Patients with a history of drug or alcohol should not be prescribed Concerta. There has also been concerns that long-term use of ADHD medication in childhood may make patients more liable to legal and illegal stimulant use in adulthood.

Concerta Product Information [ PDF ]


  1. daw

    Wanted to know the difference of concerta 27mg to vyvanse 30mg. Thinking of changing childs med to vyvanse cuz concerta is warring off after school .need some advise THank you

  2. Miriam Zumstein

    Concerta is just an extended release Ritalin. When your child comes home from school they can be given the same mg in Ritalin, which is short-acting. My doctor has prescribed the same for me. It works well. Ritalin is also available in generic and works just as well. Vyvanse, in my opinion, is much stronger. I went from Adderall XR 25mg to Vyvanse 50mg based on my weight of 130 lbs, for a 30-day free trial, and it was a little too much for me. I even reduced it to 2/3 and it still made my heart beat faster. Seeing my Doc today about it. Will let you know more after we’ve discussed it.

  3. petey, pharmer

    First off all,try to not make any decision based on the reported results of any med. by a patient who is in essense telling you about their own body chemistry and chemical balance of their mind, not your’e childs. Also it is almost impossible to compare 2 diff.chemicals even when they fall in the same family and have virtualy the same molecular make up. 1 carbon mol. apart can and most often will result in vastly different effects. also as far as getting your child through the day, a second dose(though not neccasarily the same as AM) often works well, as long as it is taken before the first dose weres off, and not to late as to affect sleep. Shorter acting equivelent chems. often have a slightly different effect and can result in a late afternoon to night time crash, very neg.. I’m not a Dr. but i have been pursueing mental health with no consideration of cost for about 8 years. Get a second opinion, unfortunately so many DR.have corrupt brand loyalties.

  4. Ginger Young

    My granddaughter just had an episode last week of approx. 48 hrs. of continuous vomiting, headache, and her blood pressure was 159/103. She is 14, is about 5’4″, and went from 98 lbs, to 90 lbs. in a few days time. I am very concerned about the long term consequences of using this drug for her. She is Aspbergers. She and her brother who is autistic take Concerta in the am and Clonidine in the pm to sleep. Any comments?

  5. Jack


    You can’t compare 27mg of Concerta to 30mg of Vyvanse. They are completely different drugs. They deliever medication in different ways. Cocnerta releases 22% of the drug within the first hour and slowly release additional drug over the course of the day. If you want it to last longer just increase the dose to 36 or even 54mg. Rule of thumb with these drugs is keep uping the dose until you get the symptom control you desire without side effects.

  6. Can you tell me if the medication will make him zomby like an sleepy.I want him to be calm like but not like that.The ritalin he couldn’t sleep at nites an complained of a stomach ache an headache all the time. What can i do for the headache can i give him children tylenol he is only 9 years old. His medication is 18mg

  7. Amy

    I need to know if anyone elese has started getting tics after taking this med and if it can be stoped (the tics) and the med. My daughter has been on it for 8 mons and now has very bad tics that were not there before as if she didn’t have enough to deal with. My doc is pushing to keep her on this please any info?

  8. joann koehler

    i am wondering, i am 49 women just starting concerta for adhd. will it makeme gain wieght and eat all the time?????????? i am on other med’s for depression and axniety they made me gain

  9. Tiffany

    My son has been on concerta for about 8 months now. He tells me that it helps him to stay focused, but it takes his appetite, gives him headaches and he also developed tics that change. At first he started clicking his tongue. Then it changed to rolling his eyes and neck. He doesn’t realize he’s even rolling his seyes unless he’s told or catches a headache. Does anyone have any suggestions? I will be taking him back to the doc after the holidays.

  10. caroline

    i take 54mf of concerta everyday and im 19 years old. i have minor eye tics that i notice alot but it keeps me focused and after a while of taking it your appetite comes back. just stick through the first part. your bound to have a stomache ache to any new meds esp. if your not eating with it.

  11. Christina

    My son who is 9 years old just started to take this medication 9 days ago. Dr. told us to start him off at the 18 mg for the first week then hike him up to 36mg the 7th day, so we did that. That same day of upping his dose, his right eye began to blink much more than it should which is also known as a TIC. It is out of control and I cannot stand to watch him do this. After that one day, I put him back down to the 18mg and he is still continuing to do so and I will be calling his Dr. to ask for something else. He does focus while on this medication however, he shows his drive for focus is too much at times (says his teacher as well). Be careful with this medication, it at first seems like the miracle drug for a child with ADHD, but don’t dope your child and make him look weird and feel weird because of it. I sure won’t.

  12. Michelle

    My 8yr old son has been on concerta for over a year. Started at 18mg and is now at 36. He has never had sleeping problems, or “zombie” like ways. Only time he has had headaches, is when he doesnt take the medication for awhile. He only requires it in school, so during summer was not on it. When he started again, for 3 days, he had slight stomach pain and headaches, but then it was gone. No other side effects or problems since he has been on it. I highly reccommend this over Ritalin or Dexedrine. I have forbid my doctor to put my child on those two toxic drugs. Ive done extensive research on both of them, and Ritalin, under the FDA is classified with Heroin and other as Illegal, mind altering drugs. Why the heck are they being given to children????????

  13. Rebecca

    My 10 year old granddaughter has been on Concerta for about a year and on Ritalin about the same time. It has reduced her apetite, but she was overweight, so it hasn’t hurt her. She has ADHD and Aspergers Disorder. We think she also has some OCD. She did have a tic in her eye for about 6 weeks, but it went away. She takes 36 mg Concerta in the morning and 30 mg Ritalin after school. We have never had any zombie effects, it hasn’t slowed her down except to a normal level. We have tried several other drugs that just caused extreme weight gain. She also takes Topomax at night to help her irritability the next day. We can deal with her pretty good as long as we don’t forget the meds, otherwise she is short tempered and very irritable and rude. She is a night owl anyway, but I think it has given her some insomnia.

  14. My two wonderful stepsons have been on medication for years, one for ADD and the other for ADHD. They have been taking Concerta for as long as I have been around them and that has been for almost three years now. . . I’ve never agreed with medicating children and to this day, thanks to the experiences I have had with my boys I am so totally against it. My oldest stepson, Chris, is 12 and is presently taking 54 mg. of Concerta a day, they just lowered his dose to 54mg from 108mg PER DAY after he complained with his stomach constantly hurting him. Just within the past year, Chris has been in and out of the emergency room 4 times with horrible stomach cramps and constipation. My youngest boy, Nicholas, is presently taking 90mg. PER DAY (keep in mind this child may weigh 65 lbs. soaking wet thanks to the fact that the medication takes away both the boys’ appetite) and is completely emotionless and very inactive for his age. He is a frequent bed wetter and is VERY unsociable around other children. He has very few friends and is very much not interested in making new ones. I’m very concerned that this medication is in some way altering their chemical makeup, and very worried that there may be long term affects of emotional damage or physical damage to their internal organs that no one is telling us parents about. I understand that the kids need to be treated to help them focus on school, but when did a slight treatment for a learning disability turn into, “let’s dope our kids up and completely strip them of their beautiful little personalities.”? I love my boys and I’ve been around them when they were medicine free and they’re not bad kids that desserve to feel so “blah” all the time because society thinks they have behavior issues. Thank goodness my husband will be getting full custody of Chris, the oldest, and I will definately be taking him to another doctor to have him reevaluated. I just hope that all these doctors are telling the truth when they say that this medication is ok for our children to take, but in the meantime I will be doing my homework as well.

  15. Can't Sleep

    I am a female junior in high school and took concerta for the first time today. I got it from a friend who has a brother with ADHD. I know this isn’t the best idea in the world and I do not, by any means, promote taking meds that aren’t prescribed specifically to you. Anyways, I have not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. (though I often feel I need to be analyzed for ADD) I simply took it so that I could work more efficiently on schoolwork and study like crazy for an exam I have tomorrow. (I might add here that the exam I am referring to will begin at 8:00 am, and it is 4:00 am right now, hence I CANNOT SLEEP!!!!) I took the concerta around lunch time, and my friend did tell me that considering my size and weight that it might last a while but OH MY GOODNESS!!! This is ridiculous. I feel great… I am thinking clearly, got everything done that I needed to get done, studied for 6 hours straight, but my brain will NOT SHUT OFF. I have been laying in bed for over an hour trying to sleep but I just can’t. This sucks. That is my only complaint. INSOMNIA.

  16. J.

    Hi, it seems there are a lot of concerned people about this. It is completely understandable. No one likes to have their loved ones on such medications. However, we must understand not every child/adult is equal (medically speaking) so drugs may affect each individual differently. Some people treated with(amphetamines) either Concerta, Ritalin or Adderall (among others) experience serious side effects. All commonly related but more obvious and potentially dangerous varying from patient to patient and drug being used. If you make an educated search on the sites of action for these drugs you may understand a bit better why most side effects happen.

    Some of the side effects mentioned above and by yourselves are serious and concerning and should not be taken lightly. Seek further evaluation.

    Please keep in mind (mainly speaking about children) your child may be currently diagnosed with ADD or ADHD but also have features from another condition/diagnosis. Some conditions affecting behavior should be ruled out before implying its directly caused by the stimulant(amphetamines). Stimulants are not for everyone and some people just dont need them and are wrongfully diagnosed and treated.

    Always talk to your doctor about any concerns or changes in behavior felt or seen in your loved ones. Seeking for a second opinion or evaluation is always a good choice. Changing physician is also an alternative.

  17. tracy

    As the last poster note Concerta is the same drug as Ritalin, just in a time-released formula. I began taking Concerta in January. The biggest things I noticed, as did others, was I became extremely dehydrated and I lost my appetite. The dehydration is easily countered by drinking lots of water. I noticed extreme irratibility as the dose wore off after about three months and nearly had a meltdown at that point. I now take it only when I have major deadlines looming to help me focus, because it has done wonders for that. I have also found however, that if I wear my headphones with my IPOD on, I get almost the same focusing effect as the concerta gives me without the side effects including insomnia. I find most of these medicines, whether treatment for ADD or ADHD or depression/anxiety all change personality in some way. I try to get through without them because I don’t like not being me 🙂

  18. Hi my name is theresa most doctors dont tell you but the tics are from the concerta and turns in to territs syndrome after time ask you pharmacist concerta help add and adhd but side effect are verry real and deadly my advice get off concerta and get your child off there are many other med for add and adhd that a lot more safer than concerta

  19. Melanie

    Hi My son has been clearing his throat with a loud noise probably for a good part of 6 months. (I have to admit it may have been longer) I have taken him to the Doctors twice to have his throat looked at and no signs of irritation. Tonight my son was clearing his throat what seemed like forever and I finally said . “Please stop your driving me crazy”. He became very upset and finally said he could not help it and is finding it very difficult to stop. He also said when he starts his body cannot resist to make the sound. He also went on to say that there are other sounds that this happens with and he is finding it very embarrassing especially in class room environment.
    Looking online I have come across many sites, this one in particular I liked as you hear from other parents. My son is on Concerta – the last one comment has frighten me. I have emailed my Doctor for a meeting. Any other comments on this he is 10 and has been medicated for almost two years?

  20. Leslie Sneed

    I am an Exceptional Children’s Teacher and have a son that has ADHD. He has taken Concerta this school year and we have seen a huge difference in his attitude and personality. I have taken him off the medication myself and do not plan to put him back on it. I noticed an increase of defiance, oppositional, angry behavior that was not his normal calm and sweet personality. I would also like to respond to those parents who have noticed “tics” in their children. Parents are not told, but need to be, that these medications can unmask tics and these tics can become permanant. Please do your own research before having your child on ANY of these medications for any length of time.

  21. ConcernedStepMommy

    Whatever happened to modifying behaviors with parenting? The biological mother of my 2 kiddos – 6 & 8 – would rather sit the kids in front of a videogame and feed them soda and corndogs than take care of them. I’m not saying that’s what EVERY parent does, but it seems like there are an awful lot of people standing by waiting to stick their kid on a drug before stepping back to look at what they’re doing to contribute to the problem. What are you feeding your kids? How much and how often are you engaging in positive interaction? Balancing your child should have to do with love and respect, not a pill dosage. Television and video games are 2 primary influences on why some kids exhibit “hyperactivity”. Their brains are stimulated, but their bodies are retaining all of the energy. PLEASE THINK BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR KIDS ON MEDICINE. I know deep down, you want your kids to love and respect you, not be zombies following you around. I’m not trying to be harpo, I just see it all too often anymore…

  22. tom anderson

    I am 53 years old and have been taking concerta for 4 years 36mg.My stomach is killing me all the time. I just figured out that it has to be the concerta. Does any one else have this problem?

  23. Sonya Garza

    Some of these remarks are really troublesome. My son is 10 and has ADD. Up to now, we have had no meds but 4th grade was really a struggle. He had a difficult time in school & at home with homework. I have done behavioral mods for 2 years. They worked wonderfully in 3rd grade, but we struggle with 4th. At our Drs. visit in July, she recommended we think about medication, Concerta, for the next school year. In Texas, our 5th graders must must the Taks (reading, math & science) in order to be promoted to 6th grade. Since we had such a tough year, we are considering meds & planning to continue the behavioral mods, but we are very concerned about all the short & long term side effects. After reading all the imput, I’m really concerned. Please provide more feedback & info.

  24. Lisa O

    I am not against Concerta or any other medication, they do have their merits in some cases. Ginger Young mentioned her granddaughter has aspbergers, my nephew was on all kinds of medication diagnosed withe ADHD, as it turned out he had a mild form of Aspbergers. He was treated with neurofeedback and is now drug free and about 85% cured of his aspbergers symptoms.I would look for a reputable neurofeedback practictioner and at least give it a try. Neurofeedback also good results with ADD and ADHD. in my opinion should be the last resort.

  25. Jeffrey Link

    I am 52 and have been taking Concerta on and off for a year or so….I have HIV, and take it mostly to help me focus on projects and it does help with that immeasurably! It also speeds me up (I move faster and have less fatigue). It does kill appetite, but I do eat (much faster though!) The stomach ache….well it’s more like a fist in the lower abdomen, like somebody is grinding their fist into you all the time… is SPEED after all, and side-effect of an “upper” is that “gnawing” tummy-ache.

  26. Ashley

    My son has recently been put on concerta. He has been on it for five days now and I have already noticed a change in his personality. He seems to be very paranoid and unsure of himself. He clings to me a lot when we are out in public, and this is no where near his normal
    behavior. It really saddens me because I see a lost their in his big brown eyes. My first intuition told me not to put him on meds for behavior problems. He is not that bad, just has problems with focusing at school and at home. I will defintely be getting him off this medication. Even if it means he has to repeat third grade.

  27. Ryan

    I am almost 19 years, and diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. I was given Concerta since elementary age (I cannot recollect what age)and am now given the dosage of 54mg. Lately I’ve been frustrated with my medication because I was never told about what the side effects would be. Now, from doing my own research, I know I have almost experienced every symptom.

    In highschool I quit taking Concerta from my sophomore to beginning of my senior year. I felt my body and built a dependency to it over the years. If I didn’t take my pill I would be uncontrollably restless and no attention span.

    I Concerta(54mg) for the first time yesterday since the end of highschool and it helped immensly in my college calculus class. But I also experienced the full effectsl; no appetite (I didn’t eat all day), up late, a small ache in my stomach (not the gut wrenching feeling some people complain of), and my eyes muscles would unconrollably pulse, or focus…

    When I was younger (and a little to do this day) I have had a problem of picking scabs which I believe started from nervousness the drug used to cause. There are other cases of this I’ve read.

    Over my life, I’ve seen pros and cons of my perscription, but I feel there are irreversible affects because of Concerta/Ritilin that I do not desire.

    I saw one other comment left about their child being unsociable, when was very much like myself when I was a child, although one of my highest priorities is my social life.

    If I had the choice, I wish my folks would have said hell with it and just found another form of treatment besides Concerta. The eye muscle problem gets awfully annoying.

  28. Becca Harris

    I have taken Concerta for three days and I have seen a great improvement in my behavioral issues. I’m in eighth grade and all of my teachers and peers have noticed that I am quieter, and more organized. It’s working very well for me.

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