If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), your medical professional might recommend that you take a prescription drug called Concerta.

Concerta is used to treat ADHD in some adults and some children.

The active drug in Concerta is methylphenidate. Concerta belongs to a group of medications called stimulants.

Concerta comes as tablets that you swallow. In some cases, the drug may be used as a long-term treatment. If you’d like to learn more about Concerta, including specifics about its uses, you can see this overview of the medication.

As with other drugs, taking Concerta may cause side effects that can be mild or serious. For more information, you’ll want to keep reading.

While taking Concerta, mild or serious side effects may occur.

Here are some examples of side effects commonly reported with Concerta treatment:

These are only a few of the side effects that can occur with Concerta. In the sections below, we review other possible mild and serious side effects the drug may cause.

You may have mild side effects from Concerta.

Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Concerta include:

* To learn more about this side effect, you can see “Side effects up close” below.

In most cases, the mild side effects of Concerta should be temporary. Some may be easily managed as well. But if you have any symptoms that continue or bother you, be sure to talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. Also, it’s important that you don’t stop taking Concerta unless your medical professional recommends it.

It’s possible that Concerta can cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. You can see the Concerta medication guide for more information.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a medication, it tracks side effects of the drug. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Concerta, you can visit MedWatch.

Concerta may cause rare but serious side effects.

Serious side effects that have been reported with Concerta include:

If you develop serious side effects while taking Concerta, it’s important to call your medical professional immediately. If you feel that the side effects are life threatening or think you’re having a medical emergency, it’s vital to call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

* To learn more about this side effect, you can see “Side effects up close” below.
Concerta has a boxed warning for this side effect. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks.
‡ An allergic reaction is possible after taking Concerta. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

Concerta is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in some adults and some children.

Side effects of Concerta in adults are listed above in the common, mild, and serious side effects sections.

In children, the most commonly reported side effect of Concerta is pain in the upper abdomen (belly). Concerta may also cause delayed growth in children.

Other possible side effects of Concerta in children include:

Your child’s medical professional can give you more information about the side effects of Concerta in children.

Yes, Concerta can cause weight loss. In fact, this was one of the most common side effects in studies of the drug.

But it’s important to note that Concerta isn’t approved to be used for weight loss. And it’s not likely that the drug will be prescribed for this purpose.

If you’re interested in using medication as a weight loss aid, it’s a good idea to talk with your medical professional.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the side effects of Concerta.

What should I expect when starting Concerta treatment?

You may have mild side effects when you first start Concerta treatment. But many of these should ease within hours or days of taking the drug.

Rarely, side effects of Concerta may last longer. For details, you can see “How long do Concerta side effects last? Are any side effects long term?” below.

For more details about what to expect with Concerta, it’s a good idea to talk with your medical professional.

How long do Concerta side effects last? Are any side effects long term?

In rare cases, you may have certain long-term side effects with Concerta. But the length of time that side effects of the drug last can be different from person to person.

For example, high blood pressure and other heart problems from Concerta may lead to longer-term health problems. These include heart failure.

Concerta also has a risk of drug dependence,* which may require ongoing therapy and support.

Your medical professional can tell you more about what to expect long term with Concerta.

* Concerta has a boxed warning for this side effect. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks. We explain more about this warning in the “Side effects up close” section above.

Does stopping Concerta treatment cause side effects?

Yes, stopping Concerta treatment could cause certain side effects.

For example, priapism can occur after you stop taking Concerta. (Priapism refers to a painful erection that may last longer than 4 hours.) Below are other possible side effects that can happen when you stop Concerta treatment:

It’s important to note that you should not stop taking Concerta unless you first talk with your medical professional. They can help answer any other questions you have.

* To learn more about this side effect, you can see the “Side effects up close” section below.

Could I have side effects from a missed dose of Concerta?

It’s possible to have side effects if you miss a dose of Concerta. For a list of possible side effects, you can see “Does stopping Concerta cause side effects?” above.

To learn more about Concerta and missed doses, you can talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.

Can taking too much Concerta cause side effects? What about expired Concerta?

Yes, taking too much Concerta can lead to overdose, which could cause certain side effects. And it’s recommended that you do not take expired Concerta tablets.

An overdose of Concerta may cause side effects such as:

To lower your risk of side effects, your medical professional will prescribe the lowest dosage needed to treat your condition. It’s important that you take the drug exactly as they instruct you to take it.

It’s advised that you do not take Concerta tablets that have expired. The drug may be less effective than usual if it has expired. To learn more, you can see the expiration section of this article.

Your medical professional or pharmacist can tell you more about the side effects of taking too much Concerta and the drug’s expiration date.

Here’s some additional information about some of the side effects that Concerta may cause.

Weight loss

Concerta may cause weight loss. This was one of the most common side effects in studies of the drug.

Ways to help manage

If you’re concerned about weight loss with Concerta, you’re encouraged to talk with your medical professional. They can suggest healthy ways to manage your weight.

Anger

Anger and other emotional changes may occur with Concerta. But this was one of the least common side effects in studies of the drug.

It’s important to note that anger can be a symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which Concerta is used to treat. So, it’s possible that Concerta itself may not cause anger. Instead, you may have anger while taking Concerta because of your ADHD.

Ways to help manage

It’s recommended that you tell your medical professional if you have anger while taking Concerta. They can help determine if you’re experiencing anger because of the drug or the condition it’s treating.

Depression

Depression can occur with Concerta treatment. This was a common side effect in studies of the drug.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • fatigue (low energy)
  • feeling sad or lonely
  • sleeping more or less often than usual
  • eating more or less than usual
  • trouble concentrating
  • thoughts of harming yourself

Ways to help manage

If you have symptoms of depression while taking Concerta, it’s important to tell your medical professional right away. They can suggest ways to manage this condition.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself, it’s vital to call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Anxiety

Anxiety may occur with Concerta. This side effect was common in studies of the drug.

Possible symptoms of anxiety include:

  • constant worry
  • nausea
  • tense muscles
  • restlessness
  • sweating

Ways to help manage

If you have symptoms of anxiety while taking Concerta, it’s advised that you to tell your medical professional. They can suggest ways to ease your symptoms.

Drug dependence

Concerta has a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about drug dependence. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks.

Drug dependence means that your body gets used to a drug and needs it to feel as you usually do. If you suddenly stop taking Concerta after you’ve become dependent on it, you may have behaviors that are unusual for you, including depression.

It may not be safe to take Concerta if you currently have or have ever had alcohol use disorder or drug dependence. These conditions can increase your risk of dependence on Concerta.

Ways to help manage

Before you start treatment with Concerta, it’s recommended that you talk with your medical professional about your health history. They’ll usually determine your risk of dependence. They’ll also check your risk from time to time while you’re taking Concerta.

They can help answer any questions you have about Concerta and drug dependence.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Concerta can cause an allergic reaction in some people. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

Ways to help manage

If you develop mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as itchiness, we recommend that you call your medical professional right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter product to help ease your symptoms.

If they confirm that you had a mild allergic reaction to Concerta, they can advise you on whether it’s safe for you to keep taking it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing or swelling, it’s vital to call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your medical professional confirms that you had a serious allergic reaction to Concerta, they may recommend that you switch to a different treatment.

Monitoring side effects

While you take Concerta, you may want to write down information about any side effects you develop. You can share these notes with your medical professional. This is very helpful to do when you first take new medications or use multiple treatments.

In your notes, you can include answers to questions such as:

  • What dose was I taking when I developed the side effect?
  • How long after taking that dose did I have the side effect?
  • What symptoms did I develop?
  • How did the side effect impact my everyday activities?
  • What other medications was I also taking?
  • What other information do I think is important to share?

By writing down notes and sharing them with your medical professional, they’ll learn how Concerta affects you. They can use this information to adjust your treatment plan as needed.

It may not be safe to take Concerta if you have certain conditions. We describe these below in more detail.

FDA boxed warning: Drug dependence

Concerta has a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about drug dependence. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks.

For details, you can see the “Side effects up close” section above.

Other warnings

Concerta may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. It’s important to talk with your medical professional about your health history before you take Concerta. The list below includes some factors to consider.

Mental health conditions such as psychosis or bipolar disorder. If you have a mental health condition such as psychosis or bipolar disorder, it’s important to talk with your medical professional before starting Concerta treatment. It’s especially important to tell them if you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors now or have had them in the past. Concerta may cause psychosis or mania (episodes of extremely high energy, excitement, and racing thoughts). They can advise you on your risk of these side effects while you’re taking Concerta.

Anxiety or agitation. Before you start taking Concerta, be sure to tell your medical professional if you currently have or have ever had anxiety or agitation. The drug can worsen these conditions. If your anxiety or agitation is severe, the drug manufacturer recommends against taking Concerta. Your medical professional can advise you on the right treatment for you.

High blood pressure or other heart problems. If you have high blood pressure or other heart problems, such as an irregular heart rhythm, it may not be safe to take Concerta. The drug can lead to serious heart problems in people who have these conditions. These serious problems include heart attack and, in rare cases, death. Your medical professional may prescribe a drug other than Concerta for you.

Glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, it’s recommended that you do not take Concerta. The drug can raise your blood pressure, which can also increase the pressure inside your eyes. So, taking Concerta could worsen your glaucoma. Your medical professional can recommend a different treatment for you.

Problems with your esophagus, intestines, or stomach. Before taking Concerta, be sure to tell your medical professional if you have any problems with your esophagus, intestines, or stomach. If you have such a problem, the shape of Concerta tablets could cause them to block your intestines. Your medical professional can recommend the right treatment plan for you.

Tourette syndrome or tics. If you have Tourette syndrome or a tic, Concerta could worsen your symptoms. (Tics are repetitive, unwanted, or uncontrollable movements that can happen in any part of the body.) It’s advised that you do not take Concerta if you or anyone in your family has either of these conditions. Your doctor can recommend a different treatment for you.

Seizures. Concerta may cause seizures. If you have a seizure disorder, your risk of seizures with Concerta may be higher than usual. It’s important to let your medical professional know if you have seizures before you take Concerta. They can determine if the drug is right for you.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Concerta or any of its ingredients, it’s important to avoid taking Concerta. Your medical professional can tell you what other medications are better options for you.

Alcohol use and Concerta

It may be best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking Concerta.

The drug can mask the effects of alcohol in your body. This means that you may not feel how alcohol affects you. So, taking Concerta with alcohol can make it hard to manage the amount of alcohol you consume.

Before starting Concerta treatment, be sure to tell your medical professional if you currently have or have ever had alcohol use disorder. This condition can raise your risk of dependence* on Concerta. (Dependence means that your body gets used to a drug and needs it to feel as you usually do.)

If you drink alcohol, it’s important to talk with your medical professional about alcohol use before taking Concerta.

* Concerta has a boxed warning for this side effect. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks. We explain more about this warning in the “Side effects up close” section above.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Concerta

It may not be safe to take Concerta during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Talk with your medical professional about the risks of taking Concerta during these times.

It’s possible for Concerta to be misused. Misuse means taking a drug in a different way than how your medical professional told you to take it.

Studies of Concerta haven’t shown a risk of misuse of the drug. But misuse can still happen with Concerta.

It’s important to note that if you misuse Concerta, you may have a higher risk of dependence* on the drug than usual.

Be sure to take Concerta exactly as your medical professional prescribes it for you. They may check for signs of misuse from time to time while you’re taking the drug. They can also help answer any questions you have about Concerta and misuse.

* Concerta has a boxed warning for this side effect. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks. We explain more about this warning in the “Side effects up close” section above.

Concerta can cause mild or serious side effects. Most of the drug’s side effects should go away with time.

But if you have other questions about possible side effects from Concerta, you can talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.

Below are a few questions you may want to ask them:

  • Are there any side effects of Concerta that I should tell you about right away?
  • Is there an amount of alcohol that’s safe for me to drink while taking Concerta?
  • Do I have any risk factors for misuse with Concerta?

While you take Concerta, you may find it helpful to speak with a therapist or join a support group. You may also be interested in ways to afford therapy. The following topics might be helpful to you:

You can also visit the BetterHelp website to search for online counseling.

In addition, you can sign up for the Psych Central newsletter. We share stories from other people on mental health journeys as well as current information about treatments.

Disclaimer: Psych Central has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.