The key difference between methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate is that methylphenidate is a comparatively soft medicine, whereas dexmethylphenidate is exactly twice as potent by weight compared to methylphenidate.
Methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate medicines are both used in treating ADHD and some other disorders. However, there is no significant difference in their functions.
What is Methylphenidate?
Methylphenidate is an organic compound used in medication and a stimulant for the central nervous system to treat ADHD and some other disorders. The chemical formula of this compound is C14H19NO2. It is an FDA-approved medication for children and adults. This medication belongs to the class of CNS (central nervous system) stimulants. The brand names of methylphenidate are Ritalin and Concerta, which are the most common names.
The routes of administration can be oral or transdermal. However, its dependence liability and addiction liability are very high. The bioavailability of methylphenidate is approximately 30%, whereas the protein binding ability is around 10-33%. Its metabolism occurs in the liver, and the elimination half-life lies around 2-3 hours. The excretion of methylphenidate occurs through urine (90% excretion).
Apart from treating ADHD, there is proof that this medication can work as an athletic performance enhancer, cognitive enhancer, and aphrodisiac or euphoriant. However, there can be some common side effects of this drug, such as anxiety, headache, insomnia, palpitations, hyperhidrosis, weight loss, and decreased appetite.
The mechanism of action of methylphenidate is by blocking the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine by neurons. However, it should not be confused as a cocaine derivative or an analog. This medication was first made in 1944 and was then approved for medical use in the USA in 1955. Originally, it was marketed by a Swiss company.
What is Dexmethylphenidate?
Dexmethylphenidate is an organic compound and a medication used as a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant. It is useful in treating ADHD in adults over 5 years of age. However, it is advised to discontinue the use after four weeks of use if there is no apparent progress. The major route of administration of this drug is oral. The bioavailability can be given as 11-52%, and the protein binding ability is 30%. The metabolism occurs in the liver. The elimination half-life of this medication is 4 hours, and the excretion occurs in the kidney.
This medicine was approved in the USA in 2001 to be available as a generic medicine. There are some common side effects, such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fever, abuse, psychosis, sudden cardiac death, mania, anaphylaxis, seizures, etc.
Furthermore, there are some other medicines with which dexmethylphenidate can interact. It can adversely interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors and with medications taken for agitation, tics, glaucoma, heart defects, etc.
What is the Difference Between Methylphenidate and Dexmethylphenidate?
There is no functional difference between methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate. The key difference between methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate is that methylphenidate is a comparatively soft medicine, whereas dexmethylphenidate is exactly twice as potent by weight compared to methylphenidate.
Below is a summary of the difference between methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Methylphenidate vs Dexmethylphenidate
Both methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate are effective in treating ADHD. The key difference between methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate is that methylphenidate is a comparatively soft medicine, whereas dexmethylphenidate is exactly twice as potent by weight compared to methylphenidate. However, there is no significant functional difference between these two medicines.
1. “Methylphenidate.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
1. “Methylphenidate-2D-skeletal” By Original: Unknown Vector: Jesin – Own work assumed (based on copyright claims). (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Dexmethylphenidate structure” By Ed (Edgar181) – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia