Intravenous methylphenidate abuse. Prototype for prescription drug abuse

Arch Intern Med. 1991 Apr;151(4):781-3.


Data are presented from a case series of 22 patients who abused methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin-SR). The abuse pattern and symptoms of toxicity were similar to that seen with cocaine hydrochloride and amphetamine sulfate addiction; yet, the morbidity and mortality seen in this case series were greater than usual for a group of patients involved in intravenous drug abuse. We describe the characteristics of the methylphenidate abuse syndrome in terms of the pharmacology of methylphenidate, the constituents of the Ritalin-SR preparation, and the disease of chemical dependence. We propose solutions to the problem of methylphenidate abuse.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate*
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous* / epidemiology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous* / psychology
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Methylphenidate