Methylphenidate (Ritalin LA): a second controlled-release formulation PBS listed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Published in NPS RADAR

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A second controlled-release formulation of the psychostimulant methylphenidate (Ritalin LA) was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on 1 April 2008. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) agreed that Ritalin LA and the previously listed controlled-release formulation (Concerta) are similarly effective for a similar cost.1

The restricted listing allows Ritalin LA to be prescribed for patients aged 6 to 18 years inclusive for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).1 The patient must have previously responded to the immediate-release formulation of methylphenidate (Ritalin) without serious adverse events. Relevant State and Territory regulations must also be followed when prescribing psychostimulants.

Immediate-release methylphenidate should be used for initial dose titration before switching to an equivalent dose of the controlled-release formulation.2 A once-daily dose of Ritalin LA is similar to twice-daily dosing with immediate-release methylphenidate (a once-daily dose of Concerta is equivalent to three-times-daily dosing). Half of the Ritalin LA dose is released immediately and the other half about 4 hours later, eliminating the need for taking medication at school.3


  1. Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. November 2007 PBAC outcomes — positive recommendations. 2007. (accessed 20 February 2008).
  2. Psychotropic Writing Group. Psychotropic. In: eTG complete [CD-ROM]. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Limited, 2004.
  3. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd. Ritalin 10/Ritalin LA product information. 6 March 2007. Australia.