Many children with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) take a stimulant drug called Methylin (methylphenidate). Unfortunately, the FDA warns that Methylin may increase a child’s risk of seizures, cardiovascular events, growth delays, and long-lasting erections (priapism) that can cause lifelong impotence / erectile dysfunction.
What is the Methylin?
Methylin is a liquid or chewable medication that contains methylphenidate (generic Ritalin). Methylin is a mild stimulant that is prescribed to control symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy (sudden uncontrollable sleepiness).
FDA Warning for “False or Misleading” Methylin Advertisements
September 25, 2008 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Warning Letter after reviewing a brochure for Methylin that was in violation of federal law. According to the FDA:
“[Methylin brochure] is false of misleading because it overstates the efficacy of Methylin, omits and minimizes risks associated with Methylin, and contains unsubstantiated claims about the drug, including unsubstantiated comparative claims.”
Methylin and Priapism
One of the rarest side effects of Methylin is priapism, an abnormally sustained and painful erection of the penis lasting 4 hours or more. It can potentially cause severe tissue damage, swelling, excruciating pain, and permanent impotence (erectile dysfunction). Treatment may involve surgery to drain blood from the penis, implant a shunt, or tie off ruptured arteries.
According to a Drug Safety Communication published in December 2013, the FDA has received 15 reports of priapism in association with methylphenidate. They warn that children are at risk of permanent sexual dysfunction because they may not recognize symptoms or fail to tell an adult, which can delay treatment.
Methylin Side Effects in Children
Common and non-serious side effects of Methylin in children include decreased appetite, stomach ache, headache, and trouble sleeping.
Severe Methylin side effects in children:
- Slow growth (height and weight)
- Changes in eyesight or blurred vision
- Priapism (erection lasting 4 hours or more)
- Psychiatric disorders
- New or worsening hostility, aggression, bipolar illness, manic symptoms, etc.
- Circulation problems in fingers and toes
- Cardiovascular events
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart rhythm is fast, uneven, or pounding
- Cardiac arrhythmia or palpitations
- Heart attack
- Sudden cardiac death