Concerta is effective in treating ADHD because of its ability to balance levels of naturally occurring chemicals or neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. Once patients begin treatment, they may experience improved memory, attention, focus, and impulse control. However, while it may help treat ADHD, Concerta can also lead to complications if misused. In light of this, today, Banyans Massachusetts addiction treatment center is focusing on an important question. How long does Concerta stay in your system?
What Is Concerta?
Concerta is a central nervous system stimulant that’s prescribed to people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Like other stimulants, it works by increasing levels of two main neurotransmitters in the brain called norepinephrine and dopamine. Increasing the activity of these chemicals helps stimulate the brain, which can improve symptoms of ADHD like impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, lack of focus, and difficulty concentrating. In adults, Concerta is initially prescribed at 18 mg or 36 mg and taken by mouth once daily in the morning. A doctor may increase a patient’s dose by 18 mg daily each week after starting treatment, depending on their progress and the severity of symptoms.
The Concerta drug is only available with a prescription and should not be taken without one. Unfortunately, stimulants have the ability to produce a high when taken in large doses, which is why so many people begin to abuse them. Stimulant abuse is most common among young adults, especially college students and those in high-level careers. These individuals often take stimulants without prescriptions, or take them in ways that aren’t recommended, to improve their performance at school or work. We strongly advise against Concerta abuse or any other form of stimulant misuse, as these drugs are habit-forming and can lead to dependence. If you find yourself losing control over the use of your medication or other drugs, speak to your doctor right away.
How Long Does It Take for Concerta to Work?
Concerta usually takes about an hour to kick in after swallowing the tablet, with side effects lasting anywhere from 10 to 12 hours. Concerta affects the brain by balancing naturally occurring chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, both of which are associated with pleasure, mood, and stress. When a person with ADHD takes Concerta, these levels are regulated to improve their mood, reduce impulsive behaviors, improve their concentration, and help them focus better on one task at a time. Concerta normally comes in an extended-release tablet, which means it only has to be taken once daily.
Common side effects of Concerta include:
- Increased energy and alertness
- Stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Sleep problems
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
- Skin rash
- Vision problems
- Excessive sweating
When taken, the outer layer of the tablet dissolves to release some of the medication, while the rest of the tablet is gradually dissolved in the body over time. However, how quickly Concerta kicks in depends on how it’s taken. For instance, crushing and ingesting, snorting, or injecting a medication releases it into the body in one shot, which can lead to adverse and intense side effects. This immediate higher dosage can also increase the person’s risk of overdose and negative interactions with other drugs or medications they may be taking.
Common side effects of Concerta abuse include high blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, as well as decreased need for sleep and a lessened appetite. Long-term abuse of Concerta can also lead to addiction and increase the risk of substance abuse in other forms. Many other drugs and supplements can interact negatively with Concerta, as well, so never take any medications together unless directed by your doctor.
How Long Does Concerta Last in Your System?
How long Concerta stays in your system is related to its half-life. A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for it to be eliminated from the body. Concerta’s half-life is only 3.5 hours, which is shorter than most drugs. After the medication is taken orally, about 90 percent of it is excreted in urine and one to three percent of it in bowel movements as it metabolizes within 48 to 96 hours. So, generally speaking, Concerta stays in your system for 2 to 4 days. However, certain factors can affect how long it takes for Concerta to leave your system, including age, liver health, metabolism, genetics, and more.
For instance, someone with liver disease may take longer to metabolize this medication than someone who has a healthy liver. Older people also tend to eliminate medications slower than younger individuals. Tolerance also plays a big factor in how long Concerta lasts. Those who are more tolerant of this medication may take longer to metabolize it than people who have just started taking it.
Does Concerta Show Up on a Drug Test?
Although there is no specific “Concerta drug test,” depending on the type of drug test you’re administered, Concerta may show up in certain tests several days after you’ve taken it. Below are some estimated detection times for a Concerta drug screen:
- Urine: Concerta is usually detected in urine anywhere from 48 to 96 hours after it’s taken.
- Hair: Like most other medications, Concerta can be detected in hair within 90 days of taking it.
- Blood: Normally, Concerta can be detected in blood for up to four days after taking it.
Concerta isn’t usually tested in saliva samples. Keep in mind that it will show up on a drug test, so be sure to let your drug test administrator know that you’re taking this and any other medications beforehand, or you could possibly fail your drug screening.
How to Report Prescription Drug Abuse
It's crucial to report prescription drug abuse in order to address the problem and protect from danger anyone who could be abusing these drugs. There are several ways to report prescription drug abuse. People can first report any suspected abuse by getting in touch with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or their local law enforcement agency. This can contain information about the patient who is abusing the medicine, the medication itself, and any proof that supports the suspicion of misuse.
Another option is to get in touch with the doctor who provided the prescription and alert them of the possible abuse. The provider might be able to offer assistance and advice on how to handle the circumstance, including directing the person to an appropriate addiction treatment facility. In addition, there are hotlines like the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) or the DEA's tip line. If you would prefer to report prescription drug abuse anonymously, there are phone numbers on each site to help. This may not always be an easy process, but it can save a person’s life at the end of the day.
Is Concerta Addictive?
Concerta can lead to dependence and addiction if misused or abused. Taking your medication with alcohol, mixing it with other substances, or administering it in ways that aren’t recommended can increase your risk of addiction as well as overdose. The drug may cause euphoria, greater energy, and increased alertness in people who use it without a prescription or who take higher doses than recommended. When a substance is used in this way repeatedly, it can cause addiction, which is characterized by strong desires for the drug and difficulty quitting or cutting back on use. In order to prevent becoming addicted to Concert, it is crucial to adhere to the dosing recommendations given by a healthcare provider when using the drug.
Addicted to Concerta?
If you or someone you know is showing signs of Concerta addiction, get treatment as soon as possible. Our rehab in Massachusetts offers a variety of treatment programs, including PHP and outpatient treatment, to help patients recover from their conditions while learning how to transition back to an addiction-free lifestyle.