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Methylin (methylphenidate) is a prescription medication for adults and children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, side effects of Methylin in children can include growth delays, cardiovascular events, priapism, and permanent sexual dysfunction.

What is Methylin?

Methylin is a short-acting, liquid concentration or chewable tablet that contains methylphenidate (generic Ritalin). It is a mild stimulant that treats ADHD, one of the most common childhood brain disorders, and narcolepsy (sudden attacks of uncontrollable sleepiness). In 2012, nearly 4 million people were prescribed methylphenidate.

Methylin Risks in Children

The most common side effects of Methylin in children include headache, stomach ache, decreased appetite, and trouble sleeping. However, Methylin can also have serious side effects in children, including:

  • Slow growth (height and weight)
  • Seizures
  • 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

FDA Warning for Methylin and Priapism (Long-Lasting Erection)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a Drug Safety Communication about the rare but serious risk of priapism from methylphenidate drugs such as Methylin. The FDA is concerned that younger males, especially those who have not yet reached puberty, may not recognize symptoms or they may be too embarrassed to tell an adult. Delayed treatment can cause severe pain, swelling, tissue damage, and permanent impotence (erectile dysfunction).

Methylin is associated with ischemic priapism, which is an erection lasting more than 4 hours that is caused by blood trapped inside the penis, not sexual arousal. There were 15 cases of priapism reported from 1997 through 2012 in association with methylphenidate. The median age of patients reporting priapism was 12.5 years (range 8 to 33 years). Some patients were hospitalized, including two who needed surgery — one who had a shunt placement and another who had a needle aspiration to drain blood from the penis.

Cardiovascular Side Effects of Methylin

Methylin carries a Boxed Warning about the risk of cardiovascular side effects, including sudden death in patients who have pre-existing heart problems or heart defects. Methylin is also associated with stroke, heart attack, increased blood pressure, and faster heart rate in adults.

Cardiovascular risks of Methylin:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart rhythm is fast, uneven, or pounding
  • Cardiac arrhythmia or palpitations
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Sudden cardiac death
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