ADHD Medication and Treatment Reviews


Daytrana is a transdermal ADHD patch that transfers stimulant medication through clean, dry skin.
Generic Name: methylphenidate

What is Daytrana?

Daytrana (Generic Name: methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant, primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6-12, and adolescents up to age 17. It contains the same active ingredient as medications like Ritalin and Concerta, but Daytrana is a transdermal patch that transfers medication through clean, dry skin. According to the FDA, Daytrana is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence.

Daytrana may improve focus, and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior, hallmark symptoms for some patients with the condition. It has not been studied in children under the age of 6.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends treatment with behavioral therapy before medication for children under the age of 6. For children ages 6 to 11, the AAP says “The primary care clinician should prescribe US Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for ADHD and/or evidence-based parent- and/or teacher-administered behavior therapy as treatment for ADHD, preferably both.” Likewise, the National Institute of Mental Health finds the most successful treatment plans use a combination of ADHD medication and behavior therapies.

How Do You Use Daytrana?

Before starting or refilling a Daytrana prescription, read the medication guide included with the patch, as it may be updated with new information.

This guide should not replace a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your or your child’s medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.

What is the Typical Dosage for Daytrana?

As with all medications, follow your Daytrana prescription instructions exactly. Apply the Daytrana patch to the hip two hours before you need the medication to take effect. Alternate the hip where you apply the patch daily to avoid irritation. If your child cannot apply the patch, or remember to remove it, you should do it for them.

For updated information about dosages, interactions, and precautions, see the Daytrana drug monograph on WebMD.

Do not apply lotion, medicine, or cream to skin before applying a Daytrana patch, as it can keep the patch from sticking or affect how the medication is absorbed. Do not use additional adhesives to apply or hold the patch to the skin; discard damaged patches that won’t adhere on their own or that fall off. Avoid applying excess heat — from blow dryers, heating pads, or electric blankets — to the area where the patch is applied; this can cause too much medication to be released too quickly.

The Daytrana patch should be worn for a maximum of 9 hours a day. If you forget to put the patch on in the morning, you can apply it later in the day, and remove it at the usual time. If you forget to remove a patch, or accidentally apply two patches, remove them both and contact your doctor immediately. Flush used patches down the toilet.

During treatment, your doctor may periodically ask you to stop taking Daytrana so that he or she can monitor ADHD symptoms; check vital statistics including blood, heart, and blood pressure; or evaluate height and weight. If any problems are found, your doctor may recommend discontinuing treatment.

Some patients report developing a tolerance to Daytrana after long-term usage. If you notice that your dosage is no longer controlling your symptoms, talk to your doctor to plan a course of action.

What Side Effects Are Associated with Daytrana?

The most common side effects of Daytrana are as follows: skin irritation where the patch is applied, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, weight loss, tics, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and dizziness.

Other serious side effects include: seizures, priapism, allergic skin rash including swelling or blisters, and eyesight changes. Permanent loss of skin color may occur where the patch is applied, the FDA added a new warning to the drug label to describe this skin condition, which is known as chemical leukoderma. There has been some concern that stimulants may cause a slowing of growth in children and adolescents, however research findings are mixed. Some studies show no impact on growth at all,1 while others find what is considered “negligible” slowing of growth.2 If you find evidence of suppressed growth in your child, talk to your doctor about what steps might help.

Taking Daytrana may impair your teenager’s ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems have experienced sudden death, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure while taking Daytrana. Stimulants can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Daytrana.

Also disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar illness, tics, or depression. The drug manufacturer, Noven Pharmaceuticals, recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder, tics, and Tourette’s syndrome prior to stimulant administration. Daytrana may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, bipolar illness, or Tourette’s syndrome. It can cause psychotic or manic symptoms in children and teenagers. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences new or worsening mental health symptoms including hallucinations or sudden suspicions.

Discuss circulation problems with your doctor before taking Daytrana, which has been known to cause numbness, coolness, or pain in fingers or toes, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Report to your doctor any new blood-flow problems, pain, skin color changes, or sensitivities to temperature while taking Daytrana.

Stimulants like Daytrana have a high potential for abuse and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD. It is a “Schedule II Stimulant,” a designation that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses for drugs with a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule II drugs include Dexedrine, Ritalin, and cocaine. People with a history of drug abuse should use caution when trying this medication. Taking the medication exactly as prescribed can reduce potential for abuse.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

What Precautions Are Associated with Daytrana?

Store Daytrana in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Daytrana prescription with anyone, even another person with ADHD. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

You should not take Daytrana if you:

  • are extremely anxious, tense, or agitated
  • have glaucoma
  • have tics, Tourette’s syndrome, or a family history of either condition
  • have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor within 14 days
  • are allergic to Daytrana or any ingredients or adhesives in the patch

You should use caution when taking Daytrana if you have the following conditions: heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure, mental problems including psychosis, mania, bipolar disorder or depression, seizures, circulation problems, skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, or vitiligo, or an allergy to adhesives.

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Daytrana with your doctor. It is not known if Daytrana can create risk of fetal harm. It is not known if Daytrana is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

What Interactions Associated with Daytrana?

Before taking Daytrana, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Daytrana can have a dangerous, possibly fatal, interaction with certain antidepressants including MAOIs.

Tell your doctor if you are taking seizure medications, blood thinners, blood pressure medication, or any medication containing a decongestant. These medications can have a dangerous interaction.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Daytrana before having any surgery or laboratory tests. The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.

Daytrana and Other ADHD Medications: More Information


1Pediatrics (2014.) “ADHD, Stimulant Treatment, and Growth: A Longitudinal Study.”

2Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (2019.) “Trajectories of Growth Associated With Long-Term Stimulant Medication in the Multimodal Treatment Study of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.”