Wednesday, September 23, 2009 Katkan, Community Member, asks

Q: Ritalin use for MS fatigue. Weird side effects? What's your experiences? Help!

Hi Peeps, I was put on Ritalin SR by my Neuro Doc for MS fatigue in April of this year. I've had an increase in the MS "hug" but this could have been part of pneumonia symptoms, which started at about the same time. After hospitalization, the pneumonia is gone but the "hug" is still there, only much less, like a ghost. I've had the "hug" since my Jan, 2008 diagnosis, but off and on and never this bad. Also wondering about belly pain  & bloating. Had trouble with this since my early 20's but it's worse. Anyone had these troubles with Ritalin? Has anything else worked for you? I was on Provigil for a year (on & off,) same troubles, ((but not as extreme), and didn't work as well as Ritalin. Also, Medicade won't pay for Ritalin (they say it's only for ADHD) so it's "out of pocket" which I can't afford well. I will do whatever it takes to stop the fatigue, so leaving it untreated is not an option. Is this a "trade off?" Any thoughts. Any help!  Thanks and God bless us all, Katkan

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Answers (5)
B.E., Community Member
10/10/09 5:06pm

Good afternoon.  I see you are converned about the cost of Ritalin for your MS.  I have been taking 20 mgs of Ritalin @ 6A, 1030A & 3P since they pulled Cylert off the market in 2004(?). 


I take this for my MS related cognitive & physical fatigue with remarkable success.  As to the cost of this, I get my generic ritalin (Methylphenidate) at Wal-Mart.  It costs $10 for a 30 day supply, 180x 10 mg tabs.  My copay is $3 and my insurance covers the last $7 of this med. 

nellie, Community Member
11/ 8/09 12:44pm

I've tried symmatrel and provigil. Both were NO help at all, making me confused and then more fatigue. I know take adderall 35mg a day. I take this in 5mg increments every 2 hours. 10mg 3 times a day and a 5mg helped somewhat. But the 5mg every 2 hours is much, much better! There is no come down and go back up. It keeps me more even throughout the day. It also helps with my MS cognitive problems also.

MoannaLisa, Community Member
6/ 7/11 1:26am

I never used it for MS Fatigue; just adhd; I happen to have both ADHD and MS.  Perhaps they go hand in hand.  I don't think the Ritalin increased the hug physically.  I do think that the Ritalin made you more aware of it as Ritalin tends to clear our fog. 

caseyd, Community Member
8/31/11 12:47pm



I've recently had a similar experience with ritalin.  I started taking 5 mg two months ago; with my body developing a tolerance to it, my neuro recommended 15 mg/day, as needed.  Yesterday, after a few days at 15 mg, my MS "hug" (or spasticity?) felt much more prominent and I debated taking tizanidine to manage the discomfort.  Given that 15 mg of ritalin failed to relieve my fatigue, I opted to discontinue it today.  I woke up this a.m. feeling more energetic and my "hug" back to normal.

MsB, Community Member
9/ 2/11 6:45pm

I started Ritalin about 2 months ago and I love it! No fatigue, no pain. My MS Hugs are not worse, but I take 20mg of Baclofen 2x day. It really lowered the incidence of the hugs. If I still get a hug I take an extra baclofen, rub some muscle cream on, and in 15 minutes I am back to normal.Smile




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By Katkan, Community Member— Last Modified: 02/19/14, First Published: 09/23/09