Methylphenidate hydrochloride (HCl) is a stimulant medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, in children and adults. Available by prescription only, methylphenidate HCl is sold in various generic forms that your pharmacist may offer in lieu of a pricier brand-name drug containing the same active ingredient.
A common form of generic methylphenidate HCl is the instant-release tablet, which varies in appearance depending on the dose and the manufacturer. The 5 mg tablets manufactured by Watson Laboratories, Inc. and Physicians Total Care, Inc. are round, purple and imprinted with DAN, 5, and 5882. The 10 mg tablets by these generic drug manufacturers are also round, but green in color and imprinted with DAN, 10, and 5883. Both manufacturers also produce generic 20 mg instant release methylphenidate HCl tablets that are orange, round and bear the imprints DAN, 20, 5884.
Tablets of immediate-release methylphenidate HCl, according to Consumer Reports Health, tend to cost approximately one-third to one-half as much as their brand-name counterparts, such as Ritalin, produced by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
Designed for slow absorption, extended release formulations of methylphenidate HCl are also available in generic pill form. Physician's Total Care manufactures a round, white 20 mg extended-release tablet, identifiable by the imprints 562 and MD on the tablet's opposing sides. The cost of this generic drug also averages roughly one-third to one-half of that of its brand-name counterparts, such as Metadate CR by UCB Pharma, Inc. and Ritalin SR.
The generic oral solution for methylphenidate HCl is manufactured by Tris Pharma, Inc., reports DailyMed. This solution is available in two strengths: 5 mg per 5 ml and 10 mg per 5 ml. Distributed in 500 ml bottles, Tris Pharma's generic methylphenidate HCl liquid is grape-flavored and colorless, and comparable to the brand-name oral solution Methylin.
There is no generic version of the brand-name Shire Pharmaceuticals medication Daytrana, a transdermal patch which slowly delivers a controlled-release dose of methylphenidate HCl via the skin. According to a reports by eMedTV, Daytrana's patent expires in 2012, which is the earliest that generic manufacturers will be able to develop their own methylphenidate patches.