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Foods to Avoid While Taking Ritalin

author image Erica Roth
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.
Foods to Avoid While Taking Ritalin
Foods high in vitamin C can interact with Ritalin. Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Ritalin is the name brand of methylphenidate, a medication used to control the impulsivity and hyperactivity associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and to manage the symptoms of narcolepsy. Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant drug. You will need to avoid consuming certain foods and drinks while taking Ritalin.


Indulging in alcoholic beverages, in any amount, while you take Ritalin can be a potentially dangerous situation and should be avoided. Alcohol can decrease the effectiveness of the medicine, or lead to unknown yet perhaps harmful interactions, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Vitamin C

Foods that contain vitamin C, including citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes, can interact with Ritalin, making the drug less effective. You do not need to avoid these foods entirely while taking the medication. Time your consumption of vitamin-C rich foods so that you are not eating them an hour before or after taking Ritalin.

Soft Drinks

Carbonated soft drinks, including sodas, should be avoided for a short period of time before and after you take your daily dose of Ritalin. Avoid drinking soft drinks for an hour before your medication and and hour afterward to prevent a decreased absorption of the active ingredients.


Ritalin is available in two formulas, the immediate-release tablet and an extended-release version. Be sure you know which type of the medication you have been prescribed. The extended-release form of the drug can be taken with food, but the regular formula must be taken between 30 and 45 minutes before eating anything.

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