Methylphenidate remains one of the most popular choices of medications for individuals with ADHD. However, the combination of dosing difficulties and negative side effects connected with oral administration left room for an alternate form of delivery: the methylphenidate transdermal delivery system, more commonly known as Daytrana. Currently, this medication is prescribed for children with ADHD and not adults, although it is sometimes prescribed off-label for adults with ADHD and related disorders.
Please note that there are four different patch sizes of Daytrana currently available, which, based on the pharmacokinetics of a 6-12 year old child, correspond to four different doses of both the immediate release methylphenidate (note this 2nd-to last column corresponds to a Ritalin immediate release dose that given 3 times/day) and an osmotic-based release form of methylphenidate (Concerta). The patch is typically placed on the relatively inconspicuous location of the child's hip, and should be administered to the same site on a daily basis for consistency (different locations can actually affect the releasing dosage patterns of the patch)
Typical wear is for 9 hours, which is why the 9-hour dosing equivalents are given. However, the theoretical maximum dose per patch (which is the delivery rate times a 24-hour period) is also given. However, anything beyond a 9-hour dose is typically considered "off-label" use for Daytrana. These delivery rates of dosing for the different patch sizes are slower than the other forms of methylphenidate, as we will see in future posts. Nevertheless, I have included them to illustrate the patch size/dosing rate relationship for Daytrana. Note that the patch area and delivery rate follow a linear relationship, which is indicative of a uniform distribution of the drug across the surface of the patch which provides approximately 2.2 mg of methylphenidate content per square centimeter of patch area (over a 24 hour period).
We will be going into much more detail about the modes of action and functional differences of the Daytrana form of the drug methylphenidate (especially the differences between this patch form and the conventional "pill" form) as well as highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of this new form of treatment for ADHD in the next few posts. Topics addressing the difficulties of an oral delivery system (we have hinted at some of the problems of food or drug metabolism and the ensuing consequences due to digestive issues such as celiac disease and ADHD symptoms) will also be discussed in the very-near future. In the meantime, a good overview of Daytrana, as evaluated by the FDA can be found here.