Ritalin, or Methylphenidate, is a well-known prescription medication that has been used for years to treat people with ADHD, daytime drowsiness and narcolepsy. It is a central nervous system stimulant that increases levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
People with ME/CFS will find that they have neuropsychological symptoms along with the slew of other physical symptoms present in the illness. Some of the neuropsychological symptoms include:
- Concentration difficulties
- Difficulties with short-term memory
- Difficulties with thinking
- Impaired attention
- Slowed processing speed
I know I have all of these problems and I have often wondered if I had ADD because of these symptoms and issues.
Neurostimulants that increase dopamine and norepinephrine activity, such as bupropion, dextroamphetamine and recently immediate-release methylphenidate have been advocated to improve neurocognitive deficits like the ones I listed above.
Ritalin (Immediate-Release Methylphenidate) has been used in a small study on ME/CFS:
Using the positive results of this study and the well-known beneficial effects of the drug on a range of similar cognitive symptoms in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, this perspective addresses CFS and other related disorders and provides a discussion on the potential promising role of methylphenidate in the therapeutic armamentarium of CFS.