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Daytrana (Methylphenidate Transdermal) - Warnings and Precautions



Daytrana should be given cautiously to patients with a history of drug dependence or alcoholism. Chronic abusive use can lead to marked tolerance and psychological dependence with varying degrees of abnormal behavior. Frank psychotic episodes can occur, especially with parenteral abuse. Careful supervision is required during withdrawal from abusive use, since severe depression may occur. Withdrawal following chronic therapeutic use may unmask symptoms of the underlying disorder that may require follow-up.



Serious Cardiovascular Events

Sudden Death and Pre-existing Structural Cardiac Abnormalities or Other Serious Heart Problems

Children and Adolescents

Sudden death has been reported in association with CNS stimulant treatment at usual doses in children and adolescents with structural cardiac abnormalities or other serious heart problems. Although some serious heart problems alone carry an increased risk of sudden death, stimulant products generally should not be used in children or adolescents with known serious structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, or other serious cardiac problems that may place them at increased vulnerability to the sympathomimetic effects of a stimulant drug.


Sudden deaths, stroke, and myocardial infarction have been reported in adults taking stimulant drugs at usual doses for ADHD. Although the role of stimulants in these adult cases is also unknown, adults have a greater likelihood than children of having serious structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, coronary artery disease, or other serious cardiac problems. Adults with such abnormalities should also generally not be treated with stimulant drugs.

Hypertension and Other Cardiovascular Conditions

Stimulant medications cause a modest increase in average blood pressure (about 2-4 mmHg) and average heart rate (about 3-6 bpm), and individuals may have larger increases. While the mean changes alone would not be expected to have short-term consequences, all patients should be monitored for larger changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Caution is indicated in treating patients whose underlying medical conditions might be compromised by increases in blood pressure or heart rate, e.g., those with pre-existing hypertension, heart failure, recent myocardial infarction, or ventricular arrhythmia [ see Adverse Reactions].

Assessing Cardiovascular Status in Patients Being Treated With Stimulant Medications

Children, adolescents, or adults who are being considered for treatment with stimulant medications should have a careful history (including assessment for a family history of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia) and physical exam to assess for the presence of cardiac disease, and should receive further cardiac evaluation if findings suggest such disease (e.g., electrocardiogram and echocardiogram). Patients who develop symptoms such as exertional chest pain, unexplained syncope, or other symptoms suggestive of cardiac disease during stimulant treatment should undergo a prompt cardiac evaluation.

Psychiatric Adverse Events

Pre-Existing Psychosis

Administration of stimulants may exacerbate symptoms of behavior disturbance and thought disorder in patients with a pre-existing psychotic disorder.

Bipolar Illness

Particular care should be taken in using stimulants to treat ADHD in patients with comorbid bipolar disorder because of concern for possible induction of a mixed/manic episode in such patients. Prior to initiating treatment with a stimulant, patients with comorbid depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Emergence of New Psychotic or Manic Symptoms

Treatment emergent psychotic or manic symptoms, e.g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania in children and adolescents without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania can be caused by stimulants at usual doses. If such symptoms occur, consideration should be given to a possible causal role of the stimulant, and discontinuation of treatment may be appropriate. In a pooled analysis of multiple short term, placebo-controlled studies, such symptoms occurred in about 0.1% (4 patients with events out of 3,482 exposed to methylphenidate or amphetamine for several weeks at usual doses) of stimulant-treated patients compared to none in placebo-treated patients.


Aggressive behavior or hostility is often observed in children and adolescents with ADHD, and has been reported in clinical trials and the postmarketing experience of some medications indicated for the treatment of ADHD. Although there is no systematic evidence that stimulants cause aggressive behavior or hostility, patients beginning treatment for ADHD should be monitored for the appearance of or worsening of aggressive behavior or hostility.


There is some clinical evidence that stimulants may lower the convulsive threshold in patients with prior history of seizures, in patients with prior EEG abnormalities in absence of seizures, and, very rarely, in patients without a history of seizures and no prior EEG evidence of seizures. In the presence of seizures, the drug should be discontinued.


Prolonged and painful erections, sometimes requiring surgical intervention, have been reported with methylphenidate products in both pediatric and adult patients. Priapism was not reported with drug initiation but developed after some time on the drug, often subsequent to an increase in dose. Priapism has also appeared during a period of drug withdrawal (drug holidays or during discontinuation). Patients who develop abnormally sustained or frequent and painful erections should seek immediate medical attention.

Peripheral Vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon

Stimulants, including Daytrana, used to treat ADHD are associated with peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Signs and symptoms are usually intermittent and mild; however, very rare sequelae include digital ulceration and/or soft tissue breakdown. Effects of peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon, were observed in post-marketing reports at different times and at therapeutic doses in all age groups throughout the course of treatment. Signs and symptoms generally improve after reduction in dose or discontinuation of drug. Careful observation for digital changes is necessary during treatment with ADHD stimulants. Further clinical evaluation (e.g., rheumatology referral) may be appropriate for certain patients.

Long-Term Suppression of Growth

Careful follow-up of weight and height in children ages 7 to 10 years who were randomized to either methylphenidate or non-medication treatment groups over 14 months, as well as in naturalistic subgroups of newly methylphenidate-treated and non-medication treated children over 36 months (to the ages of 10 to 13 years), suggests that consistently medicated children (i.e., treatment for 7 days per week throughout the year) have a temporary slowing in growth rate (on average, a total of about 2 cm less growth in height and 2.7 kg less growth in weight over 3 years), without evidence of growth rebound during this period of development. Published data are inadequate to determine whether chronic use of amphetamines may cause a similar suppression of growth, however, it is anticipated that they likely have this effect as well. Therefore, growth should be monitored during treatment with stimulants, and patients who are not growing or gaining height or weight as expected may need to have their treatment interrupted.

Visual Disturbance

Difficulties with accommodation and blurring of vision have been reported with stimulant treatment.

Contact Sensitization

In an open-label study of 305 subjects conducted to characterize dermal reactions in children with ADHD treated with Daytrana using a 9-hour wear time, one subject (0.3%) was confirmed by patch testing to be sensitized to methylphenidate (allergic contact dermatitis). This subject experienced erythema and edema at Daytrana application sites with concurrent urticarial lesions on the abdomen and legs resulting in treatment discontinuation. This subject was not transitioned to oral methylphenidate.

Use of Daytrana may lead to contact sensitization. Daytrana should be discontinued if contact sensitization is suspected. Erythema is commonly seen with use of Daytrana and is not by itself an indication of sensitization. However, contact sensitization should be suspected if erythema is accompanied by evidence of a more intense local reaction (edema, papules, vesicles) that does not significantly improve within 48 hours or spreads beyond the patch site. Confirmation of a diagnosis of contact sensitization (allergic contact dermatitis) may require further diagnostic testing.

Patients sensitized from use of Daytrana, as evidenced by development of an allergic contact dermatitis, may develop systemic sensitization or other systemic reactions if methylphenidate-containing products are taken via other routes, e.g., orally. Manifestations of systemic sensitization may include a flare-up of previous dermatitis or of prior positive patch-test sites, or generalized skin eruptions in previously unaffected skin. Other systemic reactions may include headache, fever, malaise, arthralgia, diarrhea, or vomiting. No cases of systemic sensitization have been observed in clinical trials of Daytrana.

Patients who develop contact sensitization to Daytrana and require oral treatment with methylphenidate should be initiated on oral medication under close medical supervision. It is possible that some patients sensitized to methylphenidate by exposure to Daytrana may not be able to take methylphenidate in any form.

Patients Using External Heat

Patients should be advised to avoid exposing the Daytrana application site to direct external heat sources, such as hair dryers, heating pads, electric blankets, heated water beds, etc., while wearing the patch. When heat is applied to Daytrana after patch application, both the rate and extent of absorption are significantly increased. The temperature-dependent increase in methylphenidate absorption can be greater than 2-fold [ see Clinical Pharmacology]. This increased absorption can be clinically significant and can result in overdose of methylphenidate [ see Overdosage].

Hematologic Monitoring

Periodic CBC, differential, and platelet counts are advised during prolonged therapy.



Pregnancy Category C - Animal reproduction studies with transdermal methylphenidate have not been performed. In a study in which oral methylphenidate was given to pregnant rabbits during the period of organogenesis at doses up to 200 mg/kg/day no teratogenic effects were seen, although an increase in the incidence of a variation, dilation of the lateral ventricles, was seen at 200 mg/kg/day; this dose also produced maternal toxicity. A previously conducted study in rabbits showed teratogenic effects of methylphenidate at an oral dose of 200 mg/kg/day. In a study in which oral methylphenidate was given to pregnant rats during the period of organogenesis at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day, no teratogenic effects were seen although a slight delay in fetal skeletal ossification was seen at doses of 60 mg/kg/day and above; these doses caused some maternal toxicity.

In a study in which oral methylphenidate was given to rats throughout pregnancy and lactation at doses up to 60 mg/kg/day, offspring weights and survival were decreased at 40 mg/kg/day and above; these doses caused some maternal toxicity.

Adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women have not been conducted. Daytrana should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Labor and Delivery

The effect of Daytrana on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether methylphenidate is excreted in human milk. Daytrana should be administered to a nursing woman only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child.

Pediatric Use

Daytrana should not be used in children under six years of age, since safety and efficacy in this age group have not been established. Long-term effects of methylphenidate in children have not been well established.

Studies with transdermal methylphenidate have not been performed in juvenile animals. In a study conducted in young rats, methylphenidate was administered orally at doses of up to 100 mg/kg/day for 9 weeks, starting early in the postnatal period (Postnatal Day 7) and continuing through sexual maturity (Postnatal Week 10). When these animals were tested as adults (Postnatal Weeks 13-14), decreased spontaneous locomotor activity was observed in males and females previously treated with 50 mg/kg/day or greater, and a deficit in the acquisition of a specific learning task was seen in females exposed to the highest dose. The no effect level for juvenile neurobehavioral development in rats was 5 mg/kg/day. The clinical significance of the long-term behavioral effects observed in rats is unknown.

Geriatric Use

Daytrana has not been studied in patients greater than 65 years of age.

Page last updated: 2013-12-19

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