Methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin / Concerta XL / Equasym XL)

Methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin / Concerta XL / Equasym XL) is a stimulant drug related to amphetamine that is approved in the United States for the treatment of attention deficit disorders in children.

Methylphenidate is sometimes used to alleviate symptoms of HIV-associated brain impairment and dementia: studies have shown that it can improve the slowing of thought and emotional deficits seen in some patients with HIV infection.1 2 A randomised, controlled study has also shown that the drug can improve fatigue in HIV-positive patients, with subsequent improvements in depression, psychological distress and quality of life.3 It can also relieve depression and anxiety in HIV-positive patients as an alternative to licensed antidepressant drugs.4

Side-effects include nervousness and insomnia.


  1. Hinkin CH et al. Methylphenidate improves HIV-1 associated cognitive slowing. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 13: 248-254, 2001
  2. Angrist B et al. Central nervous system stimulants as symptomatic treatments for AIDS-related neuropsychiatric impairment. J Clin Psychopharmacol 12: 268-272, 1992
  3. Breitbart W et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of psychostimulants for the treatment of fatigue in ambulatory patients with human immunodeficiency virus disease. Arch Intern Med 161: 411-420, 2001
  4. Fernandez F et al. Effects of methylphenidate in HIV-related depression: a comparative trial with desipramine. Int J Psychiatry Med 25: 53-67, 1995

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.