Methylphenidate sustained release (Ritalin SR): Discontinuation

Supply issue Active

Novartis is stopping production of Ritalin SR 20 mg tablets. The medication will no longer be available globally.

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What is changing?

Novartis is stopping production of Ritalin SR 20 mg tablets. The medication will no longer be available globally.

Suppliers do decide to discontinue products from time to time for many reasons. PHARMAC did not make this decision.

There is no change for the immediate release and long acting formulations of Ritalin. Ritalin IR and Ritalin LA will continue to be available.

Methylphenidate hydrochloride is a stimulant medication. It is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. 

Information for people who take Ritalin SR

Our clinical experts advise that Rubifen SR is the most comparable alternative to Ritalin SR. You need to talk with your prescriber about the best option for you.

We know that changing medicines can be inconvenient. However, this change was beyond our control. We apologise for any stress this causes.

Information for prescribers

You play an important role in supporting patients through changes to their medicines. Thank you for your support on this change.

PHARMAC has received clinical advice from our Mental Health Subcommittee. They advise that:

  • Rubifen SR is the most comparable alternative
  • transitioning from Ritalin SR can be managed in primary care
  • this may be a good time to consider the ongoing therapeutic need of this medicine for patients.

Information for pharmacists

Patients taking Ritalin SR 20 mg tabs (Pharmacode 495298) will need change brands by December 2020. Ritalin SR 20 mg tablets will be delisted from Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 June 2021 to allow time for stock in the supply chain to be dispensed and claimed.

Thank you for your support on this change. Health care professionals like you play an important role in supporting patients through changes to their medicines.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the discontinuation of Ritalin SR, contact Novartis on 0800 354 335.

If you have questions about changing your medicine, talk to your health care professional.

If you have questions about funding criteria, email enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz or phone 0800 660 050.