Ritalin is commonly prescribed to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in children. It is a methylamphetamine which is a variant of amphetamines and it has the potential dangers of amphetamines, although somewhat mitigated. AHDH is a common diagnosis in children, mostly boys. ADHD diagnoses are also often misdiagnoses, either of other conditions or of boys who are just ordinarily active and difficult.
Ritalin comes with a long list of warnings as to interactions with other drugs as well as vitamins and with a long list of possible side-effects, some serious. Its most common side-effects are suppression of appetite, insomnia and weight loss. There is also a significant incidence of addiction to Ritalin. (Note: the other commonly prescribed drug for AHDH, Adderall is very similar and has similar risks and warnings.)
While prescribing Ritalin is supported by the medical profession in appropriate circumstances, it clearly has serious risks. The consumer should make sure that the diagnosis is correct, to the extent possible, as AHDH is a relatively vague set of symptoms and behaviors and should get a second opinion if in any doubt. Furthermore, the consumer should consider and discuss with the doctor whether the severity of the AHDH is sufficient to justify the use of this drug.