This is just a thread to let people know some things I've discovered about a particular branded form of Ritalin (methylphenidate) called Methylin ER.
For backstory: about a month ago I saw a psychiatrist and was prescribed Focalin XR (dexmethylphenidate, about 150% the potency of racemic methylphenidate but with practically identical action), as he suspected the source of my other problems (anxiety, erratic sleep/wake pattern, lack of motivation) may be adult ADD. I really liked the Focalin XR at a dosage of 20mg every morning. I really don't think I have an attention disorder - Focalin does to me what I expect stimulants do to the general population. That being said, it really does seem to help me accomplish things and be more active, which in turn helps with a lot of the problems that prompted me to seek professional help through a counselor and eventually this psychiatrist.
However, Focalin XR is a name brand drug that cost me <snip> dollars per bottle (60x10mg, a little over one month's supply depending on use) - after insurance did its part. Being a poor college student without a job currently, when I went back to see him three days ago I asked if he could give me some sort of generic racemic equivalent. He prescribed Methylin ER 20mg tablets which ring up at a much nicer <snip> dollars per month supply. I wanted something I could take once per day, which is why he prescribed extended release methylphenidate instead of IR to be taken twice or three times a day. I tried to inquire about the difference in potency between dexmethylphenidate and racemic methylphenidate to see if he could prescribe a higher dose, but I didn't want to sound like a smartass and so I didn't press the issue when he made it clear that he doesn't know very much about the drugs he's prescribing me.
So now I've done some lengthy research about this particular extended release formulation, as well as trying out the medicine, and I'm very disappointed with it. As I mentioned before, 20mg of methylphenidate is weaker than 20mg of dexmethylphenidate, which is very noticeable to me subjectively. Were that the only issue I had with it, I would be particularly bothered, as it is still effective. However, two other things make this drug very frustrating. With Focalin XR, the effect profile on a time scale is bimodal - meaning that part of the beads in the capsule are instant release, and another part of the beads are released after the first peak begins to subside. For me, the duration of the main helpful effects lasted 8 hours, with another 3-4 hours afterwards of coming down to baseline, making it effective for 8-10 hours. That worked out okay for my needs. This Methylin ER is significantly shorter. Several sources say that Methylin ER has a peak at 3 hours and the total duration of action is between 5 and 8 hours, which fits with my subjective experience. This to me is not exactly what I'd call "extended release". I know there are several other options for extended release methylphenidate that last longer (Concerta is one example), but I'm uncertain of their cost.
My final complaint about Methylin ER directly concerns the formulation, and this is probably what is of most interest to the board. With the Focalin XR, there were days when I would take only 10mg in the morning, and there were also days when I slept late into the afternoon, such that taking an XR would keep me up later than I desired. This left me with several extras. On a couple occasions during the afternoon I would open the capsule and crush the beads in a shotglass to a fine powder, before mixing it with a beverage to ingest. This provided a much shorter duration, which was very useful on those occasions. I did not crush the beads to snort, just because I don't like having a nose full of wax/binders/god-knows-what. Eating crushed Focalin was helpful to me on the occasions that I needed an instant release.
So when I got these Methylin tablets, I was hoping that I might be able to crush them if needed to provide a more-instant release (although these are still significantly shorter in action than Focalin XR). I looked online to find that it's not simply a coating to facilitate extended release, but some sort of polymer binding. Without reading too deeply, my impatient DIY self decided that I'd find out exactly what the deal was. So I cut a pill in half and tried my best to crush one half. In the first place, the pill was extremely plastic-y and simply could not be pulverized well. Once I had gotten it down to semi-coarse granules after about five minutes of smashing and grinding, I added some water. And it immediately formed a viscous gel, just like I had read about the (now-old?) "abuse-proof" Oxycontin (not like the very-new Purdue OCs which harden instead of simply gelling). Goddamnit.
I did further reading and indeed, Methylin ER contains hydroxypropyl methylcellulose 2208.
So finally, to get to the main informative "for the record" point of this thread,
Methylin ER is unsuitable for snorting, or crushing and eating. It contains a polymer matrix formulation similar to Opana and other opiates that prevents it from being directly water soluble. There are methods using acids like citric acid to break down the polymer, but these take a long time and are generally done by people desperate for a rush (opiate addicts). If you're seriously considering spending a significant amount of time trying to circumvent the extended-release formulation on Ritalin, maybe you need to look at your priorities first. Or find a meth dealer .