Quillivant XR, also known as methylphenidate hydrochloride, is a liquid form of ADHD medication recently developed by a private company known as NextWave Pharmaceuticals. It is the first of its kind in the world of ADHD drugs and hits the stores this January 2013. So what’s the difference with this new medication? What should you consider about it? Quillivant, like many ADHD medications,  is a stimulant containing methylphenidate. If you can recall, this is also what the drug Ritalin consists of. Methylphenidate can also refer to drugs like Concerta and  Methylin.

Stick structure of Methylphenidate


Like all drugs, Quillvant XR has its fair shareof side effects. These include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Shaking (tremor)
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fast heart beat
  • Increased sweating
  • Fever

Also, like Ritalin, Quillvant XR is likely to be addictive and likely to be abused. This is a bad combination, so make sure to only use the drug if you need it. Talk to your doctor before taking the medication as always.

Typically liquid medications have a faster rate of absorption than pill medication. The issue that has been faced in the past with creating a liquid medication for something like ADHD is making it an extended release medication, so the drug works throughout the entire day for the user. Extended release liquid medication can be obtained by coating very fine drug particles that are typically of the micrometer size. LiquiXR is one drug known to use this method.

In testing, Quillivant XR was shown to have the proven efficacy, or ability to produce a desired result, of methylphenidate for 12 hours after dosing.  This was determined in a “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, multicenter, laboratory classroom study of 45 children with ADHD. There was an open-label dose optimization period (four to six weeks) with an initial 20mg dose of Quillivant XR once daily in the morning. The dose was titrated weekly in 10 or 20mg increments until an optimal dose or maximum dose of 60mg per day was reached. Patients then entered a two-week double-blind, crossover treatment of the individually optimized dose of Quillivant XR or placebo.”  Quillivant XR was shown to significantly improve ADHD symptoms compared to the placebo used according to the SKAMP (Swanson, Kotkin, Agler, M-Flynn and Pelham) rating scale. In a secondary analysis, significant improvement was seen at every point measured from 45 minutes to 12 hours proving its ability as an extended release medication.

So how does a liquid version of Quillivant differ from its pill counterparts? The liquid medication fixes a problem that has long existed in the ADHD medication industry. There are many of us who have some difficulties swallowing pills, so this new Quillivant XR allows for an easy way to take ADHD medication. Aside from just preference among users, generally liquid medications have been seen to have a shorter shelf life. This is not yet certain of Quillivant XR as its shelf life is not yet available, but it is likely to follow the trend.

With all this in mind, there is no clear winner in the choice of pill vs. liquid. It is simply a matter of preference it seems. So the choice is up to you: pill or liquid?


Author: Maggie Martinez


2 responses »

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