What is Ritalin? Ritalin is an amphetamine-like central nervous system stimulant commonly used in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children and adults. It is also one of the primary drugs used to treat symptoms chronic fatigue syndrome, symptoms of traumatic brain injury, and drowsiness brought on my narcolepsy.
What is the recommended dosage for Ritalin? For Ritalin tablets, divided doses 2 or 3 times per day should be administered, preferably 30 to 45 minutes before meals. The average dose is 20 to 30mg/day, but some patients may require 40 to 60mg/day. In other people, 10 to 15mg/day will prove efficient.
Updated: Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010, 10:48 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010, 10:05 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - For 23 years, Dr. Ralph Hansen had a solid career in internal medicine and infectious diseases in Los Angeles.
But in 2005, he became a drug addict after popping prescription pills and writing himself bogus prescriptions. Hansen later pleaded no contest to obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and was sentenced to five years probation in California, which also yanked his medical license.
However, the state of New Mexico has given Hansen a second chance. Not only did the state give him a license to practice here last year, it hired him as a staff physician at the Department of Health in September.
Some officials were concerned at the time, but Dr. Alfredo Vigil, secretary of the health department, said Hansen has been a great hire.
We were very impressed with him personally and professionally and felt that we'd be very very fortunate to acquire his services," Vigil said. "He's proven himself to be extremely valuable in our program."
Hansen, who makes $153,000 a year, monitors patients supervised by the Developmental Disabilities Supports Division. He beat out two other candidates for the newly-created position.
After he was caught trying to fill a bogus prescription, Hansen told California investigators that he was hooked on a drug called methylphenidate -- better known by its retail name, Ritalin. It's prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. But Hansen wasn't just taking the maximum three-pill, 60 milligram daily dose. At the end of his nearly two-year habit, he was taking 20 times that amount -- 60 pills a day.
"Sixty pills a day would be huge," said Dr. Jess Benson, director of the New Mexico Poison Center. "People who are abusing amphetamines sometimes taking very, very large doses, doses that would kill us."
News 13 sat down with Hansen recently and found him surprisingly open about his life and his rehabilitation.
"I was fiddling with taking things out of the sample cabinet in the office," Hansen said. "I'm sitting, looking at the candy store."
We asked him why the public or his patients should trust him again.
"I have to earn that trust," he said. "I don't expect it, I will earn it."
The state isn't blindly taking a risk with Hansen. The medical board requires that he be part of its Monitored Treatment Program, where he's randomly tested for drugs and alcohol three-to-four times a month. The board also closely monitors the prescriptions Hansen writes, though he told News 13 he hasn't yet written any.
He also attends support meetings, meets quarterly with the medical board and must serve two more years of probation for his felony conviction. Any violation of those terms and Hansen's medical license will be suspended.
Lynn Hart, executive director of the medical board, said the state believes Hansen is committed to his sobriety and deserves a second chance. Hansen is grateful for it.
"Every day when I wake up I have a choice," he said. "My choice is a recovery action or a relapse action. As long as I take a recovery action, and stay sober that day, I feel very confident I'll go the rest of my life clean and sober."
Hansen's isn't an isolated case. There are 17 physicians and one physicians assistant currently enrolled in the New Mexico's Monitored Treatment Program. But Hansen is the only state-employed physician.