My daughter has taken ritalin since she was in 2nd grade (she is now 21 yrs old). She was never a big eater, so I can't really address whether it surpresses her appetite--though the doctors told us it would. She has never been even close to overweight. We did notice a HUGE difference between the "real" stuff and the generic. The generic did not "fix" the attention deficit problems she had.
This is how it went for her:
- no meds, straight F's
- Ritalin--straight A's
- generic--calls from each teacher all day long asking why she wasn't on meds
- Concerta--straight D's
- the patch--straight D's, rash
We stick to the Ritalin...even though her doses have gone up dramatically as she ages and grows.