Sustained Release and Standard Methylphenidate Effects on Cognitive and Social Behavior in Children With Attention Deficit Disorder


Two studies were conducted to investigate the relative effects of sustained release methylphenidate (Ritalin [SR-20]) and standard methylphenidate (Ritalin, 10 mg, administered twice daily). In the first study, 13 boys with attention deficit disorder participating in a summer treatment program went through a double-blind, within-subject trial of each form of methylphenidate and placebo. Measures of social and cognitive behavior were gathered in classroom and play settings. Although group analyses of the data showed that both drugs were effective and there were few differences between them, standard methylphenidate was superior to SR-20 on several important measures of disruptive behavior. Furthermore, analyses of individual responsivity showed clearly that most boys responded more positively to standard methylphenidate than to SR-20. The second study involved a partially overlapping group of nine boys with attention deficit disorder participating in the same summer treatment program. Also double-blind, within-subject, and placebo controlled, this study tracked the time courses of the two forms of methylphenidate. Both were shown to have similar time courses on the Abbreviated Conners Rating Scale and other measures, but SR-20 had a slower onset than did the standard drug form on a continuous performance task. Effects of SR-20 were still evident eight hours after ingestion.

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