In the October 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, a multi- institutional research team reported finding that treatment with Concerta, a once-daily form of the drug methylphenidate, successfully controlled ADHD symptoms in more than 200 children with ADHD. The study was supported by McNeil Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures Concerta.
“Although ADHD is recognized as a chronic disease, we’ve known very little about the effects of chronic treatment,” says Timothy Wilens of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, lead author of the JAACAP report. “There have been concerns about whether the stimulant medications that are a mainstay of treatment continue to be effective, whether patients build up tolerance, or whether the drugs might have adverse effects on cardiovascular health or growth. This investigation sheds some important light on those questions.”
The entire two-year study was completed by 229 participants. Throughout the study period, measures of treatment effectiveness were consistent, with around 85 percent of parents and teachers reporting treatment results to be good or excellent. However, it was necessary to increase the children’s dose by about 25 percent during the study, with most increases happening during the first year. All the children grew at rates considered normal for their age, and they gained only slightly less weight than would have been expected. In general, there were no clinically significant effects on blood pressure, heart rate, or other cardiac measures.