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Changes in behavior as side effects in methylphenidate treatment: review of the literature

Authors Konrad-Bindl DS, Gresser U, Richartz BM

Received 3 June 2016

Accepted for publication 24 August 2016

Published 12 October 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 2635—2647

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S114185

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Doris Susanne Konrad-Bindl,1 Ursula Gresser,1 Barbara Maria Richartz2

1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Munich, Munich, 2Clinic der Jägerwinkel, Bad Wiessee, Germany

Background: Our review of the scientific literature focused on an analysis of studies describing instances of methylphenidate treatment leading (or not) to behavioral changes in the pediatric, adolescent, and adult populations.
Materials and methods: We conducted a literature search in PubMed, Medline, and Google using the keywords “methylphenidate”, “behavioral changes”, “adverse effects”, and “side effects”. A total of 44 studies were identified as reporting on the effects and adverse effects of methylphenidate administration, and were included in the analysis.
Results: Five studies specifically set out to study, record, and discuss changes in behavior. Eight studies did not set out to study behavioral effects, but record and discuss them. A total of 28 studies recorded behavioral effects, but failed to discuss these further. Three studies did not include behavioral effects.
Conclusion: This review records what data have been published in respect of changes in behavior in association with the use of methylphenidate. While there is some evidence to suggest that methylphenidate causes changes in behavior, the majority of the studies reviewed paid little or no attention to this issue. Based on the available data, it is impossible to determine the point at which such behavioral effects occur. The frequency of occurrence of behavioral effects is also impossible to determine with certainty. Based on the available data, it is not possible to rule out whether behavioral effects may persist or not persist once treatment is discontinued. In conclusion, despite countless publications and extensive administration, especially to children, we have insufficient data to judge the long-term effects and risks of methylphenidate taking.

Keywords: methylphenidate, changes in behavior, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, children, adults, adverse effects

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