Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Canada.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the relation between therapeutic response to methylphenidate (MPH) and its associated short term cardiovascular side effects (Systolic Blood Pressure-SBP, Diastolic Blood Pressure-DBP and Heart Rate-HR changes) in children with ADHD, based on the hypothesis that these parameters share common underlying mechanisms.
Method: A double-blind placebo-controlled crossover clinical trial of children 6 to 12 years old diagnosed with ADHD was done. The children were given one week of 0.5 mg/kg MPH and one week of placebo (divided into two equal doses, given twice every day). On the morning of the third day of each week, Blood Pressure (BP) and HR were recorded immediately before (at time 0) and after (at time 10 and 45 minutes ) administration of MPH. Children were grouped into 4 categories according to their therapeutic response (large, moderate, mild or no response) to MPH. A mixed model analysis of variance was performed to determine whether response groups were different with regard to cardiovascular side effects.
Results: All variables were comparable among the four groups 10 min after treatment with MPH and with placebo. Small but significant (p 0.001) increases were seen in SBP (3.65 mm of Hg) and DBP (3.99 mm of Hg) 45 minutes after administration of MPH. A small but significant decrease in HR (3.3 beats per minute) was observed 45 min after administration of placebo. No significant differences in SBP, DBP and HR were found between response groups.
Conclusions: MPH causes a small but significant change in BP at 45 minutes after administration. No changes in HR were observed with MPH at 45 minutes. Responders to MPH treatment do not differ from non-responders in occurrence of BP and HR changes, at least within 45 minutes after administration and with the MPH dosage used in the study.
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