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Original Articles

Methylphenidate Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents With Velocardiofacial Syndrome: An Open-Label Study

Doron Gothelf, MD; Reut Gruber, PhD; Gadi Presburger, MA; Inbar Dotan, MD; Ayelet Brand-Gothelf, MD; Merav Burg, MA; Dov Inbar, MD; Tamar Steinberg, MD; Amos Frisch, PhD; Alan Apter, MD; and Abraham Weizman, MD

Published: October 15, 2003

Article Abstract

Background: Velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS) is a common microdeletion syndrome associated with psychiatric morbidity and developmental disabilities. Although attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common psychiatric problem associated with VCFS, there are no reports on methylphenidate treatment in this patient population. Indeed, clinicians have commonly avoided the use of methylphenidate in children with VCFS because of concerns about ineffectiveness or psychotic exacerbation.

Method: Forty subjects of mean ± SD age 11.0 ± 5.0 years with VCFS were assessed for DSM-IV diagnoses using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Aged Children, Present and Lifetime Version, and its extended ADHD module (K-SADS-P-ADHD). Those found to have comorbid ADHD were treated with methylphenidate, 0.3 mg/kg once daily. Treatment efficacy was evaluated after 4 weeks with the K-SADS-P-ADHD, the Conners’ Abbreviated Teacher Questionnaire, and the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test. Side effects were evaluated with a modified version of the Barkley Side Effects Rating Scale.

Results: Of the 18 subjects (45%) diagnosed with ADHD, 12 agreed to participate in the study. Their ADHD symptoms, both behavioral and cognitive, improved significantly with treatment. None of the patients showed clinical worsening or psychotic symptoms. Side effects were usually mild and did not warrant discontinuation of methylphenidate. The most common side effects were anorexia and depressive-like symptoms.

Conclusion: This open-label study indicates that methylphenidate is effective and safe in patients with VCFS. Therefore, its current limited use in this population seems to be unjustified. Larger, controlled clinical and pharmacogenetic studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Volume: 64

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