Methylphenidate is the drug used to help ADHD patients. ADHD is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and more severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development. 



This pattern of behavior usually becomes evident in the preschool or early elementary years, and the median age of onset of ADHD symptoms is 7 years.



For many individuals, ADHD symptoms improve during adolescence or as age increases, but the disorder can persist into adulthood. In the United States, ADHD is diagnosed in an estimated 8 percent of children ages 4–17 and in 2.9–4.4 percent of adults.



By far the most controversial, and at the same time, most important public health concern in ADHD is the treatment of the disorder, especially among our nation’s youth. The most common treatment is the psychopharmacological agent, methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is a schedule II narcotic which is regulated by the DEA as a controlled substance. It is a psychotropic drug with chemical properties, placing it in the amphetamine family of stimulants. Due to the lack of research of the long-term efficacy (greater than 24 months and in preschool populations) and safety of such treatment at the population level, a public health perspective should be applied to the treatment of ADHD. The lack of such research, coupled with an increase in the length of treatment during the formative growth years; a decrease in the age of initiation into treatment; and the growing prevalence estimates are cause for concern. As treatment options are considered, it is apparent that more reliance is placed on pharmaceutical remedies than on psychological interventions such as behavior modification, although the latter has been shown to have beneficial effects. Apparent emphasis on pharmacological intervention as first-line treatment exists in common practice despite a lack of adequate evidence of long-term academic and functional improvements using this intervention.

In an effort to delineate the issues in the treatment of ADHD individuals as well as gaps in treatment research, the Division of Birth Defects, Child Development, and Disability and Health (proposed)/NCEH hosted a one-day meeting with two researchers experienced in the study of ADHD treatments and the NCEH ADHD work group which is comprised of DDB staff. Prior to the meeting Division of Birth Defects, Child Development, and Disability and Health (proposed) had identified and provided to all participants an outline of the specific issues and questions related to the pharmacological and psychological treatment of ADHD. The questions and discussion that ensued resulted in the following points during this one-day meeting:

Please note that all answers are the summarized sentiments of the participants invited to this meeting and not those of the CDC. Statements herein are not, in any way, to be interpreted as promissory for inclusion in any ADHD research agenda setting nor are they ADHD policy statements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health. This meeting was exploratory in nature and the results are provided here in an attempt to share the most information with the public.

Other Sources:

Pubertal delay in male nonhuman primates (Macaca mulatta ...

Juvenile male rhesus monkeys treated with methylphenidate hydrochloride (MPH) to evaluate genetic and behavioral toxicity were observed after 14 mo of ...

[PDF] State Profile: ADHD Treatment in Washington -

State Profile: ADHD Treatment in Washington ... •Methylphenidate if behavior therapy is insufficient Elementary school ...

Other Sources

Drug Identification Guide

CDC Facts

CDC Addiction Info

CDC Substance Treatment

Samhsa Workplace Programs


Federal Register Codification

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