The first long-term, large-scale study designed to determine the safety and effectiveness of treating preschoolers who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with methylphenidate (Ritalin) has found that overall, low doses of this medication are effective and safe. However, the study found that children this age are more sensitive than older children to the medication’s side effects and therefore should be closely monitored. The 70-week, six-site study was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and was described in several articles in the November 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry .
Methylphenidate is the most commonly prescribed medication to treat children diagnosed with ADHD. But its use for children younger than 6 years has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. And until the Preschool ADHD Treatment Study, or PATS, very few studies — and no large-scale ones — have been conducted to collect reliable, consistent data to help guide practitioners treating preschoolers with ADHD.
CONTACT: Colleen Labbe
NIMH Press Office
Message posted by: Rashmi Nemade
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