1) Members of the Departments of Social Ecology and Psychology at the University of California, Irvine 92717 and Los Angeles 90024 have investigated the effects of methylphenidate on the social behaviors of hyperactive children ages 6 to 11 during unstructured activities in an outdoor summer program. When a low dose of methylphenidate (0.3 mg/kg) was compared to placebo, 15 of 24 children treated showed medication-related decreases in negative behavior. The beneficial effects in younger children were greater than in older children and incremental improvements occurred between low and moderate dose levels (0.6 mg/kg). Neither low nor moderate doses of methylphenidate increased social withdrawal. [1]

2) A psychologist, psychiatrist, and pediatric neurologist at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627 collaborated in a study of the effects of methylphenidate on 19 adolescents with a childhood history of attention deficit disorder. In a double-blind crossover trial of methylphenidate (40 mg/day) compared to placebo for 3 week periods, parents and teachers reported drug-induced improvement in attentiveness and behavioral compliance and lessened overactivity. Subjective ratings of dysphoria (sadness or unhappiness) were lower and heart rates were higher during stimulant therapy at this dose level. [2]

COMMENT: These studies provide further evidence for the beneficial effects of methylphenidate in the treatment of children and adolescents with attention deficit disorders and hyperactivity. Those who favor the use of stimulants may be encouraged by the finding that discuptive behaviors were reduced successfully without affecting overall sociability.