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A Pilot Study of Methylphenidate Preference Assessment in Children Diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

By Emily MacDonald Fredericks and Scott H. Kollins


Objective: The use of methylphenidate (MPH) in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is widely accepted; however, there is increased concern regarding its abuse potential. Few studies have examined the reinforcing effects of drugs in individuals receiving them for clinical purposes. This study attempts to assess MPH preference in children with ADHD using a choice procedure in order to explore the relationship among drug preference, clinical efficacy, and abuse potential. Methods: Participants were 5 children (10–14 years of age) receiving MPH for the treatment of ADHD. Reinforcing effects were assessed using a double-blind choice procedure, with six sampling sessions and six choice sessions. Participant-rated effects were measured using self-report questionnaires. Clinical effects were measured using direct observations and behavior ratings. Results: Differences between the number of MPH, Placebo, and Neither choices across participants were significant (X 2 = 9.6; p < 0.01). Three of five participants reliably chose MPH more often than placebo. MPH produced idiosyncratic patterns of participant-rated effects but failed to produce significant clinical effects. Conclusions: These findings add to the literature on the reinforcing effects of MPH and are the first reported in a clinical sample of children. Further research exploring the role of clinical efficacy in MPH preference is warranted

Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1089/cap.2005.15.729
OAI identifier: oai:deepblue.lib.umich.edu:2027.42/63388
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