Methylphenidate in hyperactive children: Differential effects of dose on academic, learning, and social behavior

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Methylphenidate (Ritalin) has been shown to have differential effects on hyperactive children's behavior as a function of dose level. In the present investigation, a triple-blind, placebo-control, within-subject (crossover) experimental design was employed in which 12 hyperactive boys between 6 and 10 years received three different dosages of methylphenidate (5, 10, and 15 mg) in a randomly assigned sequence. Dosage effects were assessed on clinic(PAL-Paired Associates Learning test) and school-(percent on task, teacher ratings, work completion rates, and accuracy) related behaviors. For 10 of the children, classified as responders to medication by the PAL using the criteria of Swanson, Kinsbourne, and colleagues, a series of ANCOVAs with repeated measures showed significant dosage effects on teacher ratings (p {less-than with dot}01), percent on task (p {less-than with dot}01), academic accuracy (p {less-than with dot}05), and assignment completion rates (p {less-than with dot}05). PAL performance was also significantly enhanced (p {less-than with dot}01) after optimal dose levels were considered. Subsequent trend analysis showed a significant positive linear relationship between dose and each of the dependent variables. A comparison of fixed-dose and miligram-per-kilogram plots showed that children's performance across the different dosages were clearly individualistic and task-specific, even when similar body weights were compared. The implications of using clinic-based testing to determine optimal medication responsivity were discussed. © 1985 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology