A drug commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy has been associated with psychotic symptoms.
In a scientific article recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and PsychologyMethylphenidate, a drug commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, has been associated with psychotic symptoms.
Psychotic disorders affect the functioning of the brain in a major way by modifying thoughts, beliefs or perceptions. A person with a psychotic disorder may, for example, hear voices or feel that other people are manipulating their thoughts. The main forms of psychotic disorders are schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder, brief psychotic episode and psychotic disorder secondary to the consumption of a substance.
1.1% to 2.5% of patients with ADHD
Methylphenidate is a stimulant that increases the activity of the central nervous system, helps fight fatigue, improves attention and maintains alertness. Its medical use for ADHD and narcolepsy began in 1960 and has continued to grow since, reaching a worldwide consumption of 2.4 billion doses in 2013. Clinical studies have of course confirmed safety and efficacy of the drug, and proven that its long-term use reduces structural abnormalities and brain function usually associated with ADHD syndrome.
However, the new research indicates that possible adverse symptoms, ie the risk of psychotic symptoms, may affect approximately 1.1% to 2.5% of ADHD patients treated with methylphenidate. "Patients and caregivers should be aware of this in order to ensure appropriate treatment if they occur during treatment with methylphenidate," the authors conclude.
5.3% of children and adolescents in the world suffer from ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that associates three symptoms, the intensity of which varies by person:
1. attention deficit (inability to maintain attention, complete a task, frequent forgetfulness, distractibility, or refusal or avoidance of tasks requiring increased attention).
2. Motor hyperactivity (ceaseless agitation, inability to stay in place when conditions demand it).
3. Impulsiveness (the difficulty to wait, the need to act, the tendency to interrupt the activities of others).
According to the HAS, "ADHD should be managed when these symptoms have a lasting and significant effect on the social functioning, schooling and quality of life of the child or adolescent". Currently, about 5.3% of children and adolescents in the world suffer from ADHD.