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Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Mar 1;57(5):456-63.

A large, double-blind, randomized clinical trial of methylphenidate in the treatment of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Psychiatry Service Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



The few controlled studies of methylphenidate (MPH) in adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have reported equivocal results. A previous, pilot study by our group suggested that these results were due to inadequate dosing.


We conducted a randomized, 6-week, placebo-controlled, parallel study of MPH in 146 adult patients with DSM-IV ADHD using standardized instruments for diagnosis, separate assessments of ADHD, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and a robust average oral daily dose of 1.1 mg/kg/day.


We found a marked therapeutic response for the MPH treatment of ADHD symptoms that exceeded the placebo response (76% vs. 19%). Treatment was safe and well tolerated. Response to MPH was independent of socioeconomic status, gender, and lifetime history of psychiatric comorbidity.


These results confirm that robust doses of MPH are effective in the treatment of adult ADHD.

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