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Springerplus. 2014 Jun 7;3:286. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-3-286. eCollection 2014.

Methylphenidate off-label use and safety.

Author information

1
Regional Centre for Pharmacovigilance and Pharmacoepidemiology, Reims University Hospitals, Avenue du General Koenig, 51092, Reims, France ; Faculty of Medicine, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, EA 3797, F-51095 Reims, France.
2
Regional Centre for Pharmacovigilance and Pharmacoepidemiology, Reims University Hospitals, Avenue du General Koenig, 51092, Reims, France.
3
Faculty of Medicine, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, EA 3797, F-51095 Reims, France ; Department of Research and Innovations, Reims University Hospitals, Avenue du General Koenig, 51092 Reims, France.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Methylphenidate is a piperidine derivative structurally and pharmacologically similar to amphetamine. Methylphenidate is indicated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children aged 6 years of age and over when remedial measures alone prove insufficient. In adults, its indication, except in narcolepsy, is not defined. Methylphenidate received regulatory approval almost sixty years ago with a first registration in Switzerland in October 1954.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the off-label use of methylphenidate and its characteristics from a database of spontaneous reports.

METHODS:

This study analysed data from the French Pharmacovigilance Database of adverse drug reactions spontaneously reported by health professionals from 1985 to December 2011. Off-label use was evaluated according to age.

RESULTS:

In the French Pharmacovigilance database, 181 cases of adverse drug reactions were reported with methylphenidate. Neuropsychiatric effects were the most frequent adverse event reported (41%) followed by cardiovascular and cutaneous side effects (14%). 143 reports concerned children (113 boys, 30 girls, mean age 10.6 ± 3.3 years) of which 46 (30%) were off-label uses. There were 38 adults (20 men, 18 women), of which 32 (88%) off-label use. In adults, methylphenidate was prescribed for depression, and this practice was associated with serious adverse events of drug dependence, overdose and suicide attempt. Overall, off-label use was detected in 43% (78/181) of all cases reported.

CONCLUSION:

More than 40% of the patients with drug reactions received methylphenidate for off-label indications. Additional long-term exposures and independent clinical studies are necessary to establish the long-term profile safety of methylphenidate.

KEYWORDS:

Methylphenidate; Off-label use

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