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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 46 (2004) 1, 7 - 14

New research

Treatment of children with methylphenidate: is there compliance with the instructions for use?

J.G. Hugtenburg, J.E. Griekspoor, E.R. Heerdink, Y.H. Tso

background During the nineties the use of methylphenidate in children has increased considerably. Nevertheless, there is little information about the therapy loyalty in daily practice.
aim To find out to what extent children who have been prescribed methylphenidate actually comply with the instructions for use in their day-to-day use of the drug.
method We studied the use of methylphenidate by 52 children on the basis of pharmacy records. We calculated two parameters for compliance. In addition, parents of children who had been prescribed methylphenidate (n = 46) were required to complete a questionnaire about compliance.
results The percentage of children who showed good compliance with the instruction for use varied from 25 to 47, depending on the parameter that was calculated. Sixty-five per cent of the parents admitted to occasionally failing to give their child the drug. The reasons given were as follows: simply forgetting, lack of cooperation on the part of the child or (one of) the parents, getting up late at the weekend or seeing how the child would get on without medication.
conclusion On the basis of pharmacy records the percentage of children with good compliance was found to be rather low. The low compliance found on the basis of usage is attributed partly to the reduced usage (by 65% of the children) of methylphenidate during weekends and holidays.

keywords children, compliance, drug use, methylphenidate