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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 46 (2004) 1, 31 - 37

Short report

Children and methylphenidate: drug use and experience in The Netherlands

J.G. Hugtenburg, A. Faber, E. Schirm, I. de Boer, H. Tobi, E.R. Heerdink, Y.H. Tso

background Between 1995 and 1999 in The Netherlands there was a 4.9 - fold increase in the use of stimulants by children aged 0-19 years; usage increased from 1.5/1000 in 1995 to 7.4/1000 in 1999. However, the use of stimulants by young people in The Netherlands is still considerably lower than in the United States.
aim The aim of the present study was to obtain insight into the efficacy and side effects of (a) treating children with methylphenidate; (b) stopping the drug; (c) switching to other drugs and; (d) using additional psychoactive drugs in daily practice.
method An inquiry was conducted among 49 parents.
results According to 63% of the parents (n=30) methylphenidate was effective or very effective. Eleven (30%) out of 30 children stopped using methylphenidate. Eight children stopped because the drug had side effects or was ineffective. Nine children switched to other psychoactive drugs. Fiftyseven per cent of all the children were found to be using additional psychoactive drugs. conclusion The efficacy of methylphenidate in daily practice seems to be similar to the efficacy ascertained in placebo-controlled trials. A large number of side effects have been reported.

 

keywords child, drug therapy, methylphenidate, pharmacoepidemiology