Methylphenidate: Therapeutic use
Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 12:58 pm
Besides attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), methylphenidate is used to treat narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder. Occasionally, MPH has also been used to treat behavioral symptoms that result from traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, depression, and the pain experienced by people with cancer. Combined with pain relievers, MPH tends to produce significant reductions in pain intensity and sedation in cancer patients.
Individuals with narcolepsy suffer sudden onsets of deep sleep. Regular use of MPH on a twice-a-day dosage schedule (or a once-a-day schedule if the newer sustained release forms of MPH are used) allows those individuals to live relatively normal lives.
Individuals with TBI, which usually is caused by a blow to the head, a fall, or a car accident, often exhibit ADHD-like symptoms. MPH is sometimes used to treat those symptoms. Before the development of modern antidepressants, MPH was sometimes used for the treatment of depression. Any benefits seen in TBI treatment appear to be related to an improvement in symptoms of depression.
However, by far the largest group of users of methylphenidate are people who have ADHD. Children with ADHD often exhibit symptoms such as inattention, distractibility, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. These symptoms interfere with the patient’s ability to learn. MPH is used to modify brain chemistry and allows the individuals to better focus on tasks such as homework.
One unpredictable benefit of MPH treatment, according to a 1999 research paper, is that children with ADHD who receive MPH treatment may be less likely to develop substance abuse disorders.