Intended for healthcare professionals


Methylphenidate for ADHD

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 25 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5875
  1. Mina Fazel, NIHR postdoctoral research fellow1, consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry2
  1. 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK
  2. 2Department of Children’s Psychological Medicine, The Children’s Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  1. Mina.fazel{at}

Patients and families urgently need long term outcome data from a variety of research designs

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, highly heritable disorder presenting with persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can continue across the life course and impact on functional outcomes such as peer and family relationships.1 2 Yet the many unknowns associated with the treatment of the disorder overshadow much of the clinical needs of those living with ADHD. Challenges include a lack of gold standard diagnostic measures, a blurred boundary between what is “normal” and “the condition,” and poor academic and clinical consensus as to the best treatment approaches and outcome measurements. We are left with large variations between studies in how symptom profiles are assessed, making it difficult to determine treatment effects in both the short term and the long term.3

In a linked paper, Storebø and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.h5203) present a comprehensive and rigorous Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of the use of methylphenidate in young people with ADHD.4 Its findings are potentially important and at the same time confusing for clinicians and millions of affected …

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