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Positive Effects of Methylphenidate on Social Communication and Self-Regulation in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders and Hyperactivity

Abstract

This report examined the effect of methylphenidate on social communication and self-regulation in children with pervasive developmental disorders and hyperactivity in a secondary analysis of RUPP Autism Network data. Participants were 33 children (29 boys) between the ages of 5 and 13 years who participated in a four-week crossover trial of placebo and increasing doses of methylphenidate given in random order each for one week. Observational measures of certain aspects of children’s social communication, self-regulation, and affective behavior were obtained each week. A significant positive effect of methylphenidate was seen on children’s use of joint attention initiations, response to bids for joint attention, self-regulation, and regulated affective state. The results go beyond the recent literature and suggest that methylphenidate may have positive effects on social behaviors in children with PDD and hyperactivity.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Contracts N01 MH-70070 (principal investigator: Dr. McCracken), N01 MH-70009 (principal investigator: Dr. Scahill), N01 MH-70001 (principal investigator: Dr. McDougle), and N01 MH 80011 (principal investigator: Dr. Aman); by National Institutes of Health Division of Research Resources General Clinical Research Center Grants M01 RR-00750 (to Indiana University), M01 RR-00052 (to Johns Hopkins University), M01 RR-00034 (to Ohio University), and M01 RR-06022 (to Yale University); by National Institute of Mental Health Grants MH-01805 (to Dr. McCracken) and MH-68627 (to Dr. Posey); by funding from the Korczak Foundation (to Dr. Scahill); and by NIMH Postdoctoral Training Grant 5 T32 MH18372 to Dr. Jahromi. The RUPP Autism Network comprises the following investigators, listed by role and study site. Ohio State University: principal investigator Michael G. Aman, Ph.D., co-investigators L. Eugene Arnold, M.Ed., M.D., Yaser Ramadan, M.D., Andrea N. Witwer, M.A., Ronald Lindsay, M.D., and Patricia Nash, M.D.; University of California at Los Angeles: principal investigator James T. McCracken, M.D., co-investigators Bhavik Shah, M.D., James McGough, M.D., Pegeen Cronin, Ph.D., and Lisa Lee, B.A.; Indiana University: principal investigator Christopher J. McDougle, M.D., co-investigators David J. Posey, M.D., Naomi Swiezy, Ph.D., and Arlene Kohn, B.A.; Yale University: principal investigator Lawrence Scahill, M.S.N., Ph.D., co-investigators Andres Martin, M.D., Kathleen Koenig, M.S.N., Fred Volkmar, M.D., Deirdre H. Carroll, M.S.N., and Allison Lancor, B.S.; Kennedy Krieger Institute: principal investigator Elaine Tierney, M.D., co-investigators Jaswinder Ghuman, M.D., Nilda Gonzalez, M.D., and Marco Grados, M.D.; National Institute of Mental Health: principal investigator Benedetto Vitiello, M.D., co-investigator Louise Ritz, M.B.A. The Network also includes statisticians Shirley Z. Chuang, M.S., and Mark Davies, M.P.H., of Columbia University, and data managers James Robinson, M.Ed., and Don McMahon, M.S., of the Nathan Kline Institute.

Affiliations Dr. Aman has affiliations with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Forest Research Institute, Johnson & Johnson, Neuropharm, and Supernus. Dr. Arnold has affiliations with Shire, Neuropharm, Lilly, Novartis, Organon, Janssen, and McNeil. Dr. Ghuman has affiliations with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Dr McCracken has affiliations with Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, McNeil Pediatrics, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Pfizer, Shire, UCB, Wyeth, and Novartis. Dr. McDougle has affiliations with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Eli Lilly and Co., Forest Research Institute, Janssen Pharmaceutica, and McNeil Pediatrics. Dr. Scahill has affiliations with Janssen Pharmceutica, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Neuropharm and Supernus. Dr. Posey has affiliations with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Forest, and Shire. The remaining authors have no affiliations.

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Correspondence to Laudan B. Jahromi.

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Jahromi, L.B., Kasari, C.L., McCracken, J.T. et al. Positive Effects of Methylphenidate on Social Communication and Self-Regulation in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders and Hyperactivity. J Autism Dev Disord 39, 395–404 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-008-0636-9

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Keywords

  • Methylphenidate
  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • Hyperactivity
  • Autism spectrum disorder