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Methylphenidate and cell abnormalities.

Methylphenidate is associated with significant increases in cell abnormalities when given to children at therapeutic levels, reported Dr. Randa A. El-Zein of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, and colleagues.

Data from 12 children showed significant increases in several genotoxic end points after 3 months of daily treatment with methylphenidate. The children, whose average age was 9 years, received doses ranging from 20 mg/day to 54 mg/day (Cancer Letters 2005;230:284-91).

Peripheral blood lymphocyte samples were collected from the children at baseline and after 3 months of treatment and evaluated for cell abnormalities.

Compared with baseline values, the children demonstrated a threefold increase in the mean number of chromosomal abnormalities, from 1.7 per 50 cells to 5.1 per 50 cells. They also showed a 4.3-fold increase in the mean number of sister chromatid exchanges (the number of crossover events in a chromosome pair), from 6.1 to 26.3, and a 2.4-fold increase in micronuclei frequencies per 1,000 cells, from 3.6 to 8.5.

Despite the small sample size, the investigators said, their study was "remarkable in the consistency of the increase of every type of cytogenetic end point monitored, in every child receiving the drug." The study opens the door for further larger studies that address these issues in order to establish the safety of methylphenidate, as well as possible replacement drugs, for treating ADHD, they said.
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Title Annotation:care and treatment
Author:Splete, Heidi
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2006
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