Methylphenidate is an active substance, for example, Ritalin and Concerta, two drugs prescribed to thousands of Swedish children and adolescents for the treatment of ADHD.
But if and if, how this drug affects the brain in the long run, no one knows.
In previous studies, statistical effects have attempted to control the effects of this drug. This is the first study to investigate untreated patients, which is, of course, crucial to discovering how drugs affect the developing brain, says one of the authors of the current study, Liesbeth Reneman of the University of Amsterdam (UVA), in the journal Radiology. published study.
To find out more, Liesbeth Reneman and her colleagues recruited 50 boys and 49 young adults who were diagnosed with ADHD but had not yet started taking methylphenidate.
Patients were given either methylphenidate or ineffective placebo for 16 weeks, while their brain was examined with a magnetic camera at the beginning and end of the study period.
Using the DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) technique, the white matter of the brain, that is, the part of the brain that lies inside the cerebral cortex and controls the communication between nerve cells of the cerebral cortex was examined. White matter has been tested for various parameters: nerve fiber density, size and amount of myelin, which is the substance that surrounds nerve cells and which makes signaling more effective.
After four months, there was a clear change in white matter regarding these parameters in the drug boy, but not in the adult adults.
The results show that adhd drugs can have different effects on the structure of the developing brain. However, in adult men with ADHD, as well as in men and boys receiving placebo, these changes did not occur, suggesting that the effect of methylphenidate on the white matter of the brain depends on the age of the patients, says Liesbeth Reneman.
If and if they are, what effects these changes have on long-term patients, the researchers do not yet know, although they find that many patients with ADHD often use these drugs for several years and that the regulation receiving this type of medication should be stricter.
However, what our data already emphasize is that the use of drugs with ADHD among children must be carefully considered until we learn more about the long-term effects. This drug should only be prescribed to children who actually have ADHD and who are severely affected, says Liesbeth Reneman.