MEDICATION used to help children with ADHD has proven to be safe to use long-term by an international study involving hundreds of children from Dundee and across Europe.
Methylphenidate is the most frequently prescribed ADHD medication, but was rejected by the World Health Organization (WHO) for inclusion in their Essential Medicines List.
This was due to concerns regarding the quality and limitations of the available evidence for both benefit and harm.
However, the project has revealed that methylphenidate does not increase the risk of growth impairments, psychiatric or neurological adverse events in children.
The two-year study, which was run by the University of Dundee, included 1410 children from 27 child mental health centres in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Hungary.
This included more than 270 from Dundee, who were enrolled in the Child and Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Ninewells Hospital.
Dr Sarah Inglis, from the University’s School of Medicine, who was the project manager for the ADDUCE study, said:
“We observed the characteristics of a large number of children with ADHD across Europe, including 274 from Dundee, taking methylphenidate over a period of two years.
“We compared these characteristics with children with ADHD not taking methylphenidate, and with children without ADHD.
“The growth rate of children taking methylphenidate over two years was not different to that of children who were not. There was no adverse effect on mental health.
“WHO has previously rejected calls for methylphenidate to be included in their Essential Medicines List.
“The results of the ADDUCE study provide supportive evidence for inclusion of methylphenidate on this list.
“[This will] increase the availability of the medicine and support more children around the world with ADHD.”