According to a small study at the University of Texas, a medication commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be safely taken in powder form without compromising any of its beneficial effects.
According to researchers, Metadate, a once-daily treatment for ADHD, may be taken by sprinkling the contents of the capsule onto food. And because the drug provides a day's worth of medication, children taking Metadate can avoid the social stigma of leaving the classroom to take medication.
The findings are good news for the millions of people who have trouble swallowing pills or capsules, particularly children. An estimated 4% to 12% of school-age children experience ADHD, a disorder marked by impulsiveness, difficulty with academic and social functioning and short attention span. ADHD is commonly treated with the stimulant drug methylphenidate (Ritalin), the active ingredient in Metadate.
The researchers report their findings in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. "A controlled-delivery form of methylphenidate...that can be administered once daily and sprinkled on food could help improve compliance in those children who have difficulty swallowing solid dosage forms," Dr. Roy D. Simmons from Rochester, New York-based Celltech Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures Metadate, and colleagues conclude.
In the study, 26 healthy adults without ADHD fasted for 10 hours and then swallowed a Metadate CD capsule or took the medication, containing 20 milligrams of the drug, sprinkled over 1 tablespoon of applesauce. After 6 days of taking no medication, the study volunteers switched treatments.
The researchers took blood samples before volunteers took the medication and again every half-hour to 4 hours over a 24-hour period to measure blood concentrations of the drug. Blood levels were similar for the two treatments and there were no significant differences in the rate at which the drug was absorbed or eliminated over the course of one day. Swallowing the capsule or sprinkling the contents over food was found to be equally safe and well tolerated. Side effects, such as headaches, were mild, the report indicates.
However, more research is needed into the effects of the powder form of the drug in children, and larger studies are needed to confirm the safety of taking the drug in powder form, the authors add.