Long-term efficacy of methylphenidate in enhancing attention regulation, social skills, and academic abilities of childhood cancer survivors.
Methylphenidate (MPH) ameliorates attention problems experienced by some cancer survivors in the short term, but its long-term efficacy is unproven.This study investigates the long-term effectiveness of maintenance doses of MPH in survivors of childhood brain tumors (n = 35) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n = 33) participating in a 12-month MPH trial. Measures of attention (Conners' Continuous Performance Test [CPT], Conners' Rating Scales [CRS]), academic abilities (Wechsler Individual Achievement Test [WIAT]), social skills (Social Skills Rating System [SSRS]), and behavioral problems (Child Behavior Checklist [CBCL]) were administered at premedication baseline and at the end of the MPH trial while on medication. A cancer control group composed of patients who were not administered MPH (brain tumor = 31 and acute lymphoblastic leukemia = 23) was assessed on the same measures 12 [corrected] months apart.For the MPH group, repeated measures analysis of variance revealed significant improvement in performance on a measure of sustained attention (CPT indices, P < .05); parent, teacher, and self-report ratings of attention (CRS indices, P < .05), and parent ratings of social skills or behavioral problems (SSRS and CBCL indices; P < .05). In contrast, the cancer control group only showed improvement on parent ratings of attention (Conners' Parent Rating Scale indices; P < .05) and social skills (SSRS and CBCL indices; P < .05). There was no significant improvement on the academic measure (WIAT) in either group.Attention and behavioral benefits of MPH for childhood cancer survivors are maintained across settings over the course of a year. Although academic gains were not identified, MPH may offer benefits in academic areas not assessed.
Conklin, HM; Reddick, WE; Ashford, J; Ogg, S; Howard, SC; Morris, EB; Brown, R; Bonner, M; Christensen, R; Wu, S; Xiong, X; Khan, RB
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