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April 28, 1999

Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(16):1490-1491. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-16-jbk0428

To the Editor: By promoting the diagnosis of ADHD and the use of methylphenidate as a treatment, the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs' report1 does a disservice. The council report fails to cite any of the dozens of critical publications spanning decades.2-6 It exaggerates the benefits of methylphenidate, claiming that short-term use improves academic performance. Reviews instead conclude that methylphenidate has no positive effect on learning but can impair it.3 While admitting there are no proven long-term benefits, the AMA report supports the long-term use of the drug. The report ignores methylphenidate's many adverse effects.3