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March 1985

Stimulants, Urinary Catecholamines, and Indoleamines in Hyperactivity: A Comparison of Methylphenidate and Dextroamphetamine

Author Affiliations

From the Child Psychiatry (Drs Zametkin and Rapoport), Adult Psychiatry (Drs Karoum and Wyatt and Ms Chuang), Clinical Psychobiology (Dr Linnoila), and Biological Psychiatry (Dr Brown) Branches, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md, and St Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, DC (Drs Karoum and Wyatt and Ms Chuang).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985;42(3):251-255. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790260045005

• Children with attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity were given either methylphenidate hydrochloride or dextroamphetamine sulfate to compare the effects on urinary excretion of catecholamines, indoleamines, and phenylethylamine (PEA). Methylphenidate's effects were distinctly different from those of dextroamphetamine. After methylphenidate administration, both norepinephrine (NE) and normetanephrine (NMN) concentrations were significantly elevated, and there was a 22% increase in excretion of 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG). In contrast, after dextroamphetamine treatment, MHPG excretion was significantly reduced and NE and NMN values were unchanged. Excretion of dopamine and metabolites was unchanged by either drug. Urinary PEA excretion was not significantly changed after methylphenidate treatment, but increased 1,600% in response to dextroamphetamine. Methylphenidate treatment did not significantly alter serotonin or 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid excretion. Effects of dextroamphetamine were not tested.

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