Navigation Links
Childhood cancer survivors show sustained benefit from common ADHD medication
Date:9/13/2010

A medicine widely used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also provides long-term relief from the attention and behavior changes that affect many childhood cancer survivors, according to a multicenter trial led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators.

Researchers reported that one year after starting the drug methylphenidate, young cancer survivors scored better on tests of sustained attention and other measures of attention, social skills and behavior than did a similar group of unmedicated survivors. While taking methylphenidate, scores on the attention and behavior measures of many survivors returned to normal ranges. Methylphenidate is marketed under several brand names, including Ritalin and Concerta. The study is the first to document that some survivors enjoy long-term benefits from its use.

Coupled with results from earlier medication side effects studies, the study's authors said these findings offer hope and reassurance for survivors, their families and others looking for ways to ease such late effects of cancer and its treatment. The work appears in the September 13 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"We found that methylphenidate improves both attention and social skills and that these benefits are maintained," said Heather Conklin, Ph.D., assistant member of the St. Jude Department of Psychology and the study's first author. "Although the drug did not lead to a significant gain in measured academic skills, many parents reported their children's grades improved because the children did a better job of managing tasks like planning ahead for projects or remembering to complete and turn in assignments."

The results come as the growing ranks of childhood cancer survivors have the pediatric cancer community searching for better ways to ease or even prevent treatment late effects.

Conklin said the findings also underscore the need for non-pharmacological approaches. Earlier research from Conklin and her colleagues found only about half of young cancer survivors benefit from methylphenidate. Also, Conklin said many parents are reluctant to use the drug and some survivors may not be good candidates due to medical or other reasons. "We are moving forward with research into new strategies to benefit more survivors and their families," she said.

This study focused on young survivors of brain tumors and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Their cancer treatment included surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy targeting the central nervous system. Those treatments and other factors, including a patient's age at treatment, are linked to risk of later attention, memory and processing speed problems that make learning difficult. Such troubles can reverberate through life and affect a survivor's ability to hold a job and live independently.

Although methylphenidate has been used successfully for decades to treat ADHD in healthy children, Conklin said that was no guarantee the drug would benefit children whose symptoms followed a cancer diagnosis. Excluded from this study were children who had ADHD before their cancer was found.

After a year of methylphenidate, young cancer survivors scored better on tests of sustained attention. Parent, teacher and survivor ratings of attention all improved. Parental ratings of social skills and behavior problems also documented that survivors had benefited. The group included 35 brain tumor and 33 ALL survivors.

In contrast, only parental ratings of attention and social skills improved during the same period for a similar group of survivors not taking medication. The group included 31 brain tumor and 23 ALL survivors.

Academic skills measured by completion of math, reading and spelling problems were not significantly better in either group. Conklin said that might reflect the study design, which did not assess changes in executive aspects of school performance, including organization and planning.


'/>"/>

Contact: Summer Freeman
summer.freeman@stjude.org
901-595-3061
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. NASBE Supports First Lady Michelle Obama in Fight Against Childhood Obesity
2. Childhood obesity: Its not the amount of TV, its the number of junk food commercials
3. Planting Seeds to Fight Childhood Obesity
4. PolicyLink CEO Angela Glover Blackwell Released the Following Statement on First Lady Michelle Obamas Childhood Obesity Initiative
5. AMA Joins First Lady in Fight Against Childhood Obesity
6. Soothing infants with food focus of childhood obesity study
7. In Support of the Lets Move Campaign to Fight Childhood Obesity, Verizon Thinkfinity Providing Free Educational Resources on Nutrition and Exercise
8. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation Names Celtics Captain Paul Pierce National Athlete Spokesperson in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity
9. New therapeutic target for most common solid cancer in childhood?
10. High Rates of Childhood Leukemia Seen in Iraq Province
11. International study confirms doubling of childhood leukemia rates in southern Iraq
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance ... care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client has a cognitive ... the family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl ... this week that explains one of the most popular and least understood books in ... like cryptic and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history ... The Brink” is the creation of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and ... WWII veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. Following his career as ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults ... tested to meet the highest standard. , These products are also: Gluten ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Information about the ... to develop to enable prevention of a major side effect of chemotherapy in ... in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed on-label as a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... Israel and NEW YORK , Sept. 27, ... with mobile health and big data solutions, today announced that its MyDario ... Please check your local TV listings for when The Dr. Oz Show ... ... season this month. ...
(Date:9/23/2017)... Pa. , Sept. 22, 2017 Janssen ... a complete response letter from the U.S. Food and ... seeking approval of sirukumab for the treatment of moderately ... letter indicates additional clinical data are needed to further ... moderately to severely active RA. ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Inc., a venture-backed medical device company developing a non-invasive, robotically assisted, platform therapy that uses ... today:   ... Jim ... Tom Tefft ... Veteran medical device executive Josh Stopek , PhD, who has led R&D and business ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: