PET-designed treatment lowers risk of drug abuse

June 3, 2006

PET imaging of the brain demonstrates that a slow-release formula of a drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is as effective as a rapid-release version and less likely to be abused.

PET imaging of the brain demonstrates that a slow-release formula of a drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is as effective as a rapid-release version and less likely to be abused.

Dr. Thomas J. Spencer, assistant director of the pediatric psychopharmacology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues used carbon-11 altropane PET to investigate a new once-a-day capsule developed to slowly release methylphenidate.

The drug boosts dopamine activity in the frontal cortex and improves the ability to pay attention. But it may also lead to patient abuse.

The researchers evaluated 12 healthy adults randomly assigned to receive immediate-release or osmotic-release methylphenidate. PET showed that the 90-mg osmotic-release capsule produced the same effects as 40 mg of immediate-release methylphenidate. They reported their results in the March American Journal of Psychiatry.