Methylphenidate and Autism Ranking: Mildly Hazardous Strong positive evidence

Key Features

Methylphenidate or methylphenidate hydrochloride is a central nervous system stimulant medication used to treat conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy.

Methylphenidate is sold under various brand names including Concerta, Delmosart, Ritalin and Xaggitin.

It can be given as

  • Tablets (immediate release , intermediate - or long-acting)
  • Capsules ( intermediate or long-acting)
  • Transdermal patch (long-acting)

The exact amount of each dose needs to be carefully monitored and adjusted by a specialist.  This is especially true for individuals on the autism spectrum because, as Posey et al (2007) noted, 'Optimal dose analyses suggested significant interindividual variability in dose response'.

Di Martino (2004) suggested that 'Administering a single MPH test dose may be useful in identifying children with PDD who may benefit from prolonged therapy.' Individuals on the autism spectrum who respond can then be given further, low doses which can be gradually increased.

For the latest information on specific formulations and recommended dosages please see BNF: Methylphenidate Hydrochloride and BNF for Children: Methylphenidate Hydrochloride.


24 Dec 2018
Last Review
01 Dec 2018
Next Review
01 Dec 2021