January 10, 2002

New Skin Patch Treatment for ADD/ADHD
To be Tested in UCSD Medical Center Clinical Trial

UCSD Medical Center is offering a new clinical trial for children who have, or expect they may have, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or its closely affiliated condition, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which are manifested by symptoms such as an inability to focus, short attention spans and impulsive behavior.

Open to children between the ages of 6 and 12, the trial will test a skin patch that contains methylphenidate, the ingredient found in Ritalin, the most popularly prescribed ADD/ADHD medication. The patch provides a steady level of drug through the skin to the bloodstream and offers an alternative to twice-daily pills. The study is funded by the patch’s maker, Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

David Feifel, M.D., Ph.D., director of UCSD Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Program and its Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Clinic, notes the skin patch may reduce some of Ritalin’s side-effects, such as jitteriness and stomach aches since these side effects are often due to the rapid fluctuations in methylphenidate blood levels associated with taking the short-acting oral form of the drug multiple times a day.

Another potential advantage, says clinical trial coordinator Beata K. Kawamoto, M.S., is that “children would not have to experience the stigma associated with going to the nurses office to take medication.”

ADD/ADHD was first included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders more than 20 years ago. By the 1990s, nearly 6 million American school children had been diagnosed with the disorder. And, during the last decade, physicians began to realize that millions of adults exhibited ADD/ADHD symptoms, as well.

For information on the skin patch clinical trial, call UCSD at (619) 543-6495 or (619) 543-7570.

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Media contact:
Sue Pondrom

UCSD Health Sciences Communications HealthBeat: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/