Methylphenidate in depressed medically ill patients

P. B. Rosenberg, I. Ahmed, S. Hurwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The purpose of the authors' study was to evaluate the efficacy of methylphenidate in the medically ill depressed patients and to examine the factors that appear to affect therapeutic response and side effects. Method: Hospital charts were reviewed for 29 patients who received trials of methylphenidate for treatment of depressive disorders while admitted to a medical/surgical unit. Results: Of the 29 patients, 16 (55%) had moderate or marked improvement, all within 2 days of commencing treatment with the maximal dose. Of the 25 nondelirious patients, 16 (64%) had moderate or marked improvement, and the presence of delirium was significantly associated with decreased response. Therapeutic response was significantly correlated with maximum methylphenidate dose. Side effects were noted in 8 (28%) patients; most side effects were mild (tachycardia or agitation), and all reversed after the medication was discontinued. Conclusions: Methylphenidate provides a safe and effective alternative to tricyclic antidepressants in medically ill populations but appears to be less effective in the presence of delirium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-267
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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