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Evidence on methylphenidate in children and adolescents with ADHD is in fact of ‘very low quality’
  1. O J Storebø1,2,3,
  2. M Zwi4,
  3. H B Krogh1,2,
  4. C R Moreira-Maia5,
  5. M Holmskov1,2,
  6. D Gillies6,
  7. C Groth7,
  8. E Simonsen1,8,
  9. C Gluud9,10
  1. 1Psychiatric Research Unit, Region Zealand Psychiatry, Slagelse, Denmark
  2. 2Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department, Region Zealand, Roskilde, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Science, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
  4. 4Whittington Health, Islington CAMHS, London, UK
  5. 5Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
  6. 6Mental Health, Western Sydney Local Health District, Parramatta, Australia
  7. 7Pediatric Department, Herlev University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark
  8. 8Clinical Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  9. 9The Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Department 7812, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. 10The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to O J Storebø, Psychiatric Research Unit, Psychiatric Department, Region Zealand, Fælledvej 6, 4200 Slagelse, Denmark; ojst{at}


Banaschewski and colleagues from the European Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) guideline group make a number of critical comments regarding our systematic review on methylphenidate for children and adolescents with ADHD. In this article, we present our views, showing that our trial selection was not flawed and was undertaken with scientific justification. Similarly, our data collection and interpretation was systematic and correct. We have followed a sound methodology for assessing risk of bias and our conclusions are not misleading. We acknowledge that different researchers might make risk of bias judgments at higher or lower thresholds, but we have been consistent and transparent in applying our pre-defined and per reviewed protocol. Although we made minor errors, we demonstrate that the effects are negligible and not affecting our conclusions. We are happy to correct such errors and to engage in debate on methodological and ethical issues. In terms of clinical implications, we are advocating that clinicians, patients and their relatives should weight carefully risks and benefits of methylphenidate. Clinical experience seems to suggest that there are people who benefit from this medication. Our systematic review does, however, raise questions regarding the overall quality of the methylphenidate trials.

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  • Funding CRM-M reports research support from National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq). CG has received funding from the Lundbeck′s Foundation to finish a Ph.D. study—a longitudinal study of children and adolescents with Tourette′s syndrome.

  • Competing interests CRM-M reports personal fees received from Novartis, Libbs, Health Technology Assessment Institute (IATS), Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, and World Federation of ADHD outside the submitted work.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.