Differences in methylphenidate abuse rates among methadone maintenance treatment patients in two clinics.

Research paper by Einat E Peles, Shaul S Schreiber, Shirley S Linzy, Yoav Y Domani, Miriam M Adelson

Indexed on: 22 Jan '15Published on: 22 Jan '15Published in: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment


Methylphenidate, an amphetamine-like prescription medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was suspected as being abused among methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) patients. We tested its presence in the routine urine monitoring of all patients in both Tel Aviv and Las Vegas MMT clinics. Data on demographic and addiction history, ADHD (Wender Utah Rating Scale), cognitive impairment (Mini Mental State Exam), and lifetime DSM-IV-TR psychiatric diagnosis from admission were retrieved, and retention following 6 months. None of the 190 patients in Las Vegas tested positive for methylphenidate, while 14.7% (45/306) did in Tel Aviv. Abusers were less educated (p = 0.01), had higher ADHD scores (p = 0.02), lower cognitive scores (p = 0.05), and a higher benzodiazepine (BDZ) abuse rate (p < 0.0005), with no difference in age, gender, duration in MMT, cannabis, opiates, and cocaine abuse and infectious disease. Of the methylphenidate abuse 42.2% have take-home methadone dose privileges. Not like opiate use, being methylphenidate positive did not relate to 6-months retention. Compared to Tel Aviv, Las Vegas patients were more educated, with lower BDZ, and cocaine abuse. The greater abuse of methylphenidate among ADHD subjects might indicate their using it as self-medication, raising a possible indication for its prescription for that subgroup of MMT patients. The high rate of methylphenidate abuse in Israel needs future study.