K K Jain MD (Dr. Jain is a consultant in neurology and has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.)
Originally released July 6, 1999; last updated July 7, 2019; expires July 7, 2022

Historical note and terminology

Methylphenidate was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1956. It is the most widely used psychostimulant for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and accounts for 69% of the market for these drugs.

In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration approved an extended release preparation of methylphenidate hydrochloride for once daily dosing. A refined formulation of methylphenidate, dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride, is available. Some controversy has been generated, mostly by public groups, expressing concern at the excessive use of psychostimulants in attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and even raising the possibility of overdiagnosis of this disorder. No scientific evidence has emerged to support this concern.

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