A new study has revealed that popular ADHD drugs Ritalin and Concerta may be changing the structure of the brain itself. The active chemical Methylphenidate appears to have a direct affect on the amount of white matter present in the brain.
Senior study author Dr. Liesbeth Reneman explained, “Previous studies all have tried to statistically control for the effects of ADHD medications,” But we are the first to study medication-naïve patients in this context, which, of course, is crucial if you want to know how ADHD medications affect the developing brain.”
The study used participants who were diagnosed with ADHD but had never taken a drug with Methylphenidate. The participants were then seperated into a two group one would take Methylphenidate every day for 16 weeks. The other group would take a placebo. Both groups underwent an MRI to ascertain base white matter levels.
Dr.Reneman found “The results show that ADHD medications can have different effects on the development of brain structure in children versus adults,” also finding that ” In adult men with ADHD, and both boys and adult men receiving placebo, changes in FA measures were not present, suggesting that the effects of methylphenidate on brain white matter are modulated by age.”
The continued long term use of these medications is still unclear but will definitely be the source for additional studies