The effect of methylphenidate on anxiety and depression symptoms in patients with Asperger syndrome and comorbid attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
The objective of this study was to assess the response of anxiety and depression symptoms to methylphenidate (MPH) treatment in patients with Asperger syndrome (AS) combined with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A group of 12 patients with AS/ADHD, aged 8–18 years, received 12 weeks of MPH treatment. The severities of ADHD, anxiety, and depression symptoms were assessed by means of the ADHD Rating Scale (ADHD-RS), Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders, and the Children’s Depression Inventory. The severity of ADHD and depression symptoms was reduced significantly (P<0.0003 and P=0.046, respectively). No improvement in total anxiety symptoms was found, but a significant reduction was obtained in the school-related subscale of the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (P=0.0054). A positive correlation was found between the reductions in ADHD-RS and Children’s Depression Inventory scores (r=0.59, P=0.039). MPH treatment may be safe, tolerable, and effective in alleviating depression and school-related anxiety symptoms in patients with AS and ADHD.