Methylphenidate HCl is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. The mode of therapeutic action in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not known. Methylphenidate is thought to block the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine into the presynaptic neuron and increase the release of these monoamines into the extraneuronal space. Methylphenidate is a racemic mixture comprised of the d- and l-isomers. The d-isomer is more pharmacologically active than the l-isomer.
Methylphenidate is readily absorbed. Following oral administration of CONCERTA®, plasma methylphenidate concentrations increase rapidly reaching an initial maximum at about 1 hour, followed by gradual ascending concentrations over the next 5 to 9 hours after which a gradual decrease begins. Mean times to reach peak plasma concentrations across all doses of CONCERTA® occurred between 6 to 10 hours.
CONCERTA® qd minimizes the fluctuations between peak and trough concentrations associated with immediate-release methylphenidate tid (see Figure 1). The relative bioavailability of CONCERTA® qd and methylphenidate tid in adults is comparable.
Figure 1. Mean methylphenidate plasma concentrations in 36 adults, following a single dose of CONCERTA® 18 mg qd and immediate-release methylphenidate 5 mg tid administered every 4 hours.
The mean pharmacokinetic parameters in 36 adults following the administration of CONCERTA® 18 mg qd and methylphenidate 5 mg tid are summarized in Table 1.
TABLE 1 Mean ± SD Pharmacokinetic Parameters
(18 mg qd)
(5 mg tid)
|Cmax (ng/mL) ||3.7 ± 1.0 ||4.2 ± 1.0 |
|Tmax (h) ||6.8 ± 1.8 ||6.5 ± 1.8 |
|AUCinf (ng•h/mL) ||41.8 ± 13.9 ||38.0 ± 11.0 |
|t½ (h) ||3.5 ± 0.4 ||3.0 ± 0.5 |
No differences in the pharmacokinetics of CONCERTA® were noted following single and repeated once-daily dosing indicating no significant drug accumulation. The AUC and t1/2 following repeated once-daily dosing are similar to those following the first dose of CONCERTA® 18 mg.
Following administration of CONCERTA® in single doses of 18, 36, and 54 mg/day to adults, Cmax and AUC (0-inf) of d-methylphenidate were proportional to dose, whereas l-methylphenidate Cmax and AUC (0-inf) increased disproportionately with respect to dose. Following administration of CONCERTA®, plasma concentrations of the l-isomer were approximately 1/40th the plasma concentrations of the d-isomer.
In a multiple-dose study in adolescent ADHD patients aged 13 to 16 administered their prescribed dose (18 to 72 mg/day) of CONCERTA®, mean Cmax and AUCTAU of d- and total methylphenidate increased proportionally with respect to dose.
Plasma methylphenidate concentrations in adults and adolescents decline biexponentially following oral administration. The half-life of methylphenidate in adults and adolescents following oral administration of CONCERTA® was approximately 3.5 h.
Metabolism and Excretion
In humans, methylphenidate is metabolized primarily by de-esterification to α-phenyl-piperidine acetic acid (PPA), which has little or no pharmacologic activity. In adults the metabolism of CONCERTA® qd as evaluated by metabolism to PPA is similar to that of methylphenidate tid. The metabolism of single and repeated once-daily doses of CONCERTA® is similar.
After oral dosing of radiolabeled methylphenidate in humans, about 90% of the radioactivity was recovered in urine. The main urinary metabolite was PPA, accounting for approximately 80% of the dose.
In patients, there were no differences in either the pharmacokinetics or the pharmacodynamic performance of CONCERTA® when administered after a high fat breakfast. There is no evidence of dose dumping in the presence or absence of food.
In healthy adults, the mean dose-adjusted AUC (0-inf) values for CONCERTA® were 36.7 ng•h/mL in men and 37.1 ng•h/mL in women, with no differences noted between the two groups.
In adults receiving CONCERTA®, dose-adjusted AUC(0-inf) was consistent across ethnic groups; however, the sample size may have been insufficient to detect ethnic variations in pharmacokinetics.
Increase in age resulted in increased apparent oral clearance (CL/F) (58% increase in adolescents compared to children). Some of these differences could be explained by body weight differences among these populations. This suggests that subjects with higher body weight may have lower exposures of total methylphenidate at similar doses.
The pharmacokinetics of CONCERTA® has not been studied in children less than 6 years of age.
There is no experience with the use of CONCERTA® in patients with renal insufficiency. After oral administration of radiolabeled methylphenidate in humans, methylphenidate was extensively metabolized and approximately 80% of the radioactivity was excreted in the urine in the form of PPA. Since renal clearance is not an important route of methylphenidate clearance, renal insufficiency is expected to have little effect on the pharmacokinetics of CONCERTA®.
There is no experience with the use of CONCERTA® in patients with hepatic insufficiency.
CONCERTA was demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 4 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in children and adolescents who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th edition (DSM-IV) criteria for ADHD.
Three double blind, active- and placebo-controlled studies were conducted in 416 children aged 6 to 12. The controlled studies compared CONCERTA® given qd (18, 36, or 54 mg), methylphenidate given tid over 12 hours (15, 30, or 45 mg total daily dose), and placebo in two single-center, 3-week crossover studies (Studies 1 and 2) and in a multicenter, 4-week, parallel-group comparison (Study 3). The primary comparison of interest in all three trials was CONCERTA® versus placebo.
Symptoms of ADHD were evaluated by community schoolteachers using the Inattention / Overactivity with Aggression (IOWA) Conners scale. Statistically significant reduction in the Inattention / Overactivity subscale versus placebo was shown consistently across all three controlled studies for CONCERTA®. The scores for CONCERTA® and placebo for the three studies are presented in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Mean Community School Teacher IOWA Conners Inattention/Overactivity Scores with CONCERTA® once-daily (18, 36, or 54 mg) and placebo. Studies 1 and 2 involved a 3-way crossover of 1 week per treatment arm. Study 3 involved 4 weeks of parallel group treatments with a Last Observation Carried Forward analysis at week 4. Error bars represent the mean plus standard error of the mean.
In Studies 1 and 2, symptoms of ADHD were evaluated by laboratory schoolteachers using the SKAMP* laboratory school rating scale. The combined results from these two studies demonstrated significant improvements in attention and behavior in patients treated with CONCERTA® versus placebo that were maintained through 12 hours after dosing. Figure 3 presents the laboratory schoolteacher SKAMP ratings for CONCERTA® and placebo.
*Swanson, Kotkin, Agler, M-Fynn and Pelham
Figure 3. Laboratory School Teacher SKAMP Ratings Mean (SEM) of Combined Attention (Studies 1 and 2)
In a randomized, double blind, multi-center, placebo-controlled trial (Study 4) involving 177 patients, CONCERTA® was demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of ADHD in adolescents aged 13 to 18 at doses up to 72 mg/day (1.4 mg/kg/day). Of 220 patients who entered an open 4-week titration phase, 177 were titrated to an individualized dose (maximum of 72 mg/day) based on meeting specific improvement criteria on the ADHD Rating Scale and the Global Assessment of Effectiveness with acceptable tolerability. Patients who met these criteria were then randomized to receive either their individualized dose of CONCERTA® (18 – 72 mg/day, n=87) or placebo (n=90) during a two-week double-blind phase. At the end of this phase, mean scores for the investigator rating on the ADHD Rating Scale demonstrated that CONCERTA® was significantly superior to placebo.