Adherence to Clinical Guidelines for Dose Finding and Monitoring Methylphenidate Use: A Medical Record Audit in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care and Pediatric Settings

Paul T Rosenau*, Andrea Dietrich, Anne-Flore M Matthijssen, Renee Kleine-Deters, Gigi H H van de Loo-Neus, Jan K Buitelaar, Barbara J van den Hoofdakker, Pieter J Hoekstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Guideline adherence is important to ensure optimal and safe use of methylphenidate for children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We investigated adherence to Dutch guidelines regarding dosing and monitoring of methylphenidate in child and adolescent mental health care and pediatric treatment settings.

Methods: Five hundred six medical records of children and adolescents were investigated in 2015 and 2016. We assessed adherence to the following guideline recommendations: (1) at least four visits during the dose-finding phase; (2) monitoring thereafter at least every 6 months; (3) measuring height and weight at least annually; and (4) the use of validated questionnaires to assess treatment response. Pearson's chi-squared test statistics were used to examine differences between settings.

Results: Only a small portion of patients had at least four visits during the dose-finding phase (5.1% in the first 4 weeks to 12.4% in the first 6 weeks). Also, less than half of the patients (48.4%) were seen at least every 6 months. Height was recorded at least annually in 42.0% of patients, weight in 44.9%, and both recorded in a growth chart in 19.5%. Questionnaires to assess treatment response were only used in 2.3% of all visits. When comparing both settings, more patients in the pediatric settings were seen every 6 months, although height and weight were recorded more often in the mental health care setting. 

Conclusion: Overall, guideline adherence was low. Training of clinicians and adding guideline recommendations to electronic medical records templates may improve adherence. Additionally, we should aim to close the gap between guidelines and clinical practice by looking critically at the feasibility of guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-189
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2023


  • Child
  • Humans
  • Adolescent
  • Methylphenidate/therapeutic use
  • Mental Health
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/drug therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants/therapeutic use

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