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Barriers to the use of methylphenidate in paediatric neuro-oncology services

Lookup NU author(s): Alexander Hagan, Professor Simon BaileyORCiD, Dr Sarah Verity


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Background The increasing effectiveness of childhood cancer treatment has resulted in a greater number of children surviving previously incurable central nervous system tumours. This growing population of survivors report significant treatment-related difficulties, including attentional impairment associated with poor long-term intellectual development, academic attainment, and health-related quality of life. Clinical findings show benefit to attention and executive functions following methylphenidate administration. The current project explored barriers associated with use of methylphenidate in paediatric neuro-oncology services in the UK.Method Qualitative data was gathered by semi-structured questionnaire sent to clinical psychologists/neuropsychologists in 19 of the 21 NHS primary treatment oncology centres in the UK in May 2018. Thematic analytic methods were used to explore the data.Results 11 responses were received from primary treatment centres. Knowledge of the evidence base for methylphenidate in paediatric brain injury was limited. This was primarily attributable to the inadequate resource of psychology into many primary treatment centres, limiting provision to service to a restricted proportion of the patient group. Psychologists reported an interest in exploring the utility of methylphenidate in their patient group. Respondents highlighted the need for provision of accessible research summaries and treatment protocols addressing the potential use of psychostimulants, stating that these would support their team to consider expanding the interventions offered.Conclusions The development of shared resources for clinicians will be important in supporting the application of research findings to clinical practice. We anticipate national collaboration will support the advancement of intervention for the growing clinical population of long-term survivors.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hagan AJ, Bailey S, Verity SJ

Publication type: Working Paper

Publication status: Published

Journal: medrxiv

Year: 2022

Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


DOI: 10.1101/2021.12.30.21268574

Notes: Preprint