A Pharmacokinetic Study of Methylphenidate Hydrochloride Multilayer Extended-Release Capsules (Aptensio XR ®) in Preschool-Aged Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Paediatr Drugs. 2020 Oct;22(5):561-570. doi: 10.1007/s40272-020-00409-z.


Objective: This was a single-dose, one-period, multicenter, pharmacokinetic (PK) study to evaluate the PK of methylphenidate (MPH) hydrochloride multilayer extended-release capsules (MPH-MLR) in preschool children aged 4 to < 6 years, previously diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and on a stable dose of MPH.

Methods: Preschool-aged children (N = 10) received a single oral dose of MPH-MLR (10, 15, or 20 mg) sprinkled over applesauce; a dose equivalent to their pre-enrollment daily dose of MPH. Blood samples for the measurement of MPH concentrations were obtained pre-dose and at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 24 h post-dose. No structural model was assumed in the derivation of PK values for analysis. Maximum plasma concentration (Cmax), area under the concentration-time curve (AUC), elimination half-life, clearance (CL), and volume of distribution (Vd) data were compared with a historical group of older children aged 6-11 years (N = 11) and analyzed by bodyweight. Safety (adverse event monitoring, vital signs, electrocardiogram, clinical laboratory testing, physical examination) was assessed.

Results: Mean dose-normalized Cmax and area under the curve to the last measurable observation (AUC0-t) values were similar across dose groups, ranging from 0.67 ng/mL/mg (MPH 15 mg) to 0.81 ng/mL/mg (MPH 10 mg) for Cmax/dose, and from 7.80 h × ng/mL/mg (MPH 20 mg) to 8.92 h × ng/mL/mg (MPH 10 mg) for AUC0-t/dose. PK results were integrated into a previously described pharmacostatistical population PK model. Visual predictive check plots showed greater variability in the 6- to 11-year-old group than the 4- to < 6-year-old group, and CL increased with increasing body weight in a greater than dose-proportional manner. Mean CL, normalized for body weight, was constant for all dose groups, ranging from 4.88 L/h/kg to 5.80 L/h/kg. Median time to Cmax ranged from 2.00 to 3.00 h post-dose, and overall, dose-normalized Cmax concentrations indicated greater systemic exposures of MPH-MLR in preschool children aged 4 to < 6 years compared with children aged 6-11 years. Children aged 4 to < 6 years had a lower Vd than children aged 6-11 years. There were no unexpected safety signals.

Conclusion: The PK of MPH-MLR in preschool children demonstrated the biphasic absorption profile described earlier in older children, and the PK profile in children with ADHD aged 4 to < 6 years was similar to the profile in those aged 6-11 years, apart from a lower Vd and relatively higher systemic MPH levels for children in the preschool group.

Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02470234.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase IV
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / blood*
  • Body Weight
  • Capsules
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / blood
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / adverse effects
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / pharmacokinetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / adverse effects
  • Methylphenidate / blood
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacokinetics*
  • Models, Biological


  • Capsules
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Methylphenidate

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02470234