Methylphenidate and desipramine in hospitalized children: I. Separate and combined effects on cognitive function

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1993 Mar;32(2):333-42. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199303000-00014.


Objective: The separate and combined effects of methylphenidate and desipramine on cognitive function were investigated in 16 psychiatrically hospitalized children with primary, secondary, and mixed features of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and mood disorder.

Method: A double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover design was used to investigate drug effects on vigilance, short-term memory, visual problem solving, and higher-order learning.

Results: Methylphenidate alone improved vigilance, both drugs positively affected short-term memory and visual problem solving, and combined drugs affected learning of higher-order relationships.

Conclusions: Separate and combined drug effects are related to the specific cognitive domain assessed and have implications for neurotransmitter models of action.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / drug effects*
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Child
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Desipramine / adverse effects
  • Desipramine / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / drug effects*
  • Methylphenidate / adverse effects
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use*
  • Paired-Associate Learning / drug effects
  • Problem Solving / drug effects*
  • Reaction Time / drug effects


  • Methylphenidate
  • Desipramine