Sustained-release methylphenidate for cognitive impairment in HIV-1-infected drug abusers: a pilot study

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. Winter 1997;9(1):29-36. doi: 10.1176/jnp.9.1.29.


Other investigators have reported clinical improvement from psychostimulant drugs in patients with HIV-1-related cognitive impairment. However, no previous research has substantiated this claim by using a controlled study design. We examined the efficacy of sustained-release methylphenidate (MSR) in a sample of substance abusers with HIV-1-related cognitive impairment. Eight HIV-1-infected methadone patients with impaired neuropsychological test performance participated in an inpatient double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial of MSR 20-40 mg/day. On a composite neuropsychological measure, patients improved significantly from baseline during MSR but not placebo treatment. Nevertheless, MSR performance did not differ significantly from placebo performance. Patients appeared to improve as a function of time, regardless of sequence, with somewhat more improvement during MSR than placebo treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Methylphenidate / administration & dosage
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*


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