Article

What can actigraphy add to the concept of labschool design in clinical trials?

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Göttingen, von Siebold Strasse 5, 37075, Göttingen, Germany.
Current pharmaceutical design (Impact Factor: 4.41). 01/2010; 16(22):2434-42.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pharmacological intervention with methylphenidate (MPH) is very common and helpful in the treatment of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It ameliorates inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity and improves psychosocial functioning. The core symptoms of ADHD are problematic mainly in demanding structured situations such as in the classroom. It was argued that MPH does not only lead to a decrease of hyperactivity in these situations but may also result in a general dampening of motor activity during non-structured leisure time. Unfortunately, only few clinical trials have investigated this practically important issue and thus it is still a matter of debate. It follows that many parents hesitate to accept psychotropic drugs for their children. To elucidate this problem in the current study, not only overall behavioral ratings (half-day blocks) but also day-long actigraphy was applied during an analogue classroom setting, where structured and non-structured situations alternated over time. Fourty-nine children with ADHD were assessed for treatment effects of once-daily extended-release and twice daily immediate-release methylphenidate (MPH) as well as placebo. Both MPH regimes yielded improved behavioral ratings during morning and afternoon, while actigraphy showed reduced motor activity in structured situations, but not during leisure time. Furthermore, the movement information obtained with actigraphy during structured situations could be differentiated from the one gained with overall behavioral ratings. Thus, while behavioral ratings provide a valid estimate of the overall symptomatology, additional information gathered with actigraphy may help to differentiate the impact of medication on hyperactive movement in different situations during the day. This may reflect a more valid picture of a child's real life and improve the quality of clinical trials. Thus, both methods may be regarded as complementary for the assessment of drug effects in children with ADHD and should be a standard of further laboratory school protocols in clinical trials.

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    ABSTRACT: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood. There is an increasing need to find objective measures and markers of the disorder in order to assess the efficacy of the therapy and to improve follow-up strategies. Actigraphy is an objective method for recording motor activity and sleep parameters using small, computerized, watch-like devices worn on the body, and it has been used in many clinical trials to assess methylphenidate efficacy and adverse effects in ADHD. Our article aim is to systematically review and perform a meta-analysis of the current evidence on the role of actigraphy in both the detection of changes in activity and in sleep patterns in randomized clinical trials that compared methylphenidate against placebo in the treatment of ADHD. A comprehensive literature search of PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Embase, Cochrane Library, CINHAL and PsycINFO databases was carried out to find randomized clinical trials comparing methylphenidate versus placebo in children with ADHD, using actigraphic measures as an outcome. No start date limit was used and the search was updated until June 2013. The primary outcome measures were 'total sleep time' and daytime 'activity mean'. As secondary outcomes, we analyzed 'sleep onset latency', 'sleep efficiency' and 'wake after sleep onset'. Eight articles comprising 393 patients were included in the analysis. Children with ADHD using MPH compared to placebo have a significant difference of a large effect with a diminishing value in the activity mean. For the total sleep time, we found a significant and large effect in the decrease in sleep in MPH group. This study shows that MPH may effectively reduce mean activity in ADHD children, but it may negatively affect total sleep time.
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