Main Article Content
Background: Methylphenidate is the first-choice drug to the treatment of patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, there was an increase in the indiscriminate use of this drug.
Objectives We aim to describe the mechanisms of action as well as the side effects of this drug and indiscriminate use of this medicine in Brazil and worldwide.
Methods: We performed a bibliographic review on electronic scientific site as PubMed, Scielo and Google Scholar.
Results: Forty-five articles were found and, among them, 28 were selected. Full article available in the international and national literature were selected based on key words: methylphenidate; action mechanism; adverse effects and ADHD. Articles published before 2003 were excluded.
Discussion/Conclusions: Methylphenidate acts directly on three distinct regions of the central nervous system by blocking the reuptake of the hormone dopamine and noradrenaline. Nervousness, nasopharyngitis, insomnia, nausea are the most common adverse effects caused using methylphenidate. The less frequent reactions are headache, alteration in blood pressure and metabolic, hematological, immune changes. Further studies are necessary for an in-depth assessment of the mechanism of action and side effects of this drug on ADHD.