Special Authority approvals for methylphenidate for treatment of ADHD vs narcolepsy

OIA response

16 July 2020


Dear [name and contact details withheld] 


Thank you for your email of 18 June 2020 asking for information about special authority prescribing of methylphenidate, in particular: 

  • The relative patient proportions when the Special Authority dispensing is indicated for ADHD and when it is indicated for narcolepsy.
  • Age demographics, if available.
  • Whether immediate release is written as once a day or multiple times a day?

PHARMAC’s records show that in any given year, less than 1% of Special Authority applications for methylphenidate are for narcolepsy. The majority of methylphenidate is dispensed for patients with ADHD.

PHARMAC does not have oversight of how the prescriptions are written, however the immediate release form of methylphenidate is expected to be administered several times a day.

Your request has been considered pursuant to the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). 

We trust that this information answers your queries. We are making our information more freely available, so we will now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this. 

Yours sincerely


Rachel Read
Manager, Policy and Government Services