OBJECTIVE: To characterize dermal reactions and examine methylphenidate (MPH) sensitization in subjects receiving methylphenidate transdermal system (MTS). METHOD: This multicenter, open-label, dose-optimization study utilized MTS doses of 10, 15, 20, and 30 mg in children aged 6 to 12 years, inclusive (N = 305), with a DSM-IV-TR primary diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The study was conducted between January 8, 2007, and August 23, 2007. Subjects wore MTS on their hips for 9 hours per day, alternating sides daily for a total of 7 weeks. Assessments included the Experience of Discomfort scale, Transdermal System Adherence scale, and Dermal Response Scale (DRS; 0 = no irritation, 7 = strong reaction). On-study reevaluations were conducted to characterize DRS scores >/= 4. Epicutaneous allergy patch testing was conducted for DRS scores >/= 6, persistent DRS scores >/= 4, DRS score increase following an assessment of >/= 4, or DRS scores of 4 or 5 following elective discontinuation. RESULTS: Approximately half of subjects experienced definite erythema at the patch site that generally dissipated within 24 hours. Four subjects experienced a DRS score of 4 (1%): erythema in 1 subject resolved on study treatment, 2 cases resolved poststudy and subjects tolerated oral MPH, and 1 subject discontinued treatment. The latter subject was referred for patch testing and was diagnosed with allergic contact sensitization to MPH. CONCLUSIONS: Few severe dermal effects were seen with MTS treatment. Dermal reactions were characterized as contact dermatitis and dissipated rapidly. On patch testing, 1 subject (0.3%) manifested sensitization to MPH. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00434213.