Effect of Stimulants on Growth of ADHD Children: A Critical Review

Abstract

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorders manifested in almost every part of children’s behavior. The most common treatment of ADHD is medication with stimulants, by specific amphetamine and methylphenidate. It is known that the treatment by stimulants may be accompanied by side effects from among decrease of appetite or changes in development as growth suppression and loss of weight which may present very serious phenomenon. Although many studies have monitored changes in growth and weight during medication, they did not provide definite results that the growth and weight suppression are caused by medication or not. According to many studies the height deficit is approximately amounted to 1 cm/year during the first 3 years of the treatment and can be clinically serious. Contrary to these findings some authors reported that the growth or weight changes can be a natural symptom of ADHD and not just a consequence of medication. The present article reviews key studies monitoring changes in parameters of growth in medicated children with ADHD, compares their results and suggest methodology improvements for further studies.

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Correspondence to Radek Ptacek.

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Ptacek, R., Kuzelova, H. & Paclt, I. Effect of Stimulants on Growth of ADHD Children: A Critical Review. Act Nerv Super 51, 140–146 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03379556

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Key words

  • ADHD
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention disorders
  • Stimulants
  • Anthropometry
  • Growth