Friday, September 5, 2014

ADHD, Stimulant Treatment and Stunted Growth: Just a Tall Tale?

Photo by Woodleywonderworks via Flickr
By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 

Do parents of your patients tell you they worry the stimulant medications being used on their child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may affect his or her growth—or so they have read on the internet? Well, stand tall and show these families the new study by Harstad et al. (doi: 10.1542/ peds.2014-0428).

The authors looked at a population–based birth cohort from 1976 through 1982 and identified 340 ADHD cases on stimulant medication and 680 controls. They followed these children into adulthood and monitored their height velocities longitudinally as well as their final adult heights.

There is good news: researchers noted no association with differences in adult height or changes in growth velocity, reinforcing the idea that concerns about growth are far more fiction than fact—at least as per this study.

Do you agree? Have you seen other data that suggests there is an effect? Share your thoughts on this growing controversy by leaving a comment, submitting an eLetter to our journal or by joining in the discussion on Facebook or Twitter.

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