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How do ADHD drugs affect growth in children?

ANSWER

Researchers have a few theories about how ADHD drugs might affect a child's size. One idea has to do with another known side effect of ADHD medications -- appetite loss. When kids eat less, they don't get as many nutrients and they don't grow as quickly.

Another theory is that ADHD medicine targets metabolic or growth factors that could affect a child's growth.

Some researchers have suggested that it's not the drugs, but the ADHD itself that affects children's growth. Yet, the research doesn't seem to back up this claim. One study showed that children with ADHD who aren't taking stimulant drugs are actually bigger than kids without ADHD.

From: ADHD Drugs and Growth WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)."

Swanson J. , November 2006, August 2007. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Joshi, S. , February 2002. Pediatrics in Review

Biederman J. ; October 2010. Journal of Pediatrics

Faraone, S. , September 2007. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Ptacek, R. , December 2009. Medical Science Monitor

Pliszka, S. , May 2006. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Faraone, S. , September 2008. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Poulton, A. , August 2005. Archives of Disease in Childhood

Graham J. , January 2011. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

 

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 7, 2019

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)."

Swanson J. , November 2006, August 2007. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Joshi, S. , February 2002. Pediatrics in Review

Biederman J. ; October 2010. Journal of Pediatrics

Faraone, S. , September 2007. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Ptacek, R. , December 2009. Medical Science Monitor

Pliszka, S. , May 2006. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Faraone, S. , September 2008. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Poulton, A. , August 2005. Archives of Disease in Childhood

Graham J. , January 2011. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

 

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 7, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

Do experts agree of the effects of ADHD medications on a child's growth?

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