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Should I switch my child's ADHD medications due to growth concerns?

ANSWER

Before you panic and switch your child's medication, know that the slowed growth doesn't seem to be permanent. The biggest impact on growth appears to be in the first year of taking the medications. After that, the impact starts to decline. Eventually, kids on ADHD medications go into a "growth spurt" and catch up to their peers in height and weight. A study that followed children with ADHD for 10 years into adulthood found that the kids who'd been taking stimulants ended up no shorter -- or thinner -- than peers without ADHD once they were adults.

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 May 1, 2017

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 May 1, 2017

NEXT QUESTION:

What should parents do to lessen the effects of ADHD medications on child growth?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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