Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

ADHD health centre

ADHD drugs and a child’s growth

Some stimulant drugs prescribed for ADHD symptoms can affect a child's appetite. This can lead to a child eating less than normal.

In turn this could mean they lose weight and a loss of nutrition can even affect a child's normal growth.

Any child prescribed methylphenidate or dexamfetamine will have their weight, height and normal growth progress monitored by their doctor.

ADHD medication and growth research

A long-term UK and European project called ADDUCE is looking at the side-effects of ADHD medication such as methylphenidate.

Some studies suggest that children prescribed methylphenidate may experience a reduction in height gain of around 1 cm/year during the first 1-3 years of treatment.

However, scientists don't know whether these effects have lasting long-term consequences.

Taking methylphenidate is linked to weight loss, but sometimes this may be a change towards a child's optimum weight from being obese before ADHD treatment.

The scientists are also checking whether the growth changes affect when a child starts puberty.

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 07, 2017

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
79x79_causes_of_fatigue_and_how_to_fight_it.jpg
Causes of fatigue & how to fight it
period_questions_answered
Tips to support digestive health
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
woman sleeping
Sleep better tonight
girl_sneezing_into_tissue
Treating your child's cold or fever
fifth disease
Illnesses every parent should know
spoonfull of sugar
Surprising things that harm your liver
woman holding stomach
Understand this common condition
nails
What your nails say about your health