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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

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