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AAOS: ADHD Meds Tied to Lower Bone Density in Children

One-quarter of children in study had lower-than-normal readings

human bone

FRIDAY, March 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Children taking medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have lower bone density than their peers, according to research scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from March 1 to 5 in Orlando, Fla.

Jessica Rivera, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and colleagues used data on 5,315 U.S. children ages 8 to 17 who were part of a government health survey. The prescription medications included stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, and nonstimulants, like Strattera.

The team found, overall, lower bone density in the hip and lumbar spine for children on ADHD medications than children not taking them. Overall, about one-quarter of children on the medications had lower-than-normal bone density, Rivera told HealthDay.

"I'm in no way saying that kids shouldn't be on these medications," Rivera said. "This is an early study and it's not something that should change practice."

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