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Stimulants Linked to Stunted Growth in ADHD Children

Height and weight of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder need close attention

MONDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- Stimulants, long the standard treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, may stunt children's growth, according to an analysis of existing research presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in San Francisco.

Jan Drappatz, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reviewed 845 studies and more closely analyzed 89 of these to assess the effect of stimulants on the height and weight of ADHD patients.

The researchers found that data in the 22 most relevant studies showed that stimulants limited growth in children with ADHD, with significant point estimates of -0.47 for weight and -0.31 for height.

"In a meta-analysis of 22 trials of stimulants in children with ADHD, treatment is associated with growth restriction," the authors write. "Children with ADHD receiving stimulants require close growth monitoring. Further evaluations in prospective trials are needed to evaluate the effect of stimulant treatment on final height."

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