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Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2015 Oct 28;9:50. doi: 10.1186/s13034-015-0082-3. eCollection 2015.

The effects of long-term medication on growth in children and adolescents with ADHD: an observational study of a large cohort of real-life patients.

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Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Aarhus University Hospital, Skovagervej 2, entr. 81, 8240 Risskov, Denmark.
Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé, build. 1260, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.



Children and adolescents with ADHD treated with central stimulants (CS) often have growth deficits, but the implications of such treatment for final height and stature remain unclear.


Weight and height were assessed multiple times in 410 children and adolescents during long-term treatment with CS, which lasted between 0.9 and 16.1 years. Weight and height measures were converted to z-scores based on age- and sex-adjusted population tables.


CS treatment was associated with (1) a relative reduction in body weight and a temporary halt in growth, (2) a weight and height lag after 72 months compared with relative baseline values. No relation to early start of medication (<6 years), gender, comorbid ODD/CD or emotional disorders was observed.


Treatment with central stimulants for ADHD impacts growth in children and adolescents, and growth should be continuously monitored in patients on chronic treatment with these medications.


ADHD; Central stimulants; Growth; Long-term effects

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