Teenage boys on medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to have slower growth and be short and thin when compared to boys belonging in the same age group, says a new study.
The latest study from University of Sydney found that kids on stimulant medication for ADHD had slower physical growth rate.
People with ADHD or Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder have trouble paying attention, controlling their behavior and are overtly active, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The condition is rapidly increasing in the U.S., with one out of every ten children showing symptoms of ADHD. The condition can't be cured but, can be successfully controlled.
The study included 65 boys between ages 12 and 16 years. All the study participants were diagnosed with ADHD and were on stimulant medication for more than three years. Researchers then compared physical growth of these boys with the growth of boys who weren't diagnosed with ADHD and found that boys between 12 and 14 years of age taking ADHD medication had lower body mass index and weight while boys between 14 and 16 had short height and lower weight.
"Our findings suggest that stimulant medication delays the rate of maturation during puberty, including the timing of the peak growth rate, but not the onset of puberty," said Dr Alison Poulton, from Sydney Medical School, according to a press release.
Study results also showed that boys who were on stimulant medication for ADHD for three years or more until they were 14 years of age gained weight slowly, but had height that was comparable to boys who were diagnosed with ADHD and were not taking any medication. Boys aged between 14 and 16 years had slower growth rate than pubertal boys who weren't taking the medications. Researchers also found that high stimulant dose during teenage years slowed the growth of the kids.
"To maintain an adequate rate of growth during puberty we recommend that boys on ADHD stimulant medication should take the lowest dose that adequately treats their ADHD," said Dr Poulton.
The study is published in the Medical Journal of Australia.