Will ADHD stimulant medication cause kids to be short?  I was asked this by a neighbor. Hmmmmm. . . .good question.

ADHD affects 1 to 6% of the general population. It can cause pervasive cognitive, academic, emotional and social problems. Patients have a hard time concentrating and finishing a task. Diagnosis requires these traits to occur in 2 settings: work, home, school. There are ADHD checklists that teachers/co-workers and parents can fill out and bring into the  doctor.

I will send patients to a specialist if

  • under age 6
  • other psychiatric or neurologic conditions, or
  • lack of response to treatment.

Stimulants have been found to work as well as stimulants WITH  behavioral therapy. Certainly, a stable home environment with supportive parents and consistent discipline helps, but studies have shown that stimulants are the mainstay of treatment.

Successful treatment is better relationships between patient and parents/teachers, better academic performance and better rule following.

Back to the question of stunted growth. . . the package insert for one stimulant states “Use of stimulants in children has been associated with growth suppression (monitor growth; treatment interruption may be needed).”  Other stimulants mention to “monitor patient growth parameters.”

This all means that a physician should follow the patient for symptom-control and the weight and height charts. Certainly, if the patient can tolerate a drug holiday (weekends or school breaks) this may confirm the need of the medication and give the child a chance to catch up on growth.

Hope this helps.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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