Design, setting and participants: Longitudinal study of boys aged 12.00–15.99 years at recruitment in 2005–2011, with stimulant-treated ADHD for at least 3 years, attending three paediatric practices (subjects), compared with longitudinal data from 174 boys from the Nepean longitudinal study (controls).
Main outcome measures: Subjects’ growth parameters before treatment were compared with controls aged 7 or 8 years; growth parameters and longitudinal changes on treatment to ages 12.00–13.99 and 14.00–15.99 years were compared with controls reviewed at 13 and 15 years of age, respectively. The subjects’ pubertal staging and height velocity were related to their treatment history.
Results: Sixty-five subjects were recruited; mean duration of treatment was 6.3 ± 1.9 years. At baseline, their growth parameters were not significantly different from those of the controls after adjusting for age. Compared with the controls, after adjusting for current age and baseline growth parameter z score, subjects aged 12.00–13.99 years had significantly lower weight and body mass index (P < 0.01), and those aged 14.00–15.99 years had significantly lower height and weight (P < 0.05). At 12.00–13.99 years of age, the subjects were comparable to the controls in their pubertal development adjusted for age, but those aged 14.00–15.99 years reported significant delay (mean Tanner stage, 3.6 for subjects v 4.0 for controls; P < 0.05). The dose of medication was inversely correlated with the height velocity from baseline to 14.00–15.99 years of age (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Prolonged treatment (more than 3 years) with stimulant medication was associated with a slower rate of physical development during puberty. To maintain adequate height velocity during puberty, we recommend keeping the dose as low as possible.
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