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ADHD drugs slows growth of adolescent boys

Sydney: Adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to be shorter and slimmer than their peers, says a new study.

Alison Poulton from the University of Sydney and her co-authors found that treatment for more than three years with stimulants was tied to a slower rate of physical development during puberty.

"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 Poulton, from Sydney Medical School, the Medical Journal of Australia reports.

"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 Poulton.

The researchers recruited 65 boys aged between 12 and 16 years who had ADHD and had been on stimulant medication for more than three years, according to a university statement.

Compared with boys without ADHD, boys between 12 and 14 years old with ADHD had significantly lower weight and body mass index, and those aged between 14 and 16 years with ADHD had significantly lower height and weight.