Long term methylphenidate exposure and growth in children and adolescents with ADHD. A systematic review and meta-analysis

ADDUCE Consortium, Sara Carucci (Lead / Corresponding author), Carla Balia, Antonella Gagliano, Angelico Lampis, Jan K. Buitelaar, Marina Danckaerts, Ralf W. Dittmann, Peter Garas, Chris Hollis, Sarah Inglis, Kerstin Konrad, Hanna Kovshoff, Elizabeth B. Liddle, Suzanne McCarthy, Peter Nagy, Pietro Panei, Roberta Romaniello, Tatiana Usala, Ian C. K. WongTobias Banaschewski, Edmund Sonuga-Barke, David Coghill, Alessandro Zuddas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Methylphenidate (MPH) is an efficacious treatment for ADHD but concerns have been raised about potential adverse effects of extended treatment on growth.

Objectives: To systematically review the literature, up to December 2018, conducting a meta-analysis of association of long-term (> six months) MPH exposure with height, weight and timing of puberty.

Results: Eighteen studies (ADHD n = 4868) were included in the meta-analysis. MPH was associated with consistent statistically significant pre-post difference for both height (SMD = 0.27, 95% CI 0.16-0.38, p < 0.0001) and weight (SMD = 0.33, 95% CI 0.22-0.44, p < 0.0001) Z scores, with prominent impact on weight during the first 12 months and on height within the first 24-30 months. No significant effects of dose, formulation, age and drug-naïve condition as clinical moderators were found. Data on timing of puberty are currently limited.

Conclusions: Long-term treatment with MPH can result in reduction in height and weight. However, effect sizes are small with possible minimal clinical impact. Long-term prospective studies may help to clarify the underlying biological drivers and specific mediators and moderators.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date17 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • methylphenidate
  • stimulants
  • height
  • weight
  • growth
  • puberty

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