View Full Version : New Study Shows Ritalin Stunts Kids' Growth


Bluerose
03-13-08, 04:14 AM
New Study Shows Ritalin Stunts Kids' Growth.

"According to the Washington Post, 10% percent of 10-year-old American boys are on Ritalin or similar drugs. From my experience as a teacher I can tell you that there are some kids for whom the drugs are useful--I've seen it firsthand. On the other hand, for most boys it is useless and counterproductive. The problem is not our boys--the problem is that our schools refuse to adapt and accommodate boys' educational needs and learning styles."

http://glennsacks.com/blog/?p=940

thewfh
03-23-08, 09:54 PM
I also read that Ritalin caused cancer in rats.... I'm going to dig deeper into that. It showed (if I remember right) liver tumors and chromosomal damage/changes. Wow.... Right now, they're considering doing deeper studies but don't see a huge concern in Ritalin. Just FYI

adhdogwalker
03-26-08, 01:18 AM
My parents never put me on ADHD meds when I was a child even though I was very obviously in need of them. This is the reason they always used. Even so, I had a growth delay and had to go to the endocrinologist constantly. I grew eventually but never quite made it to 5'3", so I'm not that short, but I wouldn't care if I were shorter than I am now. I would gladly sacrifice the ability to think clearly and have a conversation for a few inches. I suppose children aren't able to see it that way, though.

QueensU_girl
03-27-08, 12:24 AM
re: #1
it is also confusing antisocial symptoms like conduct disorder, with ADHD too. (they sometimes co-occur.)

QueensU_girl
03-27-08, 12:26 AM
re: #3

Did you ever get that figured out? Pituitary problems?

Imnapl
03-27-08, 12:29 AM
Unmedicated kids with ADHD are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes stunt growth - another study just hit the news.

QueensU_girl
03-27-08, 12:33 AM
re: 6

"pick your poison" WRT height stultifying agents, I guess, huh? ;)

variance
03-27-08, 06:24 AM
considering they don't actually list a reference to the study and the content/context of the study means everything. Journalists are normally HORRIBLE at scientific reporting. and i'm admittedly feeling too lazy to troll pubmed or the databases at the moment (meds crashing)

i can only offer a speculative explanation.
Stims like Ritalin/Amphetamine are... ugh can't think of the precise word.
i don't want to say thermogenic because thats a somewhat pseudoscientific term thrown out by bodybuilding products
but needless to say they make you lose weight and serve to curb your appetites to an extent as one of the effects.

If you don't eat and you burn more energy you are naturally not going to grow as much during puberty (when its most critical to have adaquate nutrition) as those who don't take the stims and eat normally.

Fuse
03-27-08, 09:31 AM
It's not new information.

Stimulant drugs stunt growth in children simply because they are an appetite suppressant; they stop kids from eating at a time in their life when they need to eat more than ever.

The growth suppression is fairly low though. I think it's only like an inch or something. Parents just need to be aware that kids won't have any desire to eat whilst on medication, so they need to take extra care to ensure they actually do.

Imnapl
03-27-08, 02:44 PM
I guess I'm getting tired of people repeating studies with no new results and the media jumping on them for the nightly news. There's a question: why does a minority group get so much air time? Is it a bunch of ADHDers wanting attention?

There have been studies done on the effects of stimulant meds on the growth rate of children that showed the children did catch up to their peers eventually.

I've said this before, but this subject keeps coming up. I was an underweight, skinny, hyperactive kid when I wasn't on medication. When I went on stimulant medication as an adult, I noticed a decrease in appetite for only a few weeks. I wish it would suppress my appetite.

My son was hyperactive in the womb and although he was rarely sick, always measured out on the lower end of the growth chart. He probably weighed just over 20 pounds when he was two years old. He has noticed no lasting decrease in appetite even when he goes back on his stimulant med after a med vacation.

Lots of kids are not growing well because of poor diet, especially kids with poor appetites to begin with. Our local school district is on a healthy kids plan of action and the kids are not allowed to bring junk food into the school. Kids walk down to the nearest corner store and spend their lunch money on slurpees and chips. If parents saw the good, healthy lunches that go into the garbage cans, they would cry. We have hungry kids in our schools on one end of the spectrum and then we have kids who are starving their bodies with junk on the other end.

We don't need a special commercial diet to tell us what not to eat. We need people to boycott, protest and lobby our food manufacturers to stop making garbage. Unfortunately, it seems that some people who promote a healthy diet seem to waste a lot of time and energy protesting the use of medications which turns some people away from the valuable information they have to share.

photogirl_al
03-27-08, 02:53 PM
My brother and I have both been on Ritalin growing up and he is over 6ft and I am 5'9. Not sure if that is tall to some?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

drone
03-27-08, 02:58 PM
I think these study people have height envy themselves...male scientists tend to be short lol

Imnapl
03-27-08, 03:08 PM
I just thought of another variable. Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are often given ADHD meds to see if they help them. FASD can cause short stature.

Pray4Him
03-28-08, 05:06 PM
I don't want to come off sounding angry b/c I am not.. frustrated would be a better word I guess.

There is no medication out there AT ALL that doesn't have a side effect. It is up to the parent to determine if the need for stimulant medication overides the possible side effect of stunted growth.

My son has recently switched from Ritalin to Concerta but while ON ritalin he ate so much we had to put a lock on the pantry door. He is 15 yrs old, 5'10' tall and weighs 170 lbs so I highly doubt the medication stunted his growth.

I do take exception to Fuse's comment in post #9 where it is stated that stimulant medication STOPS kids from eating. From anyone I have have spoken to this is certainly not the case and it wasn't with my son. Either with Ritalin or Concerta. Yes there was an adjustment period of about 2 weeks but once his body adjusted to the medication he went back to eating just fine.

In the book Driven from Distraction the author states that over eating is as well a side effect of ADHD. B/c dopimine and seretonin are very low if even there at all the child never feels satisfied and therefore will continue to eat. If a child is on the proper medication that is best suited for him/her then the appetite should return to an norm.
If your child has been on a medication for a long period of time and still not eating I would have the medication itself looked at.

Bottom line is I am sure everyone has different experiences from stimulant medication but it leads some to panic when a statement is made that ALL children stop eating while on stimulant medication.

Imnapl
03-28-08, 05:56 PM
Thanks for another real life example, Pray4Him. (You write very well when you get excited!) :cool:

Another thought: if ALL stimulants worked well as appetite suppressants, wouldn't there be more demand for ALL of them for that purpose? I've also read reports from people that stated they hated Ritalin because it gave them the munchies when it was wearing off.

Wellbutrin (not a stimulant) is profiled as a weight neutral drug. My daughter and I did not gain weight when we quit smoking while on Wellbutrin. When I went off of Wellbutrun, but still took my regular Ritalin, I gained thirty pounds in a month, SERIOUSLY, and ran back to the doctor and told him to write another prescription for Wellbutrin. I guess quitting smoking after menopause wasn't a great idea, but then, I have ADHD and I'm lousy at planning things.

blueroo
03-28-08, 06:42 PM
We don't need a special commercial diet to tell us what not to eat. We need people to boycott, protest and lobby our food manufacturers to stop making garbage. Unfortunately, it seems that some people who promote a healthy diet seem to waste a lot of time and energy protesting the use of medications which turns some people away from the valuable information they have to share.

This is a really great point, and I wanted to add one thing to it. The quality of the food we eat effects our health and in children, their growth, as much as (and probably more than) how much food we eat. As a country, one of our biggest problems is not that there isn't enough food but that the most affordable food is hollow. High fat, high cholesterol, high salt, high carb, high sugar, high calorie, but exceptionally devoid of other essential nutritional content. Plenty of components to energize a human body, but almost nothing to help build new systems or repair damaged ones. Next time you go shopping, play a little experiment. Give yourself an imaginary budget of $50 to feed four for the next 2 weeks and see what kind of food you can afford.

ozchris
03-28-08, 11:10 PM
IT doesn't suprise me that stimulants stunt growth. As others above have mentioned it decreases appetite and that CAN lead to malnourishment which in turn leads to stunted growth.

Instead of being so extreme they should be saying "Ritalin CAN stunt kids' growth" It's totally possible it can but that doesn't mean it WILL.

Imnapl
03-29-08, 01:00 AM
I guess the people who have first hand experience with it and the doctors who have experience with patients who take it, know nothing about the effect of Ritalin on their appetites. We are all delusional and making this stuff up. Flatlanders are alive and well on the planet.

Imnapl
03-29-08, 03:36 AM
Pediatrics 1998 Aug;102 2 Pt 3:501-6

Growth deficits in children with attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder.

Spencer T, Biederman J, Wilens T

Department of Pediatric Psychopharmacology, Massachusetts General
Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.

Stimulant-associated growth deficits in children with attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have long been a concern. Height deficits
in preadolescence have been reported, but adult heights have been
reported to be uncompromised. It is possible that the catch-up growth
that occurs is related to ADHD-associated delayed maturation and not to
the cessation of stimulant treatment. To date, no consistent
neurohormonal pathophysiology to explain stimulant-associated height
deficits has been identified nor have the initial associations of height
and weight deficits been replicated. Attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder is associated with dysregulation of several neurotransmitter
systems, especially the catecholamines, that may alter neuroendocrine
function and lead to growth delays. The literature on neuroendocrine
aspects of growth and treatment in ADHD and on growth in boys with ADHD
who are treated with psychotropics is reviewed, and the results of a
controlled study in 124 boys with ADHD are presented. Small but
significant differences in height were found between children with and
without ADHD. However, the height deficits were evident in early, but
not late, adolescence and were not related to the use of psychotropic
medications. There was no evidence of weight deficits in children with
ADHD relative to control subjects and no relationship between measures
of malnutrition and short stature was found. These findings suggest that
ADHD may be associated with temporary deficits in height gain through
midadolescence that may normalize by late adolescence. This effect
appears to be mediated by ADHD and not by its treatment.

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1996 Nov;35(11):1460-9

Growth deficits in ADHD children revisited: evidence for
disorder-associated growth delays?

Spencer TJ, Biederman J, Harding M, O'Donnell D, Faraone SV, Wilens TE

Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit (ACC 725), Massachusetts General
Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To reevaluate the hypothesis that stimulants cause growth
deficits in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD). METHOD: Growth deficits in height and weight were examined in
124 children and adolescents with ADHD and 109 controls, using
appropriate correction by age and parental height measures and attending
to issues of pubertal stage, treatment, and psychiatric comorbidity.
RESULTS: Small but significant differences in height were identified
between ADHD children and controls. However, height deficits were
evident in early but not late adolescent ADHD children and were
unrelated to use of psychotropic medications. There was no evidence of
weight deficits in ADHD children relative to controls, and no
relationship between measures of malnutrition and short stature was
identified. CONCLUSIONS: ADHD may be associated with temporary deficits in growth in height through mid-adolescence that may normalize by late adolescence. This effect appears to be mediated by ADHD and not its treatment.

scarygreengiant
04-30-08, 01:16 AM
New Study Shows Ritalin Stunts Kids' Growth.

"According to the Washington Post, 10% percent of 10-year-old American boys are on Ritalin or similar drugs. From my experience as a teacher I can tell you that there are some kids for whom the drugs are useful--I've seen it firsthand. On the other hand, for most boys it is useless and counterproductive. The problem is not our boys--the problem is that our schools refuse to adapt and accommodate boys' educational needs and learning styles."

http://glennsacks.com/blog/?p=940

Ten percent of 10 year old American boys??? That's absolutely insane. Now, I'm not one of those nutty Scientologists who doesn't believe in ADHD but this just shows that some doctors are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overdiagnosing it. It's not just 10% of American school children but 10% of 10 year old boys. That is huge. I am very disturbed by this trend. Overdiagnosing ADHD really hurts the true ADHD people who might genuinely need stimulants meds. Diagnosing little boys left and right just makes the general public doubt ADHD as a legitimate condition, therefore creating more stigma against us. That's part of the reason why I don't disclose my condition to people, because they'll probably roll their eyes and say, "Yeah, don't we all have trouble paying attention sometimes." It's not just the wacky Scientologists who doubt the existence of ADHD. There are many perfectly nice, normal people who think ADHD is a total crock. I blame this problem on doctors who overdiagnose people and dispense drugs like Skittles.

I think overdiagnosis was a barrier when I was trying to seek help for my ADHD. Part of it was gender stereotyping (quiet female who doesn't fit the rambunctious boy stereotype) but overdiagnosis was also an obstacle for me. The sexist doctor I talked to said, "Well everyone thinks they have ADHD." He saw me as a "hysterical" female and also as someone jumping on the latest fad diagnosis so he did not listen to my pleas for help.

Bipolar seems to be the latest "trend". I wonder how many non-bipolar people will be put on meds they don't need. I REALLY wonder how many true bipolar people will be ignored when they try to seek help because the doctor is concerned about overdiagnosis. And for the folks who do get help, I'm concerned that they'll be stigmatized as sheep jumping on the bipolar bandwagon.

Bluerose
04-30-08, 04:30 PM
scarygreengiant,

I didn't write it I just posted it and I think it's a good thing to gather all the information you can and then make up your own minds about it.

I hope it's an exaggeration too. All those kids!!!

lostmykeys
05-11-08, 12:41 AM
Unmedicated kids with ADHD are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes stunt growth - another study just hit the news.

That was me. Started smoking at 12 years old, quit at 17 (due to constant bronchitis). Quitting was HARD. Yep, I self-medicated. I started drinking coffee at age 11. I hid my coffee habit for a year. My mom was mad at first but she saw how it actually calmed me down (the coffee - I still hid the cigs).

I was always the shortest kid in school (until 11th grade), skinniest, most hyper anyways.