A Randomized Controlled Trial of Interventions for Growth Suppression in Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Treated With Central Nervous System Stimulants

James G. Waxmonsky, William E. Pelham, Adriana Campa, Daniel A. Waschbusch, Tan Li, Rebecca Marshall, Lysett Babocsai, Hugh Humphery, Elizabeth Gnagy, James Swanson, Tomasz Hanć, Negar Fallahazad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To examine the impact of central nervous system (CNS) stimulants on the growth of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and to assess the efficacy and feasibility of weight recovery interventions on growth. Method: A total of 230 children aged 5 to 12 years with ADHD with no history of chronic CNS stimulant use were randomly assigned to receive daily CNS stimulants (78%, primarily osmotic release oral system-methylphenidate [OROS-MPH]) or behavioral treatment (22%) for 30 months. After 6 months, children evidencing a decline in body mass index (BMI) of >0.5 z-units were randomized to 1 of 3 weight recovery treatments (WRTs): monthly monitoring of height/weight (MON) plus continued daily medication; drug holidays (DH) with medication limited to school days; or daily caloric supplementation (CS) with a 150-kcal supplement plus daily medication. Results: Before WRT assignment, medication was associated with significant reductions in standardized weight and height (p values <.01). Adherence to CS and DH during WRT was high, with significant increases in daily caloric intake and decreases in weekly medication exposure (p values <.05). Across all WRT participants (n = 71), weight velocity increased significantly after WRT randomization (β2 = 0.271, SE = 0.027, p < .001).When analyzed by what parents did (versus what they were assigned to), CS (p < .01) and DH (p < .05) increased weight velocity more than MON. No increase in height velocity was seen after randomization to any WRT. Over the entire study, WRT participants declined in standardized weight (−0.44 z-units) and height (−0.20 z-units). Conclusion: Drug holidays, caloric supplementation, and increased monitoring all led to increased weight velocity in children taking CNS stimulants, but none led to increased height velocity. Clinical trial registration information: Novel Approach to Stimulant Induced Weight Suppression and Its Impact on Growth; https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT01109849.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1330-1341
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume59
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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