Ritalin and Growth of Children


"My 13-year-old son has had no appetite since he started taking Ritalin, and his growth seems to have slowed. What is the link between this drug and growth problems in children?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

A study done almost twenty years ago suggested that Ritalin might suppress growth hormone and inhibit growth. However, several major studies done since then show this not to be the case. Ritalin can reduce appetite and result in weight loss, but there is no concern that it will inhibit growth in children. I agree with your pediatrician in his or her decision to prescribe Ritalin to your child.

Want more expert answers on possible side effects of Ritalin? Check out:

Could Ritalin Be Responsible for my Headaches?

Stuttering as a Side Effect of Ritalin?

Interested in how other readers have reacted to Ritalin? Check out our ADHD medications forum on ADDConnect.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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