Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

ADHD Stimulants May Not Delay Male Puberty

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

ADHD Stimulants May Not Delay Male Puberty

Article excerpt

FROM THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PEDIATRIC ACADEMIC SOCIETIES

DENVER--Although some studies show a delay in growth among boys taking stimulants for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a new study appears to clear the medications of postponing pubertal onset.

"Given that growth has been associated with pubertal onset, one might hypothesize that stimulant medication might affect the onset of puberty," Jennifer M. Steffes said at the meeting. "Few data exist, however, as to the potential association."

Ms. Steffes and her colleagues studied a multiethnic cohort of 3,868 boys who were seen at 141 clinical practices in the SSCIB (Secondary Sexual Characteristics in Boys) study. In all, 277 (7%) were taking stimulant medication. Clinicians received standardized training and evaluated genital development, pubic hair growth, and testicular volume for these boys (aged 6-16 years).

There were no significant differences between medicated and nonmedicated participants. Mean onset of genital growth (Tanner stage 2 in the stimulant group was 9.84 years vs. 9.85 years in the nonstimulant group. Mean onset of pubic hair (Tanner stage 2) in the stimulant group was 11.49 years vs. 11.14 years, and testicular volume of 3 mL or greater was observed in the stimulant group at a median 10.11 years vs. 9.80 years among those who were not taking stimulant medication.

"Our results suggest that there is no difference in age of pubertal onset between boys taking stimulant medication and their nonmedicated counterparts," Ms. Steffes said.

"For clinicians, our research should be used as reassurance to parents," said Ms. Steffes, an investigator for the PROS (Pediatric Research in Office Settings) research network at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In addition, there were no significant differences in age of pubertal onset by race or ethnicity. The study included 1,979 white, 963 black, and 926 Hispanic children. Consecutive children and adolescents who were seen for well-child visits in 2005-2010 in 41 states were recruited through practices that participated in PROS, the Academic Pediatric Association's CORNET (Continuity Research Network), and the NMA PedsNet (National Medical Association's Pediatric Research Network). …

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