Comparative effects of methylphenidate and mixed salts amphetamine on height and weight in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2006 May;45(5):520-526. doi: 10.1097/01.chi.0000205702.48324.fd.


Objective: To determine whether methylphenidate (MPH) and mixed salts amphetamine (MSA) have different effects on growth in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Method: Patients treated for at least 1 year with MPH or MSA were identified. A linear regression was performed to determine the effect of stimulant type, patient gender, cumulative stimulant dose, and length of time in treatment on change in Z scores for height. A subset of patients was identified who had 3 years of consistent stimulant treatment on either MSA or MPH. Repeated-measures analyses of variance were performed to examine the effects of time and medication type on Z scores for weight, height, and body mass index.

Results: The linear regression showed no effect of stimulant type, drug holidays, or length of time of treatment on change in height Z score. Cumulative dose of stimulant had a small (-0.26) relationship to change in height Z scores. For patients treated for 3 years, there were no effects of stimulant or time on height Z scores. MSA produced more decrease in weight and body mass index Z scores than MPH; all of the subjects were heavier than average at baseline.

Conclusion: MSA and MPH did not differ in their effects on height. MSA had more of an effect on weight than MPH, although the effect was modest in magnitude and may be of limited clinical significance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Amphetamines / adverse effects*
  • Amphetamines / therapeutic use
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Body Height / drug effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / adverse effects*
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors


  • Adderall
  • Amphetamines
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Methylphenidate