Objective: To examine the relationships between physical growth and medications prescribed for symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children with HIV.
Methods: Analysis of data from children with perinatally acquired HIV (N = 2251; age 3-19 years), with and without prescriptions for stimulant and nonstimulant medications used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, in a long-term observational study. Height and weight measurements were transformed to z scores and compared across medication groups. Changes in z scores during a 2-year interval were compared using multiple linear regression models adjusting for selected covariates.
Results: Participants with (n = 215) and without (n = 2036) prescriptions were shorter than expected based on US age and gender norms (p < .001). Children without prescriptions weighed less at baseline than children in the general population (p < .001) but gained height and weight at a faster rate (p < .001). Children prescribed stimulants were similar to population norms in baseline weight; their height and weight growth velocities were comparable with the general population and children without prescriptions (for weight, p = .511 and .100, respectively). Children prescribed nonstimulants had the lowest baseline height but were similar to population norms in baseline weight. Their height and weight growth velocities were comparable with the general population but significantly slower than children without prescriptions (p = .01 and .02, respectively).
Conclusion: The use of stimulants to treat symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder does not significantly exacerbate the potential for growth delay in children with HIV and may afford opportunities for interventions that promote physical growth. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings.