Methylphenidate and growth in hyperactive children. A controlled withdrawal study

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988 Dec;45(12):1127-30. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800360075011.


The effect of stimulants on growth has been controversial. Among hyperactive children receiving long-term methylphenidate hydrochloride treatment, we examined the effects of methylphenidate withdrawal on the growth of hyperactive children randomly assigned to be taken off, or remain on, the medication regimen over two consecutive summers. After one summer, no group difference in height was found, but weight was higher in the group that had been taken off methylphenidate therapy. In contrast, two summers of being off methylphenidate treatment had a significant positive effect on height but not on weight. The results document a linkage between exposure to methylphenidate and reduction in growth velocity. However, they do not address whether the medication has long-term effects on height.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Body Height / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child Development / drug effects*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Growth / drug effects*
  • Growth Disorders / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / adverse effects
  • Methylphenidate / pharmacology*
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use


  • Methylphenidate