Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Are More Likely to Fail Growth Hormone Stimulation Testing than Children without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Retrospective Chart Review

Horm Res Paediatr. 2023;96(3):298-305. doi: 10.1159/000527488. Epub 2022 Oct 11.


Introduction: Children with ADHD often present to pediatric endocrinologists due to growth concerns. Growth hormone stimulation testing (GHST) may be utilized as part of the workup. We evaluate whether children with ADHD and short stature or growth failure are more likely to fail GHST compared to children without ADHD.

Methods: We retrospectively studied children who underwent GHST as part of evaluation for short stature and/or growth failure and had an intact pituitary over a 16-year period (2002-2018). We performed univariate and logistic regression analyses with stratification by age.

Results: We included 260 children; 78 children had ADHD and were older, mean age (±SD) 12.2 (±2.6) years versus children without ADHD, mean age (±SD) 10.4 (±3.8) years. The population was largely Caucasian, and boys outnumbered the girls. Of the children with ADHD, only 9 were not medically treated. There was no difference in z-scores for height, weight, and BMI, or mid-parental height between the two groups. We found that children with ADHD were more likely to fail GHST than children without ADHD across the peak GH cut-offs of 10, 7, and 5 ng/mL (p = 0.003, p = 0.023, and p = 0.046 accordingly). The same trend persisted after regression analysis with adjustment for sex and stratification by age, and effect was more robust in the older group.

Discussion: The result shows higher likelihood of lower GH peaks in response to GHST in children with ADHD and short stature or impaired linear growth. Future work should evaluate possible mechanistic explanation and the role of psycho-stimulant medications.

Keywords: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Children and adolescents; Growth hormone peak; Growth hormone stimulation testing; Short stature.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / drug therapy
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants* / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Dwarfism* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Human Growth Hormone* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Growth Hormone