According to a study from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “Children and adolescents who take medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show decreased bone density, according to a large cross-sectional study presented today at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).”
The article continues, “ADHD is a common neurobehavioral condition often diagnosed in childhood. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate 6.4 million children were diagnosed with ADHD through 2011. In addition, the CDC says that parents reported 3.5 million children and teenagers taking medications to treat ADHD, a 28 percent increase from 2007–2011. In this study, researchers identified 5,315 pediatric patients in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and compared children who reported taking ADHD medications with survey participants not on these medications. The results indicate that children on ADHD medication had lower bone mineral density in the femur, femoral neck and lumbar spine. Approximately 25 percent of survey participants on ADHD medication met criteria for osteopenia, a condition characterized by lower than normal peak bone density, and this was significantly higher compared to participants not on medication.”
The study also says, “Medications used by patients in the study were: methylphenidate (Ritalin), dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), atomoxetine (Strattera) and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse). These medications can cause gastrointestinal problems such as decreased appetite and stomach upset, which may result in poor nutrition and reduced calcium intake. The drugs also may diminish bone density because they alter the sympathetic nervous system, which plays an important role in bone remodeling, or regeneration.”
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American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “ADHD medications associated with diminished bone health in kids: Physicians should address risk, preventative strategies to avoid long-term consequences of low-bone density.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160303083812.htm>.