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Methylphenidate and Reduced Overweight in Children With ADHD

Journal article
Authors E. Mellstr?m
C. Forsman
L. Engh
Maria Unenge Hallerbäck
S. Wikstr?m
Published in Journal of Attention Disorders
Volume 24
Issue 2
Pages 246-254
ISSN 1087-0547
Publication year 2020
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Pages 246-254
Language en
Keywords children, pharmacological treatment, ADHD, weight, attention-deficit/hyperactivity-disorder, body-mass index, obesity, growth, weight, health, risk, adolescents, maintenance, management, Psychology, Psychiatry
Subject categories Psychiatry, Psychology


Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate odds ratios of overweight/obesity in children with ADHD and to compare the change in body mass index (BMI) after initiation of methylphenidate treatment in normal versus overweight/obese children. Method: This population-based study included 724 children (<18 years), of whom 197 were girls. Odds ratios for overweight and obesity were calculated, comparing the study group with a reference group from the same area. After initiation of methylphenidate treatment, changes in BMI were assessed for up to 3 years. Results: Children with ADHD had an odds ratio of 1.87 (95% confidence interval [CI]: [1.60, 2.19]) for overweight/obesity. A decrease in BMI standard deviation score was identified 1 to 3 years into treatment. The decrease was beneficially greater in overweight/obese as compared with normal weight children-mean (SD) -0.64 (0.80) versus -0.39 (0.68); p = .001-and greater in girls. Conclusion: Medication with methylphenidate may facilitate favorable weight development in children with ADHD and overweight/obesity.

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