Novel Approach to Stimulant Induced Weight Suppression and Its Impact on Growth

2014-07-24 14:05:58 | BioPortfolio


Previous NIH funded ADHD trials in children found that daily stimulant therapy produced sustained growth deficits. However, no federally funded studies have examined the growth suppression associated with modern once a day stimulant medications. Therefore, this study will precisely estimate the risks of stimulant induced growth suppression (SIGS), examine the underlying mechanisms and develop treatments for it. While drug holidays and caloric supplementation are two common treatments for SIGS, there has been little systematic investigation of either. It is unknown if they are effective or feasible. Therefore, using a randomized adaptive design, we will evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of these two practices vs. routine monitoring of growth in 180 prepubertal children with ADHD. An additional 50 subjects will be treated solely with behavioral therapies to evaluate for growth abnormalities associated with ADHD. The study will assess will the risk of SIGS with ER stimulants and the underlying mechanisms while providing evidenced-based treatments for its management.


The study will consist of 4 parts:

1. Screening assessment to determine if a child has ADHD and would be a good candidate to have their ADHD treated with an extended release (ER) stimulant medication. If the answer to step one is yes, then the child will be randomly assigned to receive either medication treatment with an extended release MPH product (OROS MPH). 78% of children with start with this option with 22% assigned to behavioral therapy/counseling treatments for ADHD. There will be no placebo treatments used in this study. All children must be between the ages of 5 and 12 and never have taken stimulant medications for ADHD for more than one week to be eligible for the study.

2. Initial Treatment Phase: The dose of the assigned treatment option will be gradually adjusted over the course of the first 3 months until the child's ADHD is well controlled. If the child is assigned to medication, he/she will start with a low dose of the ER MPH product, and it will be gradually increased until his/her ADHD is in good control. Children assigned to medication will be asked to take it every day of the week for at least the first 6 months. Children assigned to behavior therapy will be asked to avoid using medication for the first 6 months of the study. After month 3 for medication and month 6 for behavior therapy (because it can take longer for behavior therapy to work), if the first treatment is not effective, the child will be given the chance to try the other option. If any treatment is causing a concerning side effect, he/she can stop taking it at any time and we will provide him/her with other treatment options as part of the study.

3. Ongoing Treatment Phase: We will continue to provide these ADHD treatments for a total of 30 months (2 1/2 years). The dose or type of therapy may be adjusted if needed. The child will be monitored every 1-3 months over this time span. Monitoring includes doctor visits to assess growth and side effects of medication, regular contact with his/her teacher to assess function at school and with you to assess function at home. In total, the child will receive study treatments for approximately 30 months and will be required to come to our center for a minimum of 18 follow up visits over this time. The average visit should take 30 minutes or less.

4. Weight Recovery Phase: Any child whose body mass index or BMI declines by a concerning amount will be randomly assigned to receive 1 of 3 weight promotion treatments to stabilize his/her BMI in order to see if this prevents suppression of height (keeps them growing to be as tall as they should be). We do not expect children assigned to the behavior therapy arm to need these treatments, but the identical weight promotion treatments will be available for children in this group if the need arises.

A) Extra monitoring: A doctor will check the child's growth every month (instead of every 3 months) until his/her BMI has returned to normal.The child will stay on the current daily dose of medication or behavior therapy.

B) Caloric supplementation: Parents will be provided with a flavored calorie drink to give to your child every night and continue on the same daily dose and frequency of medication or behavior therapy. The child will have their growth monitored monthly by a study doctor.

C) Drug Holiday: The medication will be changed to Ritalin instant release tablets dosed in the morning and at lunch so that one dose will be needed during the school day. Also, parents will now only give medication on school days. Children assigned to behavior therapy will not participate in this treatment as they are not taking any study medication. The child will have their growth monitored monthly by a study doctor.

Once the child's weight recovers, these extra treatments will end and he/she will return to the prior medication treatment (ER MPH 7 days a week or behavior therapy) in step 3 and to every 3 month growth assessments. Any time the child's BMI declines again, the extra treatments will restart again.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment




behavioral therapy, 12 hour methylphenidate product, increased monitoring of growth, drug holiday, caloric supplement


Center for Children and Families, Florida International University
United States


Not yet recruiting


Florida International University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-24T14:05:58-0400

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