ADHD Medications May Lower Bone Density in Children

(HealthDay News) — Children taking medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have lower bone density than their peers, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Orlando, Florida.

Jessica Rivera, MD, orthopedic surgeon with the US Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and colleagues used data on 5315 US children aged 8 to 17 who were part of a government health survey. The prescription medications included stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, and nonstimulants, like Strattera.

The team found, overall, lower bone density in the hip and lumbar spine for children on ADHD medications than children not taking them. Overall, about one-quarter of children on the medications had lower-than-normal bone density, Dr Rivera told HealthDay.

“I’m in no way saying that kids shouldn’t be on these medications,” Dr Rivera said. “This is an early study and it’s not something that should change practice.”


  1. Howard JT, Walick KS, Rivera JC. Evidence of an Association between ADHD Medication and Diminished Bone Health in Children and Adolescents. Presented at: AAOS 2016 Annual Meeting; March 1-5, 2016; Orlando, FL.