To examine whether selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) inhibit longitudinal growth in children and adolescents, particularly in the early stages of puberty, using a sample of convenience comprising risperidone-treated boys.Study design
Data from four clinic-based studies in risperidone-treated 5- to 17-year-old boys with no general medical conditions were combined for this analysis. Anthropometric measurements and psychotropic treatment history were extracted from the medical and pharmacy records. Linear mixed effects regression analyses examined the association between SSRI use and change in age-sex-specific height and body mass index z scores, after adjusting for relevant confounders.Results
Risperidone-treated boys (n = 267; age: 12.7 ± 2.7 years), 71% of whom had ever taken an SSRI, contributed to the analysis. After adjusting for age, psychostimulant and antipsychotic use, and time in the study, both the duration of SSRI use as well as the cumulative dose were inversely associated with height z score after age 11 years (P < .0001). After adjusting for baseline height, duration of SSRI use was most strongly inversely associated with height z score in Tanner stages 3 and 4 boys who took SSRIs continuously (r = −0.69, P < .009). No association was observed with body mass index z score.Conclusions
In risperidone-treated boys, SSRI use is associated with reduced longitudinal growth, particularly in those undergoing puberty. Whether adult height or other metabolic or psychological outcomes are affected remains to be determined.