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ADHD, stimulant medication use, and the risk of fracture: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Shao-Wen Zhang # 1Dan Shen # 1Yue-Tai Yan 2

Arch Osteoporos. 2021 Jun 2;16(1):81. doi: 10.1007/s11657-021-00960-3.

Abstract

We performed a meta-analysis to quantify the relationships among a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the use of stimulant medication, and the risk of fracture. There was a significant positive association between ADHD and the risk of fracture. However, stimulant ADHD medication therapy appears to be associated with a reduced risk of fracture in patients with ADHD.

Introduction: ADHD is associated with an increased fracture risk due to a lack of impulse control. ADHD medication may have a protective effect via behavior modification. However, previous research found an adverse effect of stimulant use on bone mass. Therefore, this meta-analysis study assessed the relationships among ADHD, the use of stimulant medication, and fracture risk.

Methods: A literature search was conducted using PubMed and EMBASE from inception through December 2020. Random-effects models were used to determine overall pooled estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: The meta-analysis included 10 observational studies. Our results showed that ADHD diagnosis is associated with an increased risk of fracture (OR = 1.17; 1.01-1.35, p = 0.035). Notably, a higher risk of fracture (OR = 1.37, 95% CI 1.2-1.58, p < 0.001) was observed in non-stimulant-treated ADHD. However, no significant association, but a trend toward a lower risk, was observed for stimulant-treated ADHD patients compared with non-stimulant-treated ADHD patients (OR = 0.7, 95% CI 0.47-1.03, p = 0.073). In terms of fracture type, non-stimulant-treated ADHD was associated with traumatic fracture (OR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.54-2.08, p < 0.001) or stress fracture (OR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.04-1.2, p = 0.004) compared to healthy control (HC). In addition, further findings from our systematic review showed that the risk of traumatic (OR = 1, 95% CI 0.88-1.13, p = 0.954) or stress (OR = 0.84, 95% CI 0.62-1.14, p = 0.256) fracture was comparable between treated stimulant-ADHD patients and HC.

Conclusions: Individuals with ADHD are at higher risk of fracture than the general population. Stimulant ADHD medication appears to be associated with a lower risk of traumatic fracture but not with a higher risk of stress fracture.