according to results of an analysis reported in .
The inverse association between SSRI use and height was particularly notable in boys undergoing puberty, according to the authors of the retrospective study. Follow-up into adulthood will be needed to see if the effects are reversible or have a negative impact on adult height.
“In the meantime, clinicians should continue to closely monitor children and adolescents starting antidepressant treatment to minimize side effects,” said Chadi A. Calarge, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and his coauthors.
These observations by Dr. Calarge and his colleagues were based on an analysis of 267 boys, of whom 190 had been treated with SSRIs. The boys had been in one of four previous studies, three of which included risperidone treatment for at least 6 or 12 months, and one small longitudinal observational study including children who had initiated risperidone in the month prior to enrollment. All four studies excluded subjects with chronic medical or neurologic conditions and those taking more than one antipsychotic medication.
Use of an SSRI was associated with reduced growth in height, particularly among boys in Tanner stages 3 and 4. “This effect is of a moderate magnitude of about 1 cm for every 1 year of treatment with SSRIs during adolescence,” Dr. Calarge and his coauthors said.
Among boys who took SSRIs continuously, the strongest inverse association with height z scores was in boys in Tanner stages 3 and 4 (r = –0.69; P less than .009). By contrast, this correlation was “negligible” in boys in Tanner stage 1 and stage 5, and there were only 5 boys of Tanner stage 2 in this analysis, the investigators said.
The mechanism by which SSRIs may have an effect on longitudinal growth has not been well investigated, according to Dr. Calarge and his coauthors. “Impaired growth hormone secretion or activity has been implicated, given that SSRIs alter serotonin signaling, which is known to control GH secretion.”
Funding for the study came from the National Institutes of Health, and other grants. One study coauthor reported funding support from Pfizer and Aeterna Zentaris.
SOURCE: Calarge CA et al. .