Strattera (atomoxetine)What is Strattera?  

Strattera (atomoxetine) is designed to treat ADHD in children and adults.

How does Strattera work?

Strattera is a medication known as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (NRI) that has been approved for the treatment of attention hyperactivity disorder in children and adults. It works by affecting chemicals in the brain and nervous system that influence hyperactivity and impulse control.

When did the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve Strattera?

Strattera was the first non-stimulant approved to treat ADHD in children and adolescents in the United States, approved by the FDA for adults in 2006 and for children 6 and over in 2008.

Is there a generic version of Strattera available?

There is currently no generic version for Strattera. The earliest one could possibly become available would be when the patent for the drug expires in 2017.

Are there any major differences between Strattera and other ADHD medications?

Many drugs used to treat ADHD, such as Ritalin and Adderall, are stimulants. These medications can be habit-forming and are classified as controlled substances. Strattera, however, is not a controlled substance and is not habit-forming. This means you do not have to taper off the use of Strattera if you decide to stop taking the medication. However, the tradeoff is that it may take a month or two for the medication to reach its full efficacy.

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Can children take Strattera?

Children over the age of 6 may be prescribed Strattera for ADHD. They should take the medication in the exact amount prescribed by their doctor. It’s also important to tell your child’s doctor about other medication complications, past substance use history, and any history of suicidal thoughts.

Are there potential interaction issues for people taking Strattera and any other drugs?

Do not take Strattera if you, or your child, have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks, as a dangerous interaction effect could occur. There are also many drugs which are known to interact with Strattera in major, moderate, or mild ways, so let your doctor know what other medications you are taking before you begin Strattera therapy.

Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for Strattera therapy?

 You should not take Strattera if you are allergic to anything in the medication. Also if you have glaucoma or have had a rare tumor called pheochromocytoma, you should not take Ritalin. Also talk to your doctor if you have had heart problems, high or low blood pressure, liver problems, or a history of mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder. Also, if you or your child has a history of suicidal thoughts or action, talk to your doctor about the risks.

What is the typical dose that would be prescribed to someone taking Strattera?

Dosage for children varies depending on the age and weight of a child. According to drugs.com, the maximum recommended total daily dose for children and adolescents over 70kg and adults is 100 mg. Strattera can be taken with or without food.

How long does it usually take for Strattera to work?

Some people report small changes in hyperactivity and impulse control within two weeks, but it may take 4 to 8 weeks for the drug to achieve maximum effectiveness.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, you can take the medication as soon as you remember that day. Never, however, double your dose the next day if you miss a day.

What are the most common side effects of Strattera?

Common side effects of Strattera among children and adolescents include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness
  • decreased appetite
  • fatigue
  • mood swings.

Common side effects of Strattera among adults include:

  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • problems urinating
  • decreased appetite
  • dizziness
  • sexual side effects.

Major side effects should be reported to your doctor immediately, and can include liver injury, heart-related problems, and stroke. You can also report them to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.

Are there any psychiatric side effects that come from taking Strattera?

Strattera has been shown to increase suicidal thoughts and actions among some children and teens. In one clinical study, 4 out of 1,000 patients reported having suicidal thoughts, with no suicides occurring. Talk to your doctor if your child or teen has a history of suicidal thoughts or actions before they begin Strattera therapy.

Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or nursing to take Strattera?

There are no controlled studies on human pregnancy and Strattera, and the drug is only recommended during pregnancy when the benefits outweigh the risks. The drug may be transferred via breast milk in small amounts, although there have been no current human studies. Therefore, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing before you take Strattera.

Can symptoms occur if Strattera is discontinued? 

There is no current evidence of withdrawal symptoms when Strattera use is discontinued.

If taken in overdose, is Strattera toxic?

An overdose of Strattera could be fatal, so seek immediately help or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Overdose symptoms can include sleepiness, behavior changes, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, hallucinations, seizures, pupil enlargement, and increased heart rate.

Is Strattera habit-forming?

Unlike some other ADHD medications, Strattera is not habit-forming and not prone to abuse.

How much does Strattera cost?

Thirty 40 mg capsules of Strattera cost approximately $420. It’s possible the drug may become cheaper in the future once a generic version is available.

Are there any disadvantages to taking Strattera?

Some studies have found that Strattera does not perform as well as stimulants in treating ADHD. Another disadvantage is that it can take a month or two for the drug to reach its full efficacy. The drug may also cause suicidal thoughts in children or adolescents, so it’s important to monitor children carefully when they are taking the medication.

Sources:

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm089138.pdf

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA site for a comprehensive list of warnings.

 

 

Last Updated: Jul 10, 2017