What is Strattera (Atomoxetine): Uses, Dosage, Interactions, & Side Effects
Strattera is a prescription medication that also goes by the generic name Atomoxetine. It belongs to a class of medications known as SNRIs, or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
SNRIs block the absorption, or reuptake, of the neurochemicals serotonin and norepinephrine into the brain. This makes each chemical more abundant. Serotonin plays a big role in regulating normal body processes such as mood and sleep, whereas norepinephrine is most commonly related to stress response. Both play a key role in mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
With that said, Stratter (Atomoxetine) is specifically aimed at treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. If you struggle with ADHD, your doctor may prescribe this medication to help with its symptoms.
Here is everything you need to know about Strattera so you can gain a better understanding of if it might be right for you.
Strattera (Atomoxetine) for ADHD
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Strattera for treating ADHD. This is a mental health condition that can be marked by:
- Inattention, including losing necessary items or forgetting important information
- Hyperactivity, inability to sit still or rapid thoughts
- Impulsivity, interrupting others or making impulsive decisions
Strattera has shown to be an effective treatment for ADHD in adults. It is generally well tolerated, and one study found it to be particularly useful in individuals who are at risk for substance abuse.
Since substance abuse is a common characteristic of ADHD, Strattera is often preferred over other ADHD medications such as Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) because it does not interact with receptors that are involved in substance abuse pathways.
Strattera (Atomoxetine) for Anxiety
The FDA has not approved Strattera for any conditions besides ADHD, but it might still be prescribed for off-label use. While there is little research suggesting its efficacy for treating generalized anxiety disorder, it might be promising as a treatment for other anxiety disorders.
Individuals with binge eating disorder, for example, saw significant reductions in their symptoms after a ten-week period. Also, the obsessive-compulsive tendencies of binge eating disorder were diminished, suggesting it may be useful for treating obsessive compulsive disorder in general.
Strattera (Atomoxetine) for Depression
Although research is limited, some small studies have shown that Strattera may be useful in alleviating the symptoms of depression. However, one study that used Strattera for treating depression in Parkinson’s disease found that it was not effective.
With that said, the same study did mention that it decreased daytime sleepiness and improved cognitive performance. This might suggest that it can be used alongside other medications to counteract drowsiness.
Strattera (Atomoxetine) Dosage
Strattera is usually taken one to two times a day with or without food. The dose normally ranges anywhere from 20 mg to 100 mg. It’s likely that you’ll start out on a lower dose before gradually increasing it over time. Your provider will give you specific instructions on your dose if prescribed.
Strattera’s effectiveness may diminish if you forget to take a dose, causing a relapse in symptoms. Try to use a pillbox, calendar, or phone reminders to decrease the chance that you miss a dose.
Strattera (Atomoxetine) Side Effects
As with any medication, there is risk of developing some side effects from taking Strattera. The most common side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Decreased libido
- Ejaculatory delay
Many of these side effects should subside over time, usually a few weeks after starting the medication. Digestive side effects like nausea and vomiting may be more common in children.
There are also some serious side effects associated with Strattera, including allergic reactions, difficulty urinating, liver toxicity, increased suicidal thoughts, or heart problems. If you experience any of these, contact an emergency healthcare provider immediately.
Strattera may also stunt or slow children’s growth or weight gain. If your child is prescribed this medication for their ADHD, their doctor will likely ask you to monitor their height and weight closely.
Finally, Strattera carries the potential of triggering hypomania in individuals with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is often a co-occurring condition with ADHD. Even in individuals who have stabilized their bipolar disorder, Strattera was shown to induce manic symptoms.
Strattera (Atomoxetine) Drug Interactions
As with any medication, there are certain drugs that can interact with Strattera when taken together. Always talk to your doctor about other medications, supplements, or vitamins you currently take.
One of the main types of medications that should never be taken with Strattera are MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Taking these together, or within two weeks of each other, can result in seizures, fever, or dangerously high blood pressure.
Additionally, precautions should be taken before using Strattera with other antidepressants, as it may result in serotonin syndrome. This occurs when medications cause high levels of serotonin to accumulate in the body. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, or vomiting.
Strattera also has possible effects on blood pressure, so it should be used cautiously when taken with other medications used to increase or decrease blood pressure.
Additionally, taking it with asthma medications may increase the risk of blood pressure and rapid heart rate.
Strattera (Atomoxetine) is a prescription antidepressant that belongs to the SNRI class. It is approved by the FDA to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, it can be used off-label to treat a number of anxiety disorders as well.
Strattera has not shown to be effective for treating depression. However, it did have some benefits for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, such as decreasing daytime fatigue.
The typical dose of Strattera is somewhere between 20 mg to 100 mg. Individuals generally start on a lower dose and gradually increase over time. Your provider will give you specific instructions if you are prescribed this medication.
This medication has been shown to increase the symptoms of mania in bipolar disorder, making it important to discuss using this medication with your doctor if bipolar disorder co-occurs with your ADHD.
If your ADHD or anxiety is making you feel less than yourself, medication can be an effective treatment option.
YANA Mental Health can get you on the path to recovery by pairing you with a doctor who will develop a personalized treatment plan just for you. If prescribed, medication will be sent straight to your door — quickly and discreetly.
It’s quality mental healthcare on your terms, at your own pace.