Strattera (A complete guide)

In this blog, we will discuss what Strattera is used for, how it works, and common side effects. 

What is Strattera? 

Strattera (atomoxetine) is a medication that treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and impulse control. Unlike other ADHD medications such as Adderall, Strattera is not a psychostimulant. 

Strattera is part of the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) class of medication. It works by increasing the effects of norepinephrine in the brain, which helps increase attention and decrease hyperactivity and impulsiveness in patients with ADHD. 


The following is an overview of ADHD: 

Since 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) has characterized ADD as a subset of attention deficit ADHD. There are three subtypes of ADHD outlined below:

·     Inattentive: this is

what people commonly think of when they hear “ADD”. The person is easily

distracted but does not show symptoms of impulsivity of hyperactivity 

·     Hyperactive/impulsive:

The person has clear symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity but is not easily


·     Combined: The person

diagnosed experiences both inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity 

To be diagnosed with hyperactive/impulsive ADD, six or more of the following symptoms for children up to age 16 or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults must be persistent for at least six months and are age and developmentally inappropriate:

·     Fidgetiness (i.e., tapping hands and feet, squirming in seat)

·     Gets up from seat even when expected to remain seated

·     Consistently Interrupts conversations 

·     Often appears “on the go” 

·     Blurts out answers before a question has been completed 

·     Unable to play quietly or appropriately take part in activities 

In addition, the following criteria must be met: 

·     Has symptoms in many settings such as school, work, home, or other


·     The symptoms interfere with daily functioning at school, work, or

in social situations 

·     The symptoms cannot be explained by another mental health

condition such as an anxiety or mood disorder 

Boys and men are more likely to be referred for ADD testing,

receive accommodations, and participate in research studies, so it is difficult

to identify the exact ratio of men to women with ADD. It has been suggested

that ADD is more prevalent in boys and men, but this is likely skewed due to

under-reported cases of girls and women with ADD.

What is some important information I should know before taking Strattera? 

You should not utilize Strattera if you have had narrow-angle glaucoma, an adrenal organ tumor, coronary illness or coronary vein infection, or moderate to extreme hypertension. 

You should also not use Strattera if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the previous 14 days, including isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue infusion, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others. 

Strattera may cause new or worsening psychosis (irregular thoughts or conduct), particularly if you have had bipolar disorder, depression, or other mood disorders in the past.  

Strattera has caused stroke, cardiovascular failure, and unexpected death in individuals with hypertension, coronary illness, family history of heart disease, or a congenital heart defect 

Some children who take Strattera have thoughts of suicide when they first begin taking this medicine, or when the dose is changed. Stay aware of changes in mood, especially if suicidal ideation has been a problem in the past. 

You also should not use Strattera if you are adversely affected by atomoxetine, or if you have:


– serious heart or vein issues; 

-narrow-angle glaucoma

-pheochromocytoma (tumor of the adrenal gland). 

To make sure that Strattera is safe for you, tell your primary care physician if you or anyone in your family has ever had: 


-depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, or other mental illnesses  

-self-destructive thoughts or actions such as suicidal ideation or suicide attempts

-low blood pressure  

-liver disease 

It is not known whether this medication causes birth defects. Tell your primary care physician if you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant before taking Strattera. 

It is not known whether atomoxetine goes into breast milk or if it could influence a child who is being nursed. Tell your primary care physician if you are breastfeeding before taking Strattera. 

Strattera is not FDA-approved for use by anyone younger than six years of age. 

How Should Strattera be used? 

Take Strattera exactly as instructed by your primary care physician. 

You should not take this medication in larger or smaller doses than you are prescribed or for longer than suggested by your doctor. 

It is advised to take Strattera at the same time every day so that you remember, and to take it with a full glass of water. 

Strattera is usually taken once every day toward the beginning of the day, or two times each day in the morning and evening. Adhere to your primary care physician’s guidelines.

You may take this medication with or without food, whatever feels the best for you. 

Do not break or chew the pills, and do not break open a Strattera container. You should swallow the tablet whole and tell your primary care physician if you have difficulty swallowing. 

Take Strattera exactly as your doctor prescribed in order to get the most benefit from it. Make sure to get a refill of the medication before you completely run out so that you do not miss a dose. 

Do not take Strattera from a pill bottle that has been opened or broken. 

Strattera can be dangerous if it gets in your eyes. In the event that this happens, wash your eyes with water. 

While taking Strattera, your primary care physician should monitor your progress at regular visits. Your heart rate, blood pressure, weight should also be checked frequently. 

Store Strattera at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What are the side effects of Strattera?

Common side effects of Strattera include the following:

-nausea, vomiting, constipation or upset stomach

-dry mouth, loss of appetite; 

-mood changes, insomnia, feeling tired; 


-increased sweating; 

-urination issues; or 

-impotence (difficulty having an erection) 

Get emergency medical assistance in the event that you have an allergic reaction to Strattera. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. 

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your primary care physician, for example, anxiety, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping, impulsivity, irritability, agitation, hostility, aggression, hyperactivity either mentally or physically, or have thoughts of suicide. 

Strattera can influence development in children. Tell your primary care physician if your child is not developing at the expected rate while utilizing this medicine. 

What happens if I miss a dose of Strattera? 

If you miss a dose of Strattera, take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for your next dose. If that is the case, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose. 

What occurs in the event that I overdose? 

Get emergency medical attention immediately or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. 

Overdose symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, stomach issues, tremors, or abnormal behavior. 

Do people with ADHD use Strattera in combination with other treatments? 

A combination of the right medication and therapy are usually the most effective treatments for ADD. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, has been a very effective strategy in helping patients with ADD develop new adaptive coping mechanisms. The focus of therapy is on identifying workable actions and skills in the present moment that can be applied to daily situations. 

Group therapy and peer support groups are also extremely successful in helping patients process the interpersonal and emotional effects that having ADD has imposed on them. People with ADD often feel overwhelmed as well as shame, guilt, and failure. 

Many ADD patients seek out coaches specifically to help improve organizational skills, goal completion, time management, and general productivity. These coaches strive to maintain a positive approach to achieving goals while also holding the patient accountable for his or her actions. 

In addition to all the forms of therapy discussed above, ADD is usually treated with medications prescribed by a psychiatrist. Stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall are commonly used. 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Strattera:

1.    Is Strattera better than Adderall?

Both Strattera and Adderall increase attention span and reduce hyperactivity and impulsiveness. They are different medications, as Adderall is a psychostimulant and Strattera is a non-stimulant.

2.    Is Strattera a good ADHD medication?

Strattera is an effective ADHD medication, however as a nonstimulant, it is not as effective as psychostimulant medications

4.    What does Strattera do?

Strattera is part of the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) class of medication. It works by increasing the effects of norepinephrine in the brain, which helps increase attention and decrease hyperactivity and impulsiveness in patients with ADHD. 

ADHD: Evidence-Based Approach to Coping with ADHD With or Without Drugs 

This book is great for people with ADHD who are tired of feeling disorganized, distracted, and hyperactive. You will discover how to look at your ADHD as a strength instead of a weakness, foods that you should avoid in order to not have flare-ups in symptoms, and tips from professional ADHD coaches. 

Thriving with ADHD Workbook for Kids: 60 Fun Activities to Help Children Self-Regulate, Focus, and Succeed

This best-selling workbook helps children diagnosed with ADD manage their feelings of loneliness, frustration, and helplessness. Therapist Kelli Miller uses her professional and personal expertise to advise kids in reframing the way they

think about their disorder from something negative to a more positive and unique perspective. The workbook includes exercises that deal with staying focused, controlling impulses, and making more thoughtful decisions. There are techniques for self-regulation and organization, as well as specific action plans. These include preparing for daily activities such as homework charts, expressing emotions, and creating an effective morning routine.

You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder

This book is the first of its kind for adults with ADD and includes helpful tips for improving memory and organization. It explains how a diagnosis of ADD differs from lapses in memory, lack of concentration, or impulsivity.

Importantly, it goes into detail on the differences between ADD in men and

women and how declining levels of estrogen impact cognitive function. Learning

to balance work, family, and relationships as well as how to seek professional

help are also included in this fantastic self-help guide. 

Focused: ADHD & ADD Parenting Strategies for Children with Attention Deficit Disorder

Blythe Grossberg is an expert with over 15 years of experience in treating adults and children with ADD and gives essential information on the best ways to parent a child or children with ADD. The book includes over 40 parenting strategies on managing hyperactivity and inattentiveness, worksheets to supplement your child’s treatment plan, and guiding principles to become an advocate for your child. She encourages parents to promote positive behavior and work with their child’s unique needs. 

Questions or comments? Post below!


Attention Deficit Disorder Without Hyperactivity.Very Well Mind. Written by Ann Logsdon, October 29th, 2019. 

What’s the Difference Between ADHD and ADD?Healthline. April 12th, 2017. 

ADHD: The Facts.Attention Deficit Disorder Association. 1998. 

Strattera. January 31st, 2019. 

Strattera vs. Adderall. Rxlist. October 23rd, 2018.  

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