What is Strattera (Atomoxetine)?
Strattera or Atomoxetine is a medication that is used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children over 6 years old, adolescents, and adults.
Strattera is not a psychostimulant or a narcotic. It is not addictive and therefore not abused. There is no withdrawal syndrome at the end of treatment, which means it can be withdrawn immediately, without a gradual decrease in the dose.
Atomoxetine provides control of ADHD symptoms for a full day. It is possible to take it once or twice. The drug acts gradually, the effect of its treatment occurs within 1-2 weeks. The effectiveness of the drug is evaluated after its continuous use for 6 to 8 weeks. And only then it is decided whether to continue treatment or to cancel it. Treatment is long – up to several years.
It is noted that Strattera is also effective in treating tics that may accompany ADHD.
The antidepressant effect of Atomoxetine (when used with other antidepressants) in the treatment of depression that is difficult to treat has been noted. The effectiveness of this drug in the treatment of psychogenic overeating has been revealed.
The difference between Atomoxetine and Adderall
Atomoxetine is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and is prescribed for the treatment of ADHD in adults and children.
Adderall, a CNS-stimulating drug, is often used as a treatment for ADHD and narcolepsy in children and adults.
Dextroamphetamine / Amphetamine
Decreased or absent appetite, impaired sleep quality, enuresis, poor mood, tremor, early morning awakening, conjunctivitis, fainting, mydriasis.
Nervous tension and agitation, headache, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal disturbances, feelings of dizziness, fatigue, or weakness, dry mouth, disturbance of taste perception, and weight loss.
Duration of treatment
The active ingredients of Adderall – amphetamine and methylphenidate – in long-term use cause addiction and drug dependence. Addiction, or increased tolerance, is manifested by a decrease in the effectiveness of the drugs while maintaining the same dose. Usually, this phenomenon develops after several months of continuous use of the drug. Atomoxetine is not addictive or dependent, so it is easier to tolerate than Adderall.
Atomoxetine is taken orally with meals, as a single daily dose in the morning. If adverse events occur when taking the drug once daily, patients may be advised to take it 2 times a day, dividing the dose into a morning dose and a late afternoon or early evening dose.
For children and adolescents with body weight up to 70 kg, the recommended initial daily dose is about 0.5 mg/kg and is increased to a therapeutic daily dose of about 1.2 mg/kg not earlier than after 3 days. If the patient's condition does not improve, the total daily dose may be increased to a maximum dose of 1.8 mg/kg not earlier than 2-4 weeks after the start of treatment. The recommended maintenance dose is approximately 1.2 mg/kg/day. The recommended maximum daily dose is 1.8 mg/kg or 120 mg.
For children and adolescents with body weight over 70 kg and adults, the recommended initial daily dose is 40 mg and is increased to a therapeutic daily dose of about 80 mg not earlier than in 3 days. In case of no improvement of the patient's condition, the total daily dose may be increased to a maximum dose of 120 mg not earlier than 2-4 weeks after the start of treatment. The recommended maintenance dose is 80 mg. The recommended maximum daily dose is 120 mg.
Is Atomoxetine a stimulant?
Atomoxetine is not a central nervous system stimulant, which makes it different from other treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Atomoxetine refers to norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. It promotes more norepinephrine to enter the brain.
Atomoxetine: weight loss
Atomoxetine can reduce body weight. Atomoxetine's positive effect on both ADHD and obesity may be related to improved attention deficit and impulse control.
Atomoxetine has shown positive effects in patients with depression. It may also be useful as an augmentation therapy in treatment-resistant patients. However, Atomoxetine is not prescribed as monotherapy for complicated forms of depression.
Atomoxetine and alcohol
Avoid alcohol or drugs while you are taking Atomoxetine. They can reduce the effectiveness of treatment and even worsen your condition, as well as increase the side effects (e.g., sedation) of the medicine.
If alcohol poisoning occurred less than an hour ago and the victim is clear consciousness, normal breathing, no convulsions, no vomiting, you should give the patient to drink water (up to 500 ml) and induce him to vomit. After clearing, give activated charcoal tablets, and then give strong sweet tea or coffee to drink. If unconsciousness, seizures, or severe vomiting – immediately call for medical assistance.
During pregnancy, Atomoxetine is prescribed in extreme cases under the strict supervision of a GP. The drug is used when the expected benefits of treatment for pregnant women are significantly greater than the potential risk to the fetus.
Contraindications for use
Consult your physician before use, as the drug has various contraindications:
- Closed-angle glaucoma
- Severe cardiac impairment
- Concomitant use with MAO inhibitors
- Hypersensitivity to the drug
The drug should be used with caution in patients with arterial hypertension, tachycardia, cardiovascular diseases, severe physical overload, simultaneous use of psychostimulants, sudden cardiac death in family history, a cerebral circulation disorder, seizures, as well as in conditions that may lead to arterial hypotension.
Symptoms: drowsiness or agitation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness. Mydriasis, tachycardia, and dry mouth are also observed. In rare cases, seizures.
Treatment: In case of unconsciousness or seizures, you should immediately contact the emergency medical service. If little time has passed after taking the drug, gastric lavage is advisable. To limit the absorption of the drug, it is important to take activated charcoal with body weight calculation. Atomoxetine has a high affinity for plasma proteins, so hemodialysis is not prescribed.
Atomoxetine for adults
Atomoxetine capsules have a non-stimulant effect on ADHD and were the first ADHD medication approved specifically for adults back in 2002. Studies have shown that the drug is safe and effective with long-term use.
Atomoxetine hydrochloride improves parameters of psychosocial activity in patients with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in 35% of patients with combined anxiety disorders.
The drug reduces such ADHD symptoms as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
A statistically significant decrease in the severity of symptoms of anxiety disorders (excessive anxiety, sweating, and tremor) was also observed.
In some cases, side effects were noted:
- decreased appetite;
- impaired quality of sleep;
- low mood;
- early morning awakening;
- fainting spells and dizziness;
- sinus tachycardia;
- sexual dysfunction;
- allergic reactions.
Since the drug is accompanied by drowsiness, caution is recommended for drivers and persons working with mechanical moving objects.