What is Strattera? Learn about this medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What is Strattera? Learn everything about this medication used in the treatment of attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD).

Strattera is a medication commonly used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults. It belongs to a class of drugs known as selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and works by increasing levels of norepinephrine in the brain, helping to improve concentration and reduce impulsive behavior.

Unlike other medications used for ADHD, such as stimulants, Strattera is not classified as a controlled substance and does not have the same risk for abuse or dependence. It comes in capsule form and is usually taken once or twice a day, depending on the individual’s needs and response to the medication.

Strattera is a non-stimulant medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ADHD. It can be used in both children (from 6 years old) and adults.

Strattera works by blocking the reuptake of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of attention and behavior. By increasing norepinephrine levels in the brain, Strattera helps improve concentration, attention, and impulse control in people with ADHD.

To determine the appropriate dose of Strattera, healthcare professionals usually take into account factors such as the patient’s age, weight, and general health. They may start with a low dose and gradually increase it over time to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.

  1. Strattera is a medication commonly used for the treatment of ADHD.
  2. It is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that increases norepinephrine levels in the brain.
Pros Cons
It is not stimulating It may take several weeks to produce its full effects.
Not classified as a controlled substance Possible side effects include nausea, decreased appetite, and fatigue

What is Strattera: A Comprehensive Guide to the Medication

1. Mechanism of action:

Strattera, with its active substance atomoxetine hydrochloride, belongs to a class of drugs called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). By inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of attention and behavior, Strattera increases its availability in the brain. This helps improve concentration, reduce impulsivity, and decrease hyperactivity in individuals with ADHD.

Strattera works by selectively blocking the presynaptic norepinephrine transporter, thereby increasing extracellular levels of norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex.

2. Therapeutic uses:

  • Treatment of ADHD in children, adolescents and adults.
  • Reduction of ADHD symptoms, such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • Improved executive functioning, such as organization, planning, and time management.
  • Improved general cognitive performance and academic productivity

3. Possible side effects:

Although Strattera is generally well tolerated, it is essential to be aware of the potential side effects that may occur. Some of the most common side effects are

  1. Nausea and vomiting
  2. Decreased appetite and weight loss
  3. Headaches and dizziness
  4. Fatigue and drowsiness
  5. Upset stomach and gastrointestinal disorders

Note: It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting or adjusting your Strattera dosage, as individual responses and needs may vary.

Common trade name: Strattera
Generic name: Atomoxetine hydrochloride
Drug class: Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)

Understanding Strattera: Uses and Benefits

One of the main advantages of Strattera is its non-stimulant nature, making it a suitable option for people who do not respond well to stimulant medications or who fear the potential for abuse or addiction. Strattera is believed to work by increasing the availability of norepinephrine in the brain, which helps improve attention span, reduce impulsivity, and decrease hyperactivity. This medication is often used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that may also include behavioral therapy and educational support.

Important information:

  • Strattera should be taken exactly as prescribed by a healthcare professional.
  • It may take several weeks for the full benefits of Strattera to be noticed.
  • Do not stop taking Strattera suddenly without consulting a doctor, as this may cause withdrawal symptoms.
  • This medication may interact with some other medications, so it is important to inform your prescribing doctor about any other drugs you are taking.

Differences Between Strattera and Other ADHD Medications

1. Non-stimulant vs. stimulant: One of the main differences between Strattera and other ADHD medications is that it belongs to a class of medications known as non-stimulants. While most other ADHD medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall, are stimulants that work by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, Strattera works differently. It is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), which means it works by affecting brain levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate attention and behavior. This makes Strattera the preferred choice for people who do not respond well to stimulant medications or are concerned about their potential side effects.

“Strattera is a non-stimulant medication commonly used in the treatment of ADHD, offering an alternative to stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.”

2. Long Lasting Effects: Another key advantage of Strattera is its long lasting effects. Unlike other ADHD medications that require multiple doses throughout the day, Strattera is usually taken once a day. Its effects can last up to 24 hours, providing consistent symptom management and reducing the need for frequent doses. This may be particularly beneficial for people who struggle with adherence to their medication regimen or find taking multiple doses throughout the day uncomfortable.

3. Non-addictive nature: Strattera is also non-addictive, unlike many stimulant medications used to treat ADHD. Stimulant medications have potential for abuse and addiction due to their effects on the brain’s reward system. However, Strattera does not carry these risks, making it a safer option for people with a history of substance abuse or those who are concerned about the potential for addiction.

Strattera Other ADHD Medications
It is not stimulating Mainly stimulating
Long-lasting effects (up to 24 hours) May require multiple doses throughout the day
Not addictive Addiction potential with some medications

Overall, while there are several ADHD medications, each with their own benefits and considerations, Strattera stands out as a non-stimulant option with long-lasting effects and non-addictive nature. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine which medication is most appropriate for each person’s specific needs and to discuss possible side effects and risks.

How Does Strattera Work in the Brain?

Norepinephrine is a chemical messenger that intervenes in various brain functions, such as attention, impulse control and emotions. It plays a crucial role in the transmission of signals between nerve cells from different regions of the brain. An alteration in the balance of norepinephrine can contribute to the symptoms of ADHD, such as the difficulty in concentrating, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Strattera acts by increasing norepinephrine levels in the brain.

Unlike stimulating medications that increase the release of norepinephrine, Strattera acts inhibiting norepinephrine reuptake in nerve cells. By blocking the reuptake process, Strattera allows norepinephrine to remain in the brain for a longer time, which increases the levels of this neurotransmitter.

It is important to note that the exact mechanism by which Strattera improves the symptoms of ADHD is not known. However, by increasing norepinephrine levels, Strattera helps regulate and improve brain functions related to the attention and control of impulses. This can help people with ADHD better focus their attention, reduce impulsivity and improve their general capacity to manage tasks and behaviors.

Strattera Dosage Recommendations and Administration


  • The recommended initial dose of Strattera in children and adolescents is based on body weight. It is usually 0. 5 mg/kg once a day in the morning or according to the doctor’s instructions. The maximum recommended dose is 1. 4 mg/kg per day or 100 mg, which is lower.
  • In adults, the initial dose is usually 40 mg once a day, which can be increased after a minimum of 3 days to a total dose target of 80 mg.
  • The doctor can adjust the dose based on the patient’s response to treatment and tolerability. Dose adjustments should be done in 20 mg increases.

Note: Strattera should be administered with caution in patients with liver failure or history of liver injury. In such cases, it may be necessary to adjust the dose.


  1. Strattera must be taken orally, with or without food. It is important to swallow the whole capsule and not open it, crush it or chew it.
  2. If a dose is forgotten, it should be taken as soon as it is remembered. However, if the time of the next scheduled dose is approaching, the forgotten dose should be omitted and resume the usual dosing program.
  3. If a person accidentally takes a dose higher than the prescribed, you must apply for medical care immediately.

In general, compliance with correct dosage recommendations and administration instructions is crucial to ensure optimal treatment results for people who use Strattera for ADHD management. It is important to consult a medical care provider to obtain personalized dosing instructions adapted to the specific condition of each.

Potential Side Effects of Strattera

1. 1. Gastrointestinal discomfort: One of Strattera’s most common side effects is gastrointestinal discomfort. This can manifest as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or constipation. It is believed that Strattera affects the normal functioning of the digestive system, causing these symptoms. If you experience prolonged or serious gastrointestinal discomfort while taking a strattera, it is important to consult your doctor.

  • Stomach pain: Some people may experience pain or abdominal discomfort after taking a strattera.
  • Nausea and vomiting: These symptoms can occur due to the alteration of the digestive function caused by Strattera.
  • Constipation: Some people may experience difficulty evacuating feces while they take strattera.

2. Humor changes: Another possible secondary effect of Strattera are humor changes. This can vary from irritability and humor changes to more serious symptoms such as depression or suicidal thoughts. It is important to closely monitor your mood and seek medical attention if you notice any significant change while taking a strattera.

  • Irritability: Some people may experience greater irritability or agitation while they take strattera.
  • Humor changes: fluctuations in mood, including sudden changes in emotions, can occur with the use of Strattera.
  • Suicide depression and thoughts: rarely, Strattera has been associated with the development or worsening of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts.

3. 3. Decrease in appetite: It is not uncommon for individuals who take Strattera to experience a decrease in appetite. This can lead to loss or weight gain, especially in children. It is important to control eating habits and notify your medical care provider if you notice a significant decrease in desire or weight loss during strattera treatment.

Strattera: Frequently Asked Questions

How does Strattera act?

Strattera acts by increasing norepinephrine levels, a cerebral neurotransmitter that helps regulate the attention and control of impulses. Unlike other medications used for ADHD, Strattera does not contain stimulating properties and is not classified as a controlled substance. It is believed that it acts by blocking norepinephrine reuptake, which allows it to remain in the brain for a longer time and improve the symptoms associated with ADHD.

What are the usual side effects of Strattera?

  1. Nausea and stomach discomfort
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Difficulty to sleep
  5. Fatigue or drowsiness

Is it a suitable Strattera for adults?

Yes, Strattera is approved for use in both adults and children and adolescents. It can be an effective treatment option for ADHD that experience symptoms such as difficulty maintaining concentration, impulsivity and hyperactivity. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine whether Strattera is the appropriate medication for you and to discuss possible risks or side effects.

Ask Answer
How long does Strattera take effect? The complete effects of Strattera may take several weeks or even months to be noticed. It is important to give time to the medication to adapt and for the dose to optimize.
Can Strattera be taken with other medications? Strattera can interact with certain medications, including other antidepressants, blood pressure medications and heart conditions medications. It is essential that you inform your doctor of all the medications you are taking before starting to take a strattera.
Can you stop taking a strattera abruptly? No, it is not recommended to stop taking a sudden strattera without consulting your medical care provider. This will indicate how to reduce treatment safely to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Author of the article
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Dr.Greenblatt M.
Medical oncologist at the Robert Larner College of Medicine, MD, at the University of Vermont

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