Trying Strattera

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Trying Strattera
Thu, 08-15-2013 - 3:23pm

My son had his doctor's appointment the other day.  After talking about his last medication and school performance, we are going to give Strattera a try.  He had samples so we already started and will see how it goes.

Anyone have any experience they can share about this med?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Fri, 09-06-2013 - 7:15am

No experience just curious how it is going?

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Tue, 09-10-2013 - 2:43pm
It's hard to say. I haven't noticed any bad side effects which is good. On the other hand, we are only a few days into school so it's hard to tell how much it's helping his focus. It will be a couple of months to watch his grades, I wish I would know sooner.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 09-11-2013 - 11:47pm

ATOMOXETINE  24 hours   (Strattera)

This is a medication for ADHD, which was released by the FDA in December 2002.  It is a non-stimulant medication, which is not abusable and can be written without Schedule II restrictions.  This is the first medication that lasts 24 hours and therefore gives full therapeutic effect throughout the day and night .Unfortunately, over the past few years it has not performed as well as expected.  It tends to often have side effect and does not deliver as robust a response as the stimulants.

                                  Form:  Capsules: 10mg, 18mg, 25mg, 40mg, 60mg.

                            Dosage: Weight based dose:  first four days=0.5mg/kg;  target dose (day five and after)=1.2mg/kg.  This medication must be taken with food to prevent nausea.

                              Action: Very slow acting and will take 3-4 weeks (or more) to reach therapeutic effect.  If the patient is already taking stimulant medications, suggest continuing them and adding the Strattera for the first 4-6 weeks, then tapering the stimulant slowly until discontinued.

                              Possible Side Effects:    No long term safety information is available for this medication. Primary side effects in children include sleepiness during the day, appetite changes, and mood or personality changes. If these occur, give the dose at night or lower the dose until they improve.  Then raise dose if possible.  Adults can experience more noted effects:  transitory dry mouth and dizziness, insomnia, sleepiness and significant moodiness. Other effects in adults include possible bladder spasm, sexual dysfunction (uncommon but often result in discontinuation of medication).  Occasionally a child or adult will get very agitated.  If this occurs, discontinue the medication.

                                   Pros:  24 hour coverage.  Less effect on appetite than stimulants. 

                                  Cons: Many complaints about side effects, lack of efficacy compared to stimulants.  Has not been a very satisfactory treatment for many with ADD Strattera (Atomoxetine)

This drug has been used in the USA since 2003. It is not a stimulant. It is related to antidepressants. It increases the amount of dopamine in the front of the brain, but has less effect on the dopamine in other parts of the brain. It is quite different than the other drugs that are currently used for ADHD. A couple of advantages are:

1.   One dose will last for 24 hours.

2.   It is not a controlled substance and is not abusable.

How does it compare to the stimulants like Ritalin?

Strattera is not quite as effective as the stimulant drugs.

What are the side effects?

In a study of Ritalin vs. Strattera, there were no differences between the two drugs. That is, the most common side effects were the same as with stimulants: headaches, insomnia, decreased appetite, mood problems and anxiety. Overall, 5-10% of the children who were taking either drug stopped it due to side effects. (42)

Are there other side effects?

Yes, in a very few cases, children can become very agitated. Less than 1% will consider suicide, but in no drug trial has anyone ever committed suicide. (66) Does it stop working after awhile?

After nine months of treatment, half were still doing well, and half were doing worse. (43)

Can it make tics worse like stimulants? Yes. (41)

What is a reasonable dose?

The usual dose to start with is .5mg/kg. So if a child weighs 60lbs, that would be about 18mg a day. I will have children take that dose for a week, and then, if they are tolerating it, increase it by .5 mg/kg every week until there is an positive effect or side effects. That is actually slower than the drug company recommends. The usual top dose is 1.5 mg/kg, however it has been tested up to 1.8 mg/kg. (56) The higher doses seem to be necessary when Oppositional Defiant Disorder is also present. (57) A person needs to take it every day. You can’t skip weekend days. It is available in the following sizes:10mg, 18mg, 25mg,40mg, and 60mg. You can not chew it. You have to be able to swallow pills to take this drug, at least at this point.

Is it expensive?

All the sizes are the same price - $95.00 US for 30. As long as you do not have to take more than 100 mg a day, it would probably not be any more than Adderall, Biphentin, or Concerta.

How fast does it work?

Within a week you can see a response, but a full effect may take 12 weeks.

Can it cause withdrawal if it is stopped suddenly?


I have heard that it will damage your liver.

In December, 2004 the drug company said that of the two million people who have taken the drug, two have had liver damage which returned to normal after the drug was stopped. This included one adult and one teenager. Liver tests were not checked in all two million people. In a separate study, 6000 people on strattera did have liver tests done and none were abnormal. At this point, routine tests for liver damage are not necessary except in people who are at risk for liver problem already. It is important to watch for any signs and symptoms of liver disease if your child is on this drug. These include:

1.          Severe Itchiness

2.          Yellow skin

3.          Dark urine

4.          Upper right-sided abdominal tenderness

5. Unexplained "flu-like" symptoms

If there is any question, I would check the liver tests before I ever started the drug.