Strattera (Atomoxetine) Side Effects, Before Taking, How to Use

Atomoxetine is the generic name for Strattera, one of the approved drugs for patients of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD. ADHD is a mental disorder that is characterized by hyperactive behavior and inability to focus. Strattera increases the patient’s ability to focus and stay concentrated and also helps to cease fidgeting. Given orally, it works by restoring the chemical balance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, consequently restoring it’s normal ability to pay attention to the task at hand. It is recommended for patients of ages 6 and above and poses no threat of abuse.

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Side Effects Of Strattera

Strattera is still in its trial phase, and all of its side effects are yet to be observed. Studies up to date have shown Strattera to cause the following common side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Malaise and lethargy
  • Anorexia and weight loss
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Decreased libido (lowered sexual drive)
  • Increased blood pressure

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Uncommon side effects

In uncommon cases, Strattera is known to cause the following:

  • Suicidal tendencies and worsening of the condition have also been observed in some patients taking Strattera
  • Fatal liver diseases – Symptoms may include dark urine, persistent gastrointestinal disturbances, and jaundice
  • Heart attack/stroke – Condition may occur with pain in the chest, jaw and left arm, lethargy on one side of the body, short breaths, impaired/slurred speech, and abnormal sweating.
  • Strattera may cause painfully elongated erection in males, lasting for up to four hours or more
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Arrhythmia
  • Fainting
  • Numbness or tingling sensation

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How To Use:

Strattera is administered orally with a glass of water and can be taken with or without food. It should not be crushed, chewed, broken and the capsule should not be opened. It has to be swallowed whole.

For optimum results, it should be taken regularly, according to the dosage prescribed by the doctor and for better shelf life, it should be stored at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.

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In children, the dosage is according to the weight. For children weighing 70 kg or less, the initial dose is 0.5 mg per day orally, and for those over 70 kg, the initial dose is 40 mg per day orally. The dosage is gradually increased according to need after 3 days.

In adults, the initial dose is 40 mg per day orally, which is increased to 80 mg in 3 days.

The maximum dose in both cases should not exceed 100 mg per day orally, and the medication can be taken once in the morning or the dose divided equally to be taken twice in the day.

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Precautions:

Following things should be taken into account before using Strattera:

  • Strattera may react with MAO inhibitors, such as isocarboxazid, rasagiline, tranylcypromine, etc., and produce harmful side effects. Strattera should therefore not be administered within 14 days of taking an MAO inhibitor.
  • Strattera is contraindicated in patients with severe heart or circulatory problems, narrow-angle glaucoma and pheochromocytoma.
  • Strattera is a category C pregnancy drugs, and the benefits of the drugs should be compared to the risks before administration.

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