Generic Name: atomoxetine, Oral capsule

Generic Name:

atomoxetine, Oral capsule

Strattera

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  • Strattera
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for atomoxetine

Oral capsule
1

Atomoxetine is an oral medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

2

Common side effects include upset stomach, decreased appetite, vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and problems passing urine.

3

Atomoxetine may cause sleepiness. Don’t drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how it affects you.

4

Don’t take this drug if you’ve taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) in the last 14 days, have narrow angle glaucoma, or have adrenal gland tumor.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

May increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and adolescents. Closely monitor children and teenagers for suicidal thoughts and behaviors or unusual changes in behavior. Tell your doctor if your child or teenager has bipolar disorder or has had suicidal thoughts or actions before they take atomoxetine.

May slow growth in children

Atomoxetine may cause children’s growth to slow down during the first year of therapy. Children should have their height and weight checked by their doctor during treatment. If they aren’t growing, they may need to stop taking this drug.

May cause sleepiness

Don’t drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how this drug affects you.

Drug Features

Atomoxetine is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral capsule.

Why It's Used

Atomoxetine is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It may help to increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

How It Works

It isn’t fully known how atomoxetine works to treat ADHD. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). 

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atomoxetine Side Effects

Oral capsule

Most Common Side Effects

This drug may have different side effects in children and teenagers than it does in adults. Common side effects include:

  • in children and teenagers:

    • upset stomach
    • nausea or vomiting
    • decreased appetite
    • dizziness
    • sleepiness
    • tiredness
    • mood swings
  • in adults:

    • dry mouth
    • nausea
    • constipation
    • decreased appetite
    • dizziness
    • sexual dysfunction, such as changes in sexual desire
    • problems passing urine
    • trouble starting or keeping urine stream
    • inability to fully empty your bladder

Mild side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re severe or don’t go away.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • suicidal thoughts and actions in children and teenagers. These are more likely to occur early during atomoxetine therapy or when the dose is adjusted. Call your child’s doctor right away if they have any of the below signs, especially if they’re new, sudden, or severe:

    • anxiety
    • agitation
    • panic attacks
    • trouble sleeping
    • irritability
    • hostility
    • aggressiveness
    • impulsivity
    • restlessness
    • mania
    • depression 
  • liver problems, including liver failure. Symptoms may include:

    • yellow-looking skin or whites of the eyes
    • itchy skin
    • flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, or body aches
    • stomach pain and swelling, especially on the upper right side
    • dark-colored urine
  • heart problems, including stroke, heart attack, increased blood pressure, and even sudden death. Symptoms may include:

    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • fainting
    • weakness on one side of your body
    • slurred speech
  • new psychiatric problems in children and teenagers. These may include:

    • new psychotic symptoms:
      • hearing voices
      • believing in things that aren’t true
      • paranoia
    • manic symptoms, including:
      • reckless behavior
      • unusual irritability
      • poor judgment
      • racing thoughts
      • talking very fast
      • greatly increased energy
      • a decreased need for sleep
  • sexual dysfunction. Symptoms may include:

    • changes in sexual desire, performance, and satisfaction
    • erection lasting more than 4 hours (priapism)
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Atomoxetine may cause drowsiness or sleepiness. Don’t drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how it affects you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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atomoxetine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Atomoxetine can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Antidepressants - monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

These include

  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • rasagiline (azilect)
  • selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)

If you take atomoxetine with a MAOI medication, you may experience serious, potentially deadly reactions. These include extreme increase in body temperature, racing heart, and high or low blood pressure.

Don’t take atomoxetine if you’ve taken a MAOI medication within the past 14 days.

Antidepressants - serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

These include:

  • fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • paroxetine (Paxil)

Taking one of these SSRIs will prevent your body from processing atomoxetine normally. This may cause the amount of atomoxetine in your blood to increase, which increases your risk of side effects from atomoxetine.

Asthma drug
  • albuterol

Using albuterol while taking atomoxetine may increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Your doctor may monitor your heart rate and blood pressure regularly, especially if you already have heart disease.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with narrow angle glaucoma

Atomoxetine can cause your pupils to dilate (mydriasis) and can make this eye problem worse. You shouldn’t take atomoxetine if you have narrow angle glaucoma.

People with pheochromocytoma

This is a rare tumor of the adrenal gland. Atomoxetine can cause increases in your blood pressure and an irregular or abnormal heartbeat. You shouldn’t take this medication if you have or have had this type of tumor.

People with urinary retention

Atomoxetine may affect your ability to urinate. You may have trouble starting or keeping a urine stream or may not be able to fully empty your bladder. Talk to your doctor if you have any problems with urine flow.

People with heart problems

Don’t take atomoxetine if you have a severe heart problem or defect. It may significantly increase your blood pressure and make your heart condition worse. In children and teenagers, atomoxetine can cause sudden death. In adults, atomoxetine can cause sudden death, stroke, or heart attacks.

People with psychiatric problems

These include bipolar disorder and depression. Atomoxetine increases your risk of having a mixed or manic episode. If you have depression, you may be evaluated for possible bipolar disorder before taking atomoxetine. 

People with suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Atomoxetine may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and teenagers. Before starting this medication, let your child’s doctor know if your child has bipolar disorder, thoughts of suicide, or previously attempted to commit suicide. Look out for suicidal thoughts and behaviors or unusual changes in your child’s behavior while taking atomoxetine. If any of these happen, tell your healthcare provider right away.

Pregnant women

Atomoxetine is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Atomoxetine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are nursing

Atomoxetine may pass into breast milk and can cause side effects in a breastfeeding child. Tell your doctor if you’re breastfeeding. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking atomoxetine.

For Children

The effectiveness and safety of atomoxetine haven’t been established in children under the age of 6 years.

Allergies

Atomoxetine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives or a rash

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

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How to Take atomoxetine (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 10 mg, 18 mg, 25 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg, and 100 mg
Adult Dosage and dosage for children and teenagers over 154 pounds (70 kg)
  • The initial dose is 40 mg per day.
  • The dose may be increased to a target total dose of 80 mg per day. This may be given as 1 dose in the morning or divided evenly into 2 doses given in the morning and late afternoon/early evening.
  • The maximum total dose is 100 mg per day.
Dosage for children and teenagers up to 154 pounds (70 kg)
  • The initial dose is 0.5 mg per 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight per day.
  • The dose may be increased to a target total dose is 1.2 mg per 2.2 pounds (1 kg) per day. This may be given as 1 dose in the morning or divided evenly into 2 doses given in the morning and late afternoon/early evening.
  • The maximum total daily dose is 100 mg or 1.4 mg per 2.2 pounds (1 kg), whichever is less.
Child Dosage (ages 0-5 years)

An effective and safe dose hasn’t been established for this age group.

Special considerations

Liver Disease: Having liver disease may cause more of the drug to stay in your body. This can increase your risk for side effects. Your dose of atomoxetine may be reduced, depending on how bad your liver disease is.

Warnings

Dosage for children and teenagers is based on their age and weight. The starting dose will be low and can be increased based on your response to the medication. Your doctor may stop the drug occasionally to determine if you still need to be on it. If symptoms return, you may need to continue therapy.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Atomoxetine comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If You Don't Take It At All Or Miss Doses

Your ADHD may not improve. You may feel unable to focus, easily distracted, impulsive, or hyperactive.

If You Take Too Much

You may experience:

  • upset stomach
  • sleepiness
  • dizziness
  • shaking (tremor)
  • hyperactivity
  • agitation
  • dry mouth
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • racing heart (tachycardia)
  • seizures

If you think you or your child has taken too much atomoxetine, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If you miss a day of atomoxetine, don’t double your dose the next day.

How Can I Tell if the Drug is Working?

You may be able to tell if this drug is working if you can focus and pay attention better and have less impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

This is a long-term treatment.

Don’t chew, crush, or open atomoxetine capsules

Swallow them whole. Tell your doctor if you or your child can’t swallow the capsule whole. You may need a different medication.

Store atomoxetine in a safe place in temperatures from 59–86°F (15–30°C)

Note: Keep your medications away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store them away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled box with you when traveling.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor may monitor for:

  • suicidal thinking and behavior
    • Atomoxetine may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents. Look for symptoms, such as aggressive or hostile behavior, anxiety or restlessness, and depression.
  • growth and height (in children)
    • Atomoxetine may cause growth to slow down. Children should have their height and weight checked by their doctor during treatment.
  • blood pressure and heart rate
    • Atomoxetine can cause both your blood pressure and heart rate to increase, which may be especially dangerous for people who already have heart problems.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for atomoxetine.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does atomoxetine Cost?

Oral capsule
We've partnered with GoodRX so you can compare prices and save money on your next prescription. Check out the lowest cash prices below and enter your zip code to find the best deal near you.

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Lowest price for atomoxetine

Membership warehouse $344.13
Publix $345.44
Kroger Pharmacy $345.46
These represent the lowest cash prices for atomoxetine and may be lower than your insurance.

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These represent the lowest cash prices for atomoxetine and may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 15, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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