Strattera (Atomoxetine) Drug Information
- Other Uses
- Special Dietary
- If I Forget
- Side Effects
- Storage Conditions
- Other Information
- Brand Names
Why is this medication prescribed?
Strattera (atomoxetine) is used as part of a total treatment program to increase the ability to pay attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in children and adults with ADHD. Strattera (atomoxetine) is in a class of medications called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. It works by increasing the levels of norepinephrine, a natural substance in the brain that is needed to control behavior.
How should this medicine be used?
Strattera (atomoxetine) comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken either once a day in the morning, or twice a day in the morning and late afternoon or early evening. Strattera (atomoxetine) may be taken with or without food. However, taking Strattera (atomoxetine) with food may help prevent the medication from upsetting your stomach. Take Strattera (atomoxetine) at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Strattera (atomoxetine) exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow Strattera (atomoxetine) capsules whole; do not open, chew, or crush them. If a capsule is accidentally broken or opened, wash away the loose powder with water right away. Try not to touch the powder and be especially careful not to get the powder in your eyes. If you do get powder in your eyes, rinse them with water right away and call your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of Strattera (atomoxetine) and increase your dose after at least 3 days. Your doctor may increase your dose again after 2-4 weeks. You may notice improvement in your symptoms during the first week of your treatment, but it may take up to one month for you to feel the full benefit of Strattera (atomoxetine).
Strattera (atomoxetine) may help control the symptoms of ADHD but will not cure the condition. Continue to take Strattera (atomoxetine) even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Strattera (atomoxetine) without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking Strattera (atomoxetine):
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Strattera (atomoxetine), any other medications, or any of the inactive ingredients in Strattera (atomoxetine) capsules.
- tell your doctor if you are taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including isocaraboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or if you have stopped taking them within the past 2 weeks. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take Strattera (atomoxetine). If you stop taking Strattera (atomoxetine), you should wait at least 2 weeks before you start taking an MAO inhibitor.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: albuterol syrup or tablets (Proventil, Ventolin), amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), bupropion (Wellbutrin), chlorpheniramine (antihistamine in cold medications),cimetidine (Tagamet), clomipramine (Anafranil), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), haloperidol (Haldol), metaproterenol syrup or tablets , medications for high blood pressure, methadone (Dolophine), metoclopramide (Reglan), nefazodone, paroxetine (Paxil), quinidine, ritonavir (Norvir), and sertraline (Zoloft). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had glaucoma (an eye disease that may cause vision loss). Your doctor may tell you not to take Strattera (atomoxetine).
- tell your doctor if anyone in your family has or has ever had an irregular heartbeat or has died suddenly. Also tell your doctor if you have recently had a heart attack and if you have or have ever had a heart defect, an irregular heartbeat, heart or blood vessel disease, or other heart problems. Your doctor will probably examine you to see if your heart and blood vessels are healthy. Your doctor may tell you not to take Strattera (atomoxetine) if you have a heart condition or if there is a high risk that you may develop a heart condition.
- tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had depression or bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder; a condition that causes episodes of depression, episodes of frenzied, abnormal excitement and other abnormal moods) or has ever thought about or attempted suicide. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high or low blood pressure, seizures, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking Strattera (atomoxetine), call your doctor.
- you should know that Strattera (atomoxetine) may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- you should know that Strattera (atomoxetine) has caused severe liver damage in some patients. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms: itchy skin, dark urine, yellowing of your skin or eyes, pain in the upper right part of your stomach, or flu-like symptoms.
- you should know that Strattera (atomoxetine) may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
- you should know that Strattera (atomoxetine) should be used as part of a total treatment program for ADHD, which may include counseling and special education. Make sure to follow all of your doctor's and/or therapist's instructions.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Do not take more than the prescribed daily amount of Strattera (atomoxetine) in 24 hours.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Strattera (atomoxetine) may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- stomach pain
- dry mouth
- excessive tiredness
- mood swings
- decreased sex drive or ability
- difficulty urinating
- painful or irregular menstrual periods
- muscle pain
- hot flashes
- unusual dreams
- burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
- fast or pounding heartbeat
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- slow or difficult speech
- dizziness or faintness
- weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- abnormal thoughts
- hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- erection that lasts for several hours or longer
Strattera (atomoxetine) may cause sudden death in children and teenagers with heart defects or serious heart problems. This medication also may cause sudden death, heart attack or stroke in adults, especially adults with heart defects or serious heart problems. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication or of giving this medication to your child.
Strattera (atomoxetine) may slow down children's growth or weight gain. Your child's doctor will probably monitor your child carefully during his or her treatment with Strattera (atomoxetine). Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of giving this medication to your child.
Strattera (atomoxetine) may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- an increase in activity or talking
- abnormal behavior
- stomach problems
- wide pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes)
- fast heartbeat
- dry mouth
What other information should I know?
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to Strattera (atomoxetine).
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.