Strattera: The Only Non-Stimulant Made Specifically to Treat ADHD
Strattera is the only non-stimulant medication made only for treating ADHD. It’s also the first non-stimulant approved by the FDA for treatment of ADHD in children and adults.
It works differently than stimulant medications. Stimulants slow the absorption or increase the amount of dopamine in the brain.
Strattera instead blocks the absorption of a chemical called norepinephrine. It uses a different method to achieve the same results as stimulant medication.
While the effects of stimulants can be felt the day you take them, it takes Strattera two to four weeks to start working. Once it does, you should notice an increase in concentration along with a decrease in hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Other benefits of Strattera include:
- 24-hour symptom control. The most potent stimulants (as shown above) last up to 12 hours. Since Strattera last 24 hours, you don’t have to worry about planning your evenings based on when your medication will wear off.
- No potential for abuse or addiction. There is no boost of dopamine in the brain, Strattera cannot be abused to provide any pleasure. (As I said earlier, dopamine is a brain chemical that makes you feel happy.)
- No increase in tics. Strattera doesn’t boost dopamine, and it won’t give you more motor or vocal tics. If you’re an ADHDer with Tourette's, this is likely your best option.
- Helps treat ADHD, depression, and anxiety all at once. A recent study, published in the National Institutes of Health, showed Strattera reduced depression, anxiety and ADHD at the same time. This means you can take one medication to treat all three of these conditions if you have them.
Side Effects of Strattera
For all the good Strattera does, it has the most side effects out of all your options. Reported common side effects of Strattera include:
- Stomach pain
- Increased irritability
- Decreased appetite
- Lower libido (Erectile dysfunction, loss of interest in sex, and trouble achieving orgasm)
- Dry mouth
- Blurry vision, double vision, and enlarged pupils
- Weight loss
- Increased menstrual cramps
The rare side effects of using Strattera may include trouble urinating, high or irregular heartbeat, fainting, numbness or tingling, or thoughts of suicide.
Don’t take Strattera if you have high blood pressure, liver disease and/or a history of depression.
Is There a Difference Between ADHD Medications for Adults vs. Children?
No. An adult may need a higher dosage than a child, though not always.
Most studies for ADHD medication are done in children. But medication works regardless of your age in most cases. An exception would be with side effects, such as Strattera’s potential to cause menstrual cramps in women, and erectile dysfunction in men.
An adult may need a higher dosage than a child, though not always. One thing we don’t know is how ADHD medication affects the brain long-term.
For this reason, it’s presumably safer to take ADHD medications as an adult than as a child. Children's developing brains are more vulnerable than a matured adult brain.