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ADHD

19 min read

Strattera reviews — is it worth it for ADHD?

Written by Dr. Geralyn Dexter

Published: Jun 28, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sheelu Bhatnagar

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While it often develops in childhood, some people don’t recognize the symptoms in themselves until they’re adults. ADHD creates challenges in daily life — it affects work, home, school, relationships, and more. ADHD medications, like Strattera, can help you feel more in control. 

Strattera reviews from real people can be helpful in determining whether it’s right for your ADHD symptoms. In this article, we take a look at what the data and real users have to say about Strattera.

Talking to a provider about medication for ADHD symptom relief is a click away.
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Wondering if you have ADHD and would benefit from medication? Find a provider on Klarity today to get an assessment and discuss potential treatment options like Strattera.  

What is Strattera (atomoxetine)?

Strattera is the brand name for atomoxetine, a non-stimulant medication used to treat ADHD symptoms in adults and children over the age of 6. It’s sometimes used off-label to manage treatment-resistant depression. Strattera works by increasing the amount of norepinephrine (a chemical responsible for cognitive function and attention) in the brain.  

Strattera was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. Since then, more than 5 million people have taken it to help manage their ADHD symptoms. In November 2023, the brand-name medication was discontinued by the manufacturer due to other manufacturers introducing a generic version of the medication into the market, but you can still get a prescription for generic atomoxetine. 

Strattera reviews – what real ADHD patients say

Strattera reviews from real people who take it provide valuable insight. According to drugs.com, at the time of publication, Strattera is rated 5.2 out of 10. Out of 514 reviewers, with 41% reporting a negative experience and 37% reporting a positive one. 

People who rated Strattera lower on drugs.com wrote about their experiences with side effects like migraines, nausea and vomiting, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, feelings of numbness, and depression. Most who share negative reviews took Strattera for less than 6 months. 

Those who rated Strattera highly on the site also mentioned side effects, yet they decreased over time. Overall, these reviewers report that they’ve seen improved concentration, motivation, sleep, and quality of life, with less emotional dysregulation. This suggests Strattera may be worth it, depending on your experience with side effects. 

Reddit users shared some insights on their experience with Strattera. Here are some highlights:

“After Adderall [wasn’t] working for me and [was] making me too emotional and anxious, my doctor switched me to Strattera. I’m on a very low dose, 10 milligrams, and we’re gonna take it slow since I’m scared. That said, it’s already so much better than the Adderall. I get a bit of light headedness and some reduced appetite but nothing distracting enough to impact my day-to-day. It’s only been a week, but I’m looking forward to going up! That said, not having the side effects is my first plus. Ideally, I’d like to see an actual improvement in my life too. I don’t think I see that yet.” – General-Building-381

“I absolutely LOVE Straterra. I can’t handle caffeine/stimulants and Adderall/Focalin was hell for me. It put me into hyper-focus and on edge all day with shakes and appetite suppression. Whereas Straterra is a nice calm focus with 5% of the nausea/shakes. Totally manageable. It’s like a nice, kind adult that’s like “You don’t want to do that. You want to work instead.” And I just…do. (Mostly. I am still struggling with my overdemanding job but it’s so much better.) It’s honestly a miracle. It’s incredible.” – krishthebish

“I’ve been on it [Strattera] for years. I prefer stimulant meds but I don’t need them. I can concentrate, I remember things, I can string sentences together and articulate myself. I was given Strattera initially as it works as a mild antidepressant which I needed. I don’t get the full ‘I can see clearly’ feelings anymore but I can do a full day’s work and don’t fall down rabbit holes. I only had a few side effects when I first started taking it, two sleepless nights then years of calm. Currently on 80 milligrams a day, worked up from 40 milligrams in 10 milligram doses.” – bentombed666

Everyone responds differently to medication. If you and your provider determine that Strattera is best for you, take it as prescribed and keep track of how you feel. Keep your appointments with your provider. Share any side effects you experience and how you’re doing on the medication. If needed, your provider will make dose adjustments or change medications based on how you respond to Strattera. 

Strattera reviews from clinical research

Research shows that Strattera is effective at treating ADHD symptoms. A 2016 meta-analysis of clinical trials shows that Strattera is effective at treating hyperactivity and impulsivity in adults, compared to placebo. The study also found that Strattera was significantly more effective in treating inattention related to ADHD.

These findings echo those of a study done in 2014 in which researchers reviewed several studies on atomoxetine. This study revealed that after 6 months on Strattera, people experience significant improvement in ADHD symptoms, as well as increased productivity, mental well-being, and improved relationships. 

Clinician reviews of Strattera for ADHD

Providers who prescribe Strattera have a unique vantage point. They’re able to share insights about how medications work and how they’ve seen them help their clients manage ADHD symptoms. 

Joana Reyes, FNP-BC, a provider on Klarity, says, “Strattera is a great medication if patients are able to tolerate it. Most of the time (first 1 to 2 weeks), [the] patient may feel nauseated, but once patients pass [the] 1- to 2-week mark, they feel great and feel the medication is effective for them. Patients are started first at a low dose and the following month the dose is increased if needed. Not every patient is fond of taking medication every day. But it is a great medication if patients are able to tolerate it because, not only is it effective for ADHD, but also patients feel Strattera improved their mood as well.”

How Strattera compares to other ADHD meds

There are 2 types of medications predominantly used to treat ADHD — stimulant and non-stimulant medications. While both types are effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, there are key differences. 

Stimulants, like Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), Ritalin (methylphenidate), or Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine), are typically first-line medications, as they’re more effective than non-stimulant medications like Strattera. Stimulants calm ADHD symptoms by increasing brain chemicals like dopamine (helps with motivation and attention) and epinephrine (helps the brain respond to stimulant medications), and have been shown to decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity. 

Non-stimulants like Strattera are effective at reducing inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. They do this by increasing the level of brain chemicals like norepinephrine, which is responsible for cognitive functioning and attention. Non-stimulant medications do so without ingredients like amphetamine and methylphenidate (which affect the release and reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain). Stimulant medications increase the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, while non-stimulant medications work to reduce the breaking down of these chemicals. 

Note that stimulant medications have the potential for misuse, addiction, and withdrawal. They can also be difficult for the body to tolerate due to side effects such as increased blood pressure or heart rate or worsening anxiety. Your provider will consider this when determining which type of ADHD medication is best to treat your symptoms. They may prescribe a non-stimulant medication, such as Strattera, as an alternative. 

What to know if your provider prescribes Strattera

Before starting Strattera, talk to your provider about ADHD and your symptoms. If they determine you meet the criteria for diagnosis, you’ll discuss treatment options that could include ADHD medications like Strattera. If you’re prescribed medication, your provider will tell you how to take it and what to expect. 

Strattera comes in a capsule taken by mouth with or without food. It’s recommended you take it at the same time every day — either once in the morning or twice per day (once in the morning and once in the evening), depending on your prescribed dosage and dosing schedule. 

Your medical history, ADHD symptoms, and other factors determine your dosage. Typically, your provider starts you on a lower dose to see how your body tolerates the medication. They may adjust your initial dosage after 3 days and then gradually increase it every 2 to 4 weeks. 

Strattera is available in 7 doses — 10, 18, 25, 40, 60, 80, and 100 milligrams. 

As the Strattera reviews indicate, common side effects have been reported with it’s use. These include:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Gas
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased sex drive or ability
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Painful or irregular menstrual periods
  • Muscle pain
  • Sweating
  • Hot flashes
  • Unusual dreams
  • Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs

Serious side effects of Strattera have been reported in some cases, such as:

  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Pain in the upper right part of your stomach
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Hives or rash
  • Abnormal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Erection that lasts for several hours or longer

If you experience serious side effects with Strattera, don’t wait to seek help. Get care immediately, then schedule a follow-up with your provider to discuss medication changes. 

Strattera is contraindicated (not recommended) in some cases. Talk to your provider before starting Strattera if you:

  • Have had a serious reaction to atomoxetine before.
  • Are diagnosed with narrow-angle glaucoma, as Strattera can increase your risk of dilated pupils. 
  • Have a severe cardiovascular disorder or pheochromocytoma (a type of adrenal gland tumor), as Strattera can increase heart rate and blood pressure which is dangerous for these patients
  • Have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within the last 2 weeks, as this can lead to serious or fatal reactions such as hyperthermia, rigidity, myoclonus (sudden, involuntary muscle twitching), rapid changes in vital signs, mental status changes that can lead to delirium or coma. 

Note that Strattera may cause suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents. It’s important to monitor their progress while taking it and communicate any concerns to their provider. 

Key takeaway

Strattera (atomoxetine) is an effective non-stimulant medication that can help manage ADHD symptoms. Real people who take the medication report improvements in concentration, motivation, and emotional well-being. 

As a non-stimulant, Strattera may be easier for your body to tolerate, and it comes with a lower risk of misuse, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms. For many, this makes Strattera a better choice for gaining control over their ADHD. It’s important to note that, like other medications, Strattera can cause side effects that tend to subside over time. 

Many people see improvements in different areas of their lives with Strattera. If you take your medication as prescribed, and have a solid care plan and open communication with your provider, you might find that Strattera is worth it for your ADHD.

Find an ADHD provider on Klarity and see if Strattera is right for you

Ready to find out if Strattera can help improve your daily life? The first step is getting diagnosed with ADHD. Find a provider on Klarity who can assess your symptoms, provide a diagnosis if applicable, and talk with you about treatment options. Get started today.

FAQs about Strattera and atomoxetine

How will Strattera make me feel?

Based on Strattera reviews, people experience various side effects when starting it. Reviewers note that it causes fatigue, agitation, dizziness, depression, constipation, and more. Yet, people write that these symptoms subside after a few weeks and that sticking with the medication led to better concentration, motivation, attention, and feeling more calm. 

What’s the downside of taking Strattera?

While Strattera can help improve attention, focus, and motivation, it can take 8 to 12 weeks for you to experience its full benefits. In the meantime, you may experience side effects, such as tiredness, changes in appetite or weight, dizziness, nausea, decreased libido, or upset stomach. Side effects often improve over time, but if you experience significant discomfort, talk to your healthcare provider. They may adjust your dosage or discuss other treatment options with you. 

What’s the success rate of Strattera?

A 2014 study showed that, while taking Strattera, patients saw improvement in their ADHD symptoms in 2 to 4 months. After 6 months, they reported significant improvement not only in their symptoms but also in their quality of life. With Strattera, people with ADHD felt more productive. They also had a better outlook on life, better psychological health, and improved relationships. 

Does Strattera work better than Adderall for ADHD?

Research shows that both Strattera and Adderall can help people achieve significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms. A key difference between the medications is that Adderall is a stimulant, while Strattera is not. Stimulants have a much higher potential for side effects, misuse, and withdrawal symptoms than non-stimulants. And, research suggests that Strattera is better tolerated long term. This may be something to consider when determining which medication may be right for you. 

Sources

Asian Journal of Psychiatry, The efficacy of atomoxetine in treating adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A meta-analysis of controlled trials, Vinutha Ravishankar, et. al., Dec. 2016, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1876201815300654?via%3Dihub 

Drugs.com, How long does it take for Strattera to work?, https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/how-long-take-strattera-work-3576963/  

Drugs.com, Strattera User Reviews and Ratings, https://www.drugs.com/comments/atomoxetine/strattera.html

Frontiers in Psychiatry. The Mechanism, Clinical Efficacy, Safety, and Dosage Regimen of Atomoxetine for ADHD Therapy in Children: A Narrative Review, Di Fu, et. al., Feb. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8863678/

Journal of Psychopharmacology, Efficacy of atomoxetine in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: An integrated analysis of the complete database of multicenter placebo-controlled trials, Philip Asherson, et. al., Jul. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4230847/

Lilly Investors,  FDA Approves Strattera(R) for Maintenance of ADHD in Children and Adolescents, May 2008, https://investor.lilly.com/news-releases/news-release-details/fda-approves-stratterar-maintenance-adhd-children-and 

Medline Plus, Atomoxetine, Revised Jan. 2024, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a603013.html

Reddit.com, Strattera experiences, https://www.reddit.com/r/ADHD/comments/vusizu/strattera_experiences/

StatPearls, Atomoxetine, Douglas Fedder, et. al.,  Updated Mar. 2023, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493234/

The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, Atomoxetine versus stimulants for treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Aaron P. Gibson, et. al., Jun. 2006, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16735655/#:~:text=Patients%20on%20both%20atomoxetine%20and,between%20atomoxetine%20and%20stimulant%20medications 

US Food and Drug Administration, Strattera Label, Updated Jul. 2010, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/021411s035lbl.pdf

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

If you’re having a mental health crisis or experiencing a psychiatric emergency, it’s crucial to seek immediate help from a mental healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist. You can also call your local emergency services, visit your nearest emergency room, or contact a crisis hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, by calling or texting 988 or dialing the Lifeline’s previous phone number, 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) in the U.S.

How we reviewed this article: This article goes through rigorous fact-checking by a team of medical reviewers. Reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the author.

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All professional services are provided by independent private practices via the Klarity technology platform. Klarity Health, Inc. does not provide any medical services.
If you’re having an emergency or in emotional distress, here are some resources for immediate help: Emergency: Call 911. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 988. Crisis Text Line: Text Home to 741-741
Fax:
(855) 975-3008

PO Box 5098 Redwood City, CA 94063

100 Broadway Street, Redwood City CA, 94063

If you’re having an emergency or in emotional distress, here are some resources for immediate help: Emergency: Call 911. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 988. Crisis Text Line: Text Home to 741-741
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