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ADHD

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Strattera vs Adderall: Which should I take to treat my ADHD?

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Apr 16, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

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Treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be a complex process, but many available medications can make managing the disorder much easier. Strattera and Adderall are 2 of the many drugs used to treat ADHD symptoms. So, what are the differences between Strattera vs Adderall?

One of these prescription medications could be an effective method of treating your ADHD symptoms. With Klarity’s help, you can be connected with a medical expert in as little as 48 hours to begin managing your ADHD. 
Find a provider today to understand your condition and schedule your first appointment online or in person. 

Licensed providers on Klarity provide personalized treatment. Find a provider that matches your needs and preferences.

Strattera vs Adderall: What’s the difference?

What is Strattera?

Forms and dosages

Strattera comes in capsules in 7 different dosages ranging from as low as 10 milligrams to as high as 100 milligrams. Strattera does not have a separate extended-release form, but it also doesn’t have to be taken as frequently as Adderall.

Indications and conditions treated

Strattera is primarily used to treat ADHD, but its effect on the brain also makes it an effective way to restore the balance of neurotransmitters.

Costs

The cost of Strattera depends on the dosage and the number of capsules. The generic medication (atomoxetine) can be as low as $137 for 30 of the 10 milligram capsules. Most health insurance will cover generic Strattera.

Side effects

Common side effects of Strattera include the following:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decrease in sexual desire

Notify your provider immediately if you experience serious side effects, such as an irregular heartbeat, fainting, numbness, or difficulty urinating.

Warnings for use

Unlike Adderall and other stimulants used to treat ADHD, Strattera isn’t a controlled substance, and there isn’t a high risk of abuse or dependence. Studies have reported very few cases of inappropriate self-use, and there is no evidence of rebound symptoms or withdrawal upon stopping the medication. Strattera affects norepinephrine levels, and it takes a few weeks to take effect, making it difficult to abuse. 

What is Adderall?

Forms and dosages

Adderall comes in tablets that range from 5 milligrams to 30 milligrams. These immediate-release tablets are typically taken 2 to 3 times per day, but the extended-release form of the medication (Adderall XR) should only need to be taken once a day. These extended-release capsules have a similar dosage range as the immediate-release tablets.

Indications and conditions treated

Adderall is FDA-approved to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. It also has several off-label uses, including the treatment of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Costs

Without insurance, brand-name Adderall can cost around $11 per 5 milligram tablet, with a 100-count supply costing as much as $1,138. Adderall’s generic form can be much more affordable, ranging from $24-$64 for a 100-count supply of 5 milligram tablets. Extended-release capsules of generic Adderall cost between $68-$144 for a 100-count supply. Due to their increased efficacy over time, extended-release capsules tend to cost more than their immediate-release counterparts.

Side effects

Some of the common side effects of Adderall are similar to those of Strattera

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping

More serious side effects include the following:

  • Behavior changes
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Signs of blood flow problems

Contact your provider immediately if you experience shortness of breath, fainting, severe headaches, extreme tiredness, or blurred vision.

Warnings for use

Adderall is classified as a Schedule II stimulant due to its potential for abuse and dependence. This classification highlights the importance of cautious and responsible usage. While the drug carries inherent risks, individuals can receive the intended therapeutic benefits of Adderall while minimizing the potential for abuse by adhering to the prescribed dosage and taking it under the supervision of a certified healthcare professional.

Strattera vs Adderall: difference at a glance 

StratteraAdderall
Drug ClassSelective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)Schedule II stimulant
Brand / Generic StatusBrand name for atomoxetineBrand name for amphetamine salts
Form(s) of the DrugCapsulesImmediate release tablets
Standard Dosage10 mg to 100 mg5 mg to 30 mg tablets
Conditions TreatedFDA-approved uses:
• ADHD

Off-label uses:
• Depression
FDA-approved uses:
• ADHD
• Narcolepsy (sleep disorder)

Off-label uses:
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Bipolar disorder
Cost

(Prices per drugs.com at the time of publication)
Brand-name Strattera:
• $425.86 for 30 10 mg capsules
• $497.57 for 30 100 mg capsules*

*Insurance may significantly lower the price
Brand-name Adderall:
• $8 per 5 mg tablet
• $237 for a 30-day supply

Generic form (amphetamine salts):
• $13 for 30 days of 5mg tablets
• $85 for 30 extended-release pills
Side-EffectsCommon side effects:
• Upset stomach
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Constipation
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Tiredness
• Trouble sleeping
• Decrease in sexual desire

Serious side effects:
• Irregular heartbeat
• Fainting
• Numbness
• Difficulty urinating
Common side-effects:
• Decreased appetite
• Weight loss
• Dry mouth
• Nausea
• Headache
• Fever
• Trouble sleeping

Serious side-effects:
• Signs of blood flow problems
• Behavior changes
• Uncontrolled movements
• Shortness of breath
• Irregular heartbeat
• Seizures
• Trouble speaking
Warnings For Use• Potentially addictive
• Overuse may cause serotonin syndrome

Drug interactions:
• MOA inhibitors
• Some blood pressure medications
• Some antidepressants
• Albuterol
• Carries very high risk of dependency
• Overuse may cause serotonin syndrome


Drug interactions:
• SSRIs and SNRIs
• Blood pressure medication
• Acid reflux medication
• Blood thinners
• Cold or allergy medication
• Opioid-based medications
• Seizure medication

Which ADHD medication should you take?

Because Adderall is a stimulant medication and Strattera isn’t, they work in different ways, and you may benefit from one more than the other. For example, Strattera may take up to 8 weeks to reach its full therapeutic potential, but once it does, the effects last for 24 hours. 

Adderall IR and Adderall XR, on the other hand, take effect within 30 minutes to an hour, but the effects of Adderall IR wear off after four hours (or after 12 hours for Adderall XR capsules).

In addition, there is a higher risk of addiction and dependence to Adderall than to Strattera because Adderall is a stimulant and Strattera isn’t. This may be a concern for people with past substance abuse issues, so it’s best to speak with a provider like the ones on Klarity. 

Start ADHD treatment today with help from Klarity

Klarity offers quick ADHD treatment, so you can start feeling better faster. Find a provider online or in person today. 

SOURCES

“Strattera: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects.” Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Drugs.com.

https://www.drugs.com/strattera.html

“Adderall: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & Safety Info.” Kaci Durbin, MD. Drugs.com.

https://www.drugs.com/adderall.html

“ADDERALL- dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate tablet.” DailyMed.com.

https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=f22635fe-821d-4cde-aa12-419f8b53db81

“STRATTERA- atomoxetine hydrochloride capsule.” DailyMed.com.

https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=b080e703-3fab-4914-8529-ffaa59da693d

“Strattera vs Adderall: What is the difference?” Drugs.com.

https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/strattera-adderall-difference-3121641

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