Strattera, Atomoxetine, Kids and ADHD Inattentive

One of the questions that I get asked frequently is whether Strattera or Atomoxetine works for kids with ADHD Inattentive.  As you may remember from our review of ADHD Inattentive medication, Strattera is a non-stimulant treatment for ADHD.  It is not a schedule II drug so it is not a controlled substance and is considered to be non-addicting and for many parents and patients, this drug is less scary than the standard ADHD Inattentive medications which are in the Ritalin or Adderall families.

Strattera acts on the norepinephrine neurotransmitter which is a brain component that is thought to play a large part in the control of attention, alertness and arousal levels.  Because people with ADHD Inattentive (ADHD-I,  ADHD-PI) are known to have issues with focus and alertness, it has been proposed that Strattera might be a  perfect medication for their symptoms.

No studies, that I know of, have been performed looking at how and if Atomoxetine helps ADHD-PI but a brand new study published in Psychiatry Investigation has found that at a dose of 1.2 mg/kg/day or a dose of about 50 mg per day, which is the dose of  the average 75 pound child, Strattera helps ADHD children ages 6-18 years of age.  The study found improvements on both inattention scores as well as impulsive behavior and hyperactivity scores.

Unfortunately, the study also found that most of the kids treated will have at least one side effect that will be mild to moderate.  Strattera comes with a black box warning because of an increased risk of suicide in teenagers who take this medication but this is not the most common side effect.  The most common side effects include irritability, sleepiness, nausea and abdominal pain.  Slowly increasing the dosage to the target dose of no more than 1.2 mg per kg per day seems to lessen side effects.

Strattera helps ADHD Inattentive but other studies have found that, when compared to the stimulants, it does not, in most people perform better.  I know of patients with ADHD Inattentive who have had great relief of their symptoms using Strattera and I know of patients where Strattera has simply not worked at all.

As we have discussed before, people with ADHD Inattentive symptoms (or any ADHD symptoms for that matter) are not a uniform group.  They are all different, they have varying degrees of other mood issues, and they are all unique in the way their symptoms present and manifest themselves.  It is very likely that the brain processes of people with ADHD-I are all unique as well so a medication that may work well for one person, will not work at all for another.

I know that this is not what you wanted to hear but there you have it.  Please comment below if your ADHD Inattentive symptoms  been helped by Atomoxetine or Strattera.  I would love to hear from you!!


  1. Strattera was the first drug I tried, a couple of years ago. In hindsight, what a trainwreck, mostly because even at a low dose (40mg...I'm an adult female that weighs 110lbs) the nausea was atrocious. However, as you say...drugs are funny, they can be great for some people and horrible for others. I will say this: trying it gave me some new perspectives that I needed at the time, and everyone has to start somewhere. It DID make me feel more relaxed, which for me was a good thing...I've moved on now though, to other drugs that work better for me...

  2. Thanks for letting us know. It is helpful to hear what others have experienced even though our experiences may vary.

  3. i have adhd and i know its nothing to laugh at, and my boyfriend has helped me believe in myself and i know i can get through this!


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