Strattera is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As many as 30 percent of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also have problems with ADHD. Strattera can help improve symptoms of ADHD in autistic children. Strattera is also known by its drug name, Atomoxetine hydrochloride.
Strattera is not appropriate for pregnant women or people with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or pheochromocytoma, a tumor in the adrenal glands. Strattera should be used with caution in people with a history of liver problems, depression, and psychotic symptoms.
Unlike most other drugs for ADHD, Strattera is not a stimulant. Strattera is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Strattera is believed to work by changing the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
How do I take it?
Your doctor will likely begin your child on a low dose of Strattera and increase the dosage gradually in order to avoid side effects. Your doctor should monitor your child’s growth periodically while they are taking Strattera to ensure that the medication is not interfering with normal growth rates.
Strattera is taken orally once or twice a day. If Strattera is taken twice a day, it should be taken in morning and afternoon or early evening. Strattera can be taken with or without food.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Strattera.
In several small studies, Atomoxetine (Strattera) has produced significant improvements in hyperactivity symptoms in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
Strattera has caused suicidal thinking and psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and mania in children and adolescents. Strattera may interfere with growth in children.
Common side effects of Strattera can include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain or upset, insomnia, and a decrease in sexual ability or desire. Women taking Strattera may experience cramps and changes in menstrual periods. If you experience dizziness while taking Strattera, stand up slowly to avoid falls.
Contact your doctor if you experience pain or difficulty during urination, fast or irregular heartbeat, fainting spells, numbness or tingling in the skin, or priapism (painful or prolonged erection) in boys or men.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.
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