Strattera is the brand name of the medication atomoxetine, a medication that helps treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Strattera is designed to address ADHD patients, like paying attention, staying focused, concentrating, and controlling impulsive behaviors. While this medication is relatively safe to take when taken as directed by a doctor, it’s important to speak to the prescribing doctor when stopping. Strattera withdrawal is a common side effect of suddenly quitting the drug, which can lead to uncomfortable symptoms.
Strattera is the first non-stimulant medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ADHD. While Strattera and other non-stimulant medications are considered to be less effective than psychostimulants in treating ADHD, they could be a safer alternative for some patients. For this reason, atomoxetine is considered a second or third-line medication.
Strattera works by increasing the amount of norepinephrine in the central nervous system. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter and hormone that plays an important role in your body’s fight-or-flight response. This response appears to help alleviate ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Strattera comes in capsules and different doses, including 10, 18, 25, 40, and 60 mg strengths. It’s intended to be taken orally, usually twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. The dosage and frequency of use are determined by the doctor and decided based on the individual’s symptoms, medical history, and other factors.
It can take a few weeks for a person’s body to become accustomed to taking Strattera. Common side effects that patients may experience in the beginning include:
These side effects usually dissipate as more time passes and the person’s body gets into the rhythm of taking the medication.
Although Strattera isn’t addictive like stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall, patients should always set up a meeting with a doctor if they’re no longer interested in taking it. It’s important to follow the schedule provided by a doctor when taking any prescription medication to prevent a reaction known as withdrawal.
However, while this reaction is common with medications that impact chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, they’re rare if non-existent with medications like Strattera. Atomoxetine withdrawal is rare and typically doesn’t occur.
Unlike other medications that cause withdrawals when a person who’s been taking it for a long time suddenly stops or cuts back, Strattera doesn’t result in a “crash.” Normally, withdrawal symptoms are the result of physical dependence, which is when the body becomes accustomed to a substance to the point where it needs it to function normally.
Physical drug dependence develops over time and occurs with most medications, whether or not they can lead to a substance use disorder. When someone who’s developed a physical dependence on a substance, they may experience withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop using them. For this reason, it’s important to discuss a tapering schedule with your doctor should you choose to stop taking this medication.
Strattera doesn’t really cause withdrawal symptoms, so there’s no withdrawal timeline. However, it is important to know how long Strattera stays in your system to prevent intoxication and take it properly.
Initially, it can take about 4 to 8 weeks for Strattera to start working and for the body to become accustomed to certain side effects. Strattera’s half-life is about 5 hours, and it can take several half-lives for a drug to be eliminated from a person’s system. The half-life will vary from person to person due to differences in rates of metabolism and other individual factors.
Although atomoxetine withdrawal symptoms, as well as addiction, aren’t common, it is possible to become psychologically and emotionally reliant on any substance, including this one. Strattera can be effective for people with ADHD, some of whom may begin misusing their medication because they believe it will aid in their school or work performance. Additionally, many people believe that ADHD medications can help them study or work more effectively, which isn’t the case. As a result, many individuals become engaged in prescription drug abuse.
If you or someone you know is addicted to a medication or other substance, our residential Christian drug rehab can help. We offer prescription drug addiction treatment that incorporates detox and therapy to help clients recover from physical and psychological symptoms.