Atomoxetine is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) used in the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Atomoxetine is a selective norepinephrine (NE) reuptake inhibitor used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Also known as the marketed product Strattera, atomoxetine is used with other treatment modalities (psychological, educational, cognitive behaviour therapy, etc) to improve developmentally inappropriate symptoms associated with ADHD including distractibility, short attention span, hyperactivity, emotional lability, and impulsivity. Although the underlying pathophysiology that causes ADHD remains unclear, evidence suggests that dysregulation in noradrenergic and dopaminergic pathways plays a critical role in suboptimal executive functioning within prefrontal regions of the brain, which are involved in attention and memory.5 Atomoxetine has been shown to specifically increase NA and DA within the prefrontal cortex, but not in the nucleus accumbens (NA) or striatum.8 This is beneficial in the treatment of ADHD as DA activation in the subcortical NA and striatum is associated with many stimulant-associated side effects and an increase in abuse potential, which is a limiting factor associated with the use of stimulant medications such as Methylphenidate, Dextroamphetamine, and Lisdexamfetamine.
What is the most important information I should know about Strattera (Atomoxetine)?
Do not use atomoxetine if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
You should not use atomoxetine if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- severe heart or blood vessel problems;
- narrow-angle glaucoma; or
- pheochromocytoma (tumor of the adrenal gland).
Atomoxetine has caused stroke, heart attack, and sudden death in certain people. Tell your doctor if you have:
- heart problems or a congenital heart defect;
- high blood pressure; or
- a family history of heart disease or sudden death.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- depression, mental illness, bipolar disorder, psychosis;
- suicidal thoughts or actions;
- low blood pressure; or
- liver disease.
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking atomoxetine. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of atomoxetine on the baby.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.
Atomoxetine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old.