Strattera Drug Class: Is It Controlled Substance?

Last Updated: December 19, 2019

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

Strattera is a drug commonly prescribed to treat ADHD. However, many people, even those who use it, do not know the Strattera drug classification. The truth behind the atomoxetine drug class tends to be surprising. Keep reading to find out atomoxetine drug class.

Is Strattera A Controlled Substance?

Atomoxetine is not a controlled substance if looking at the DEA Schedule. Scheduled drugs are those in a class with a high potential for abuse. Atomoxetine is not considered a substance of abuse, and as such, it is not in any of the classes of controlled drugs.

While there isn’t a Strattera schedule through the DEA, that does not mean that people have open access to the medication. Atomoxetine hydrochloride is only available with a prescription. As such, many people may consider it a controlled substance in a colloquial use of the term. Given the potential for atomoxetine adverse effects, it is likely to remain a prescription-only medication.

strattera drug class is not stimulant

Is Strattera A Stimulant?

Many assume that the atomoxetine drug class is stimulant. This is logical to assume, as it treats ADHD, and most of these medications are central nervous system stimulants. However, atomoxetine is not a stimulant at all.

Non-stimulant ADHD treatment options are becoming more prevalent, with atomoxetine being the most well-known in its class. Instead of stimulating the CNS, Strattera, as a non-stimulant, increases norepinephrine in the brain. As such, the way it works on the body, and even the Strattera euphoria some report to experience, is contradictory to the way stimulants act on the body.

Is Strattera A Narcotic?

Narcotic is a term that is used to refer to opioid class pain medications, encompassing both prescription and street drugs. Strattera is not an opioid and, therefore, is not a narcotic.

While some patients might find that it does help a bit with chronic pain, the atomoxetine drug class is not designed to treat or manage pain. It does not occupy the opioid receptors in the body, which means it is not an opioid. It is also not a powerful pain reliever. As such, it does not meet any definition of narcotic.

Strattera drug class is not amphetamine

Is Strattera An Amphetamine?

The most well-known ADHD medications are stimulants of the amphetamine class. It is easy to assume then that atomoxetine classification would be the same, yet it is not an amphetamine.

Substances in the amphetamine class primarily work by increasing levels of dopamine and speeding up the processes of the central nervous system. Strattera does not increase dopamine, nor does it speed up the CNS. This is why when people look at Strattera and Adderall, they might prefer the former.

Is Strattera An Antidepressant?

The correct drug class for atomoxetine is antidepressant. Specifically, atomoxetine’s drug class is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).

While antidepressants may seem like an odd drug classification for ADHD meds, some of these medications have been found to be strong alternatives to stimulant medications. The Strattera antidepressant is rarely used to treat actual depression, though. In fact. Strattera SNRI for depression is considered off-label use.

ingredients in Strattera

Strattera Ingredients

Knowing the atomoxetine drug classification is important. However, just as vital is knowing what is in Strattera. The ingredients of the drug can be broken down into two classes: active ingredients and inactive ingredients.

Active ingredients are those that have a direct impact on the body and give the medication its therapeutic benefits, as well as determine its drug class. They remain the same whether or not someone is using a name-brand or generic version of the drug. In Strattera, the active ingredient is atomoxetine hydrochloride.

Inactive ingredients are those without a therapeutic action on the user, but that are needed to do things like bind the pill together, help with digestion, or give the medication color, among other things. These have no impact on the drug class. The inactive ingredients will vary between manufacturers, which can mean that someone might be able to take one version of the drug, but not another. However, these variations do not change the atomoxetine drug class.

Inactive ingredients used in some versions of atomoxetine include:

  • Pregelatinized starch – to aid in dissolving the medication in the stomach.
  • Dimethicone to assist in the body’s processing of the medication.
  • Gelatin to create the capsule shell for the medication.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate to aid in dissolving the tablet.
  • FD&C Blue No. 2 to give the medication color.
  • Synthetic yellow iron oxide to give the medication color.
  • Titanium dioxide to give the medication color.
  • Edible black ink to allow the manufacturer to label the pill.

Strattera Misuse

While it is generally considered a low-risk medication, patients can end up abusing Strattera. When this happens, drug rehab centers can help the user get clean. There are many options for substance abuse treatment in these facilities so that a patient can choose the most suited one.

Page Sources

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  3. Narcotics (Opioids). United States 
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  4. Budur K, Mathews M, Adetunji B, Mathews M, Mahmud J. Non-stimulant treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2005; 2(7): 44–48.

Published on: November 13th, 2019

Updated on: December 19th, 2019

About Author

Roger Weiss, MD

Dr. Roger Weiss is a practicing mental health specialist at the hospital. Dr. Weiss combines his clinical practice and medical writing career since 2009. Apart from these activities, Dr. Weiss also delivers lectures for youth, former addicts, and everyone interested in topics such as substance abuse and treatment.


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