Strattera Side Effects In Adults And Children

Last Updated: December 19, 2019

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

Strattera side effects may occur at the beginning of treatment or after prolonged use. Most of these Strattera effects are mild and decrease with time. However, some patients report experiencing symptoms that are more serious and last longer. It is, therefore, advised to seek medical assistance from a doctor to help manage the side effects of atomoxetine.

Strattera Side Effects (Adults)

Strattera side effects in adults could occur both in the long- and short-term. They may vary from mild ones such as nausea to more serious ones like heart-related problems. Another factor in adults is the Strattera dose, in terms of the amount and the length of time that the drug has been used. However, even in high doses, the chances of an atomoxetine high are minimal. The drug rarely produces a euphoric effect whatsoever in patients when taken in any amounts.

According to the National U.S. Institute of Health, there are several other factors that aggravate the side effects of Strattera in adults. Some of these factors include genetics, age, liver and kidney impairments, gender, and pregnancy, just to mention a few.

The most common Strattera side effects in adults are:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight lose
  • Dizziness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Sexual adverse reactions
  • Difficulty starting or keeping a urine stream
  • Difficulty completely emptying the bladder
  • Menstrual cramps in women
  • Allergic Reaction (hives or a skin rash)

Strattera difficulty sleeping in children

Strattera Side Effects (Children)

Atomoxetine is approved for the treatment of ADHD in children. This treatment should only be done in children above the age of six years. Strattera side effects in children may turn just as adverse as those experienced by adult users. The use of Strattera for ADHD in children below six years has not undergone an evaluation to ascertain its efficacy and effectiveness.

The following are some of Strattera common side effects in children:

  • Darkish urine
  • Feelings of nausea or vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Upset stomach
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Increased suicidal thoughts

Strattera Weight Loss

Does Strattera Cause Weight Loss?

Due to the appetite altering side effects for Strattera, there is a direct correlation between the weight of the patient and the drug. Because of atomoxetine side effects, children affected by the drug may experience slower rates of growth in height and weight gaining. So, yes, atomoxetine does cause weight loss in some patients. This effect of atomoxetine is attributed to the reduction of appetite that a patient may experience while on it. For this reason, there is a great potential to abuse this drug by those seeking to lose weight. This potential is also high for Strattera alternative meds with a similar effect on weight.

strattera weight loss in woman

Does Strattera Cause Weight Gain?

Not directly, because weight gain as a side effect of atomoxetine is within the normal range of weight fluctuations after an initial period of weight loss. These effects of atomoxetine tend to appear early in the course of treatment and then disappears as the patient continues to use the drug. Comparing Strattera side effects vs Adderall ones, a similar effect on weight is seen.

Atomoxetine Sexual Side Effects

Both men and women generally may exhibit a small or significant change in the interest of having sex as an atomoxetine HCl side effect during the short term period of usage. In men, taking atomoxetine may result in erectile dysfunction. This causes a man to experience emotional discomfort during sexual activity.

Atomoxetine side effects that affect sexual desire and sexual performance are not well researched. However, in a study by the FDA, at least 2% of adult patients taking atomoxetine experienced sexual side effects in placebo-controlled trials. Out of these, 7% of male patients reported erectile disturbance as compared to 1% for those taking placebo. Another 3% of those taking atomoxetine reported impotence.

During the first days or weeks of taking the drug, women may experience lower interest in sexual intercourse. Atomoxetine also can decrease women’s ability to perform sexually, compared with their normal state.

Strattera And Pregnancy

Findings from the Centres for Disease and Prevention (CDC) indicated an increase in the number of women taking Strattera while pregnant. The study found that 1 in every 10 women in the United States took ADHD medications during pregnancy between 2010 and 2011. The long-term effects of Strattera in these women indicated an increased likelihood of having babies with some kind of congenital disability in comparison with those women who did not take atomoxetine.

It may also be advisable to use some method of contraception to avoid getting pregnant while taking atomoxetine. Nonetheless, to avoid any associated atomoxetine HCL side effects during pregnancy, women planning to have a baby should consult a doctor.

Strattera And Breastfeeding

There is insufficient data for the adverse reactions that occur as a result of taking atomoxetine while breastfeeding. Strattera’s immediate effects in breastfed infants are minimal, according to a report from the manufacturer of atomoxetine. Traces of ingredients from atomoxetine have been found in mother’s milk in animal studies. It may, therefore, be advisable to talk to a doctor to avoid the possible side effects from Strattera to a child before taking Strattera while breastfeeding.

doctor explains a patient how long strattera side effects last

Strattera Side Effects: How Long Do They Last?

Generally, most Strattera common side effects occur during the initial phases of usage. Risks such as dizziness, fatigue, indigestion, nausea, and loss of appetite typically appear during the first period of usage since they fall under Strattera’s immediate effects. Rarely, some male patients may experience a painful and prolonged erection that lasts well up to 4 hours while under atomoxetine.

How To Manage Side Effects

One of the advantages of prescribing atomoxetine over other stimulant drugs such as Adderall is that the former has fewer adverse reactions as compared to the latter. The side effects of atomoxetine are, therefore, more manageable than stimulants ones. Most of the mild reactions of atomoxetine on the body disappear as the body adjusts itself to the treatment.

If the adverse symptoms prolong for a long period of time, patients are advised to consult a medical professional who may reduce the dosage of prescribing an alternative drug. In the case where atomoxetine HCl side effects cause abnormal heart rhythms, the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure need to be measured regularly.

Be Aware Of Strattera Misuse

The patients may experience side effects when Strattera is abused as well. People abuse the drug by either using it for another purpose other than prescribing one or in the greater dosages than recommended. In any case, misuse should be stopped as soon as it is detected or realized. In a person who cannot do it on one’s own, there are drug rehabilitation centers. With their help, the process of alcohol and drug addiction treatment is eased and well-planned to meet the personal needs of a patient.

Page Sources

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  2. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Data and Statistics About ADHD. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019.
  3. STRATTERA® (atomoxetine HCl). Eli Lilly and Company. 2002.
  4. Use of ADHD Medicine is Increasing among Pregnant Women. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018.
  5. Humphreys C, Garcia-Bournissen F, Ito S, Koren G. Exposure to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications during pregnancy. Canadian Family Physician. 2007; 53(7): 1153–1155.
  6. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Atomoxetine.

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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