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Strattera side effects: A detailed guide

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More common side effectsMild side effectsSerious side effectsSide effects in childrenFAQSide effects in detailWarningsAsk your doctor
Strattera is prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor drug that may cause mild or serious side effects. These include nausea, reduced appetite, and suicidal thoughts.
Medically reviewed by Bryson Russell, PharmD, MHSA, MSc
Updated on

This article describes possible side effects of Strattera. You can explore this overview article to learn more about Strattera, including the drug’s uses, ways to save on cost, and more.

Strattera is a brand-name medication that comes as an oral capsule that you swallow. It’s available in a generic version called atomoxetine. This article describes possible side effects of Strattera.

Boxed warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents

Strattera has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For details, see the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section below.

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More common side effects of Strattera

Strattera may cause mild or serious side effects. Below are some of the more common side effects of this medication.

Commonly reported side effects of Strattera include:

Mild side effects of Strattera

Strattera may cause certain mild side effects. Usually, mild side effects are temporary and can be easily managed. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have side effects that don’t go away or become bothersome.

Mild side effects of Strattera that occurred in studies include:

Strattera may cause more mild side effects than those listed above. For details, see the drug’s prescribing information.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section below.
† An allergic reaction is possible with Strattera, but it’s unclear whether it occurred in the drug’s studies.

Serious side effects of Strattera

Strattera may cause certain serious side effects. If you have any serious side effects from Strattera, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency or your side effects feel life threatening, take immediate action. Call 911 or a local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

After the FDA approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. Visit MedWatch’s website if you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Strattera.

Serious side effects of Strattera that occurred in studies include:

  • aggressive or hostile behavior
  • changes in blood pressure or heart rate
  • heart-related problems, such as heart attack or sudden death*
  • new symptoms of mania or psychosis (loss of contact with reality)
  • priapism
  • problems urinating, such as trouble starting or not being able to empty your bladder completely
  • severe drowsiness
  • severe liver damage
  • slowed growth in height or weight in children*
  • risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents*†
  • severe allergic reaction*‡

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section below.
Strattera has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section below.
‡ An allergic reaction is possible with Strattera, but it’s unclear whether it occurred in the drug’s studies.

Suicide prevention

If you or someone you know is in crisis and considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

If you’re calling on behalf of someone else, stay with them until help arrives. You may remove weapons or substances that can cause harm if you can do so safely.

If you are not in the same household, stay on the phone with them until help arrives.

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Side effects of Strattera in children

For children, doctors prescribe Strattera to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The drug is prescribed for this purpose in children ages 6 years and older.

In studies, having thoughts about suicide was reported in children and adolescents taking Strattera. Although the reports were rare, Strattera has a boxed warning about this side effect. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Children are also at risk of slowed growth in height or weight while taking Strattera.

For details about these side effects, see the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section below.

The following side effects were most common in children:

  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue (low energy)
  • nausea or vomiting
  • reduced appetite
  • sleepiness, which can be severe

If you’d like to know more about side effects in children taking Strattera, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Common questions about side effects of Strattera

Here are answers to some common questions about side effects of Strattera. If you have other questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does Strattera cause long-term side effects?

Long-term side effects aren’t expected with Strattera. In studies, specific side effects weren’t seen in people who had taken the drug for a long time. Long lasting side effects after treatment ended also weren’t reported.

But it’s possible for children to have slowed growth in height or weight in the first year of taking Strattera. In general, children in studies caught up in their growth with continued treatment for longer than a year. For more details about this side effect, see the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section below.

Talk with your doctor if you have more questions about possible long-term side effects with Strattera.

How long do side effects of Strattera usually last?

In most cases, mild side effects of Strattera don’t last long. They tend to go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. This happens as your body gets used to the drug. But it’s possible for some side effects to continue or become severe.

If a side effect becomes bothersome, tell your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest ways to manage it.

Can Strattera cause weight gain or depression?

No, Strattera isn’t expected to cause weight gain. In studies, weight loss was reported in adults, children, and adolescents taking Strattera. In children, weight loss may be a sign of slowed growth. For more details about this side effect, see the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section below.

It’s possible for Strattera to cause depression. In studies, depression was reported in some children and adolescents taking the drug. Depression can also be a warning sign of new mental health problems or suicidal thoughts. Strattera has a boxed warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. You can read more about this side effect in the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section below.

If you have concerns about weight or depression while taking Strattera, tell your doctor. They can answer questions and suggest ways to manage these side effects.

Side effects of Strattera in detail

Below you’ll find details on some of the side effects of Strattera.

Risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents

Strattera has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

In studies, suicidal thoughts were rare in children and adolescents taking Strattera. This side effect may be serious.

No suicides happened during studies of Strattera. But in rare cases, children or adolescents had thoughts about suicide.

Warning signs and symptoms that someone may be developing suicidal thoughts include:

  • acting impulsively without thinking or engaging in harmful behaviors
  • aggression
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • feeling or acting agitated, irritable, or hostile
  • mania
  • panic attacks
  • restlessness
  • sleeping problems

Suicidal thoughts may be more common when first starting treatment and after dosage increases.

Certain factors can increase suicidal thoughts with Strattera. These include having bipolar disorder and past suicidal thoughts or actions.

Ways to manage

Doctors will monitor anyone who starts on Strattera for new or worsening mental health symptoms. Friends and family members should also be on the lookout for any new or concerning symptoms. To learn more, talk with your doctor.

If you have thoughts about dying or harming yourself, tell your doctor or call 911 or your local emergency number. 

Heart-related problems

In studies, heart-related problems were reported in people taking Strattera. This side effect may be serious.

Heart-related problems that were reported include:

Symptoms of a heart-related problem may include:

Ways to manage

Tell your doctor about any heart or blood vessel problems you have.

If you experience symptoms of a heart-related problem, get medical care immediately or call 911.

Slowed growth in height or weight in children

In studies, slowed growth in height or weight was common in children taking Strattera. This side effect may be serious.

With slowed growth, children may experience weight loss or failure to gain weight when they start taking Strattera. They may also have slowed growth in height. This can last for the first year of treatment. With continued treatment, height and weight usually stabilize. After 3 years of treatment, most children have caught up on their height and weight.

Side effects such as reduced appetite or nausea may contribute to weight loss. As a person’s body gets used to Strattera, these effects may go away.

Ways to manage

Doctors will monitor a child’s height and weight closely during Strattera treatment. If you notice growth problems or have concerns about it, tell your doctor. They can suggest ways to manage it.

Allergic reaction

For some people, Strattera can cause an allergic reaction.

Symptoms can be mild or serious, and they may include:

  • itchiness
  • skin rash
  • swelling under the skin, usually affecting eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

Ways to manage

For mild allergic reaction symptoms, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may recommend treatments to help manage your symptoms. They’ll also let you know whether you should keep taking the medication.

For severe allergic reaction symptoms, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms require immediate medical care because they can become life threatening. If you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Strattera, your doctor may recommend taking a different medication instead.

Warnings for Strattera

Below are some factors you may want to discuss with your doctor before taking Strattera.

Boxed warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents

Strattera has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

For details, see the “Side effects of Strattera in detail” section above.

Other warnings

It may not be safe for you to take Strattera if you have specific health conditions. These are sometimes called drug-condition interactions. Other things may also affect whether Strattera is a safe treatment option for you.

Before taking Strattera, tell your doctor about your health and medications you take. Things to consider include:

Strattera and pregnancy

It’s not known whether Strattera should be taken during pregnancy. If you’re planning a pregnancy or can become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking this medication.

Your doctor may talk with you about a pregnancy registry. This registry monitors the outcome of taking Strattera during pregnancy. It helps researchers learn more about the effects of Strattera during pregnancy. You can learn more or register by visiting the website or calling 866-961-2388.

Strattera and breastfeeding

It’s not known whether Strattera should be taken while breastfeeding. If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor before taking this medication.

Strattera and alcohol

Strattera is not known to interact with alcohol.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe to consume it during your treatment with Strattera.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes common and serious side effects of Strattera. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they can discuss possible side effects with you. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about treatment with this medication.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How do the side effects of Strattera compare with those of other medications that can treat ADHD?
  • Am I at higher risk of side effects than other people?
  • What can I do to prevent or manage the most common side effects of Strattera?

Disclaimer: Optum Perks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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