Atomoxetine is a popular ADHD treatment that works as a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about atomoxetine.
What is Atomoxetine?
Atomoxetine is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor typically prescribed to treat ADHD in children and teenagers. It works in a different way than Adderall (which works as dextroamphetamine) and Ritalin (which works as methylphenidate). It’s also not classified as a stimulant.
Atomoxetine is typically prescribed in situations where stimulants won’t work or they cause unpleasant side effects. Atomoxetine is one of three main non-stimulant ADHD treatments on the market today, including clonidine hydrochloride (Kapvay) and Guanfacine (Intuniv).
How Does Atomoxetine Work?
Instead of working as a stimulant, atomoxetine works as a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. What exactly does that mean? Well, norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for controlling behavior. When we have adequate levels of norepinephrine, we’re focused and attentive. When levels are too low, we have trouble focusing.
Atomoxetine blocks the reuptake of norepinephrine by targeting norepinephrine receptors. It prevents these receptors from absorbing as much norepinephrine, which ultimately raises levels of norepinephrine in your brain.
You take atomoxetine by mouth once or twice a day in the morning.
Atomoxetine Side Effects
Atomoxetine has been well-tolerated in most studies performed thus far. However, some of the rare side effects you need to know about include:
— Hives Or Welts
— Irregular Heartbeat
— Redness And Skin Rashes
— Hive-like Swelling Around Your Body; including on your face, eyelids, tongue, lips, throat, legs, hands, feet, or sex organs
But the most serious side effects of atomoxetine is that it may enhance suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers. That reported side effect comes from the United States National Library of Medicine’s official article on atomoxetine. Here’s what that article has to say about atomoxetine’s controversial side effect:
“Studies have shown that children and teenagers with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; more difficulty focusing, controlling actions, and remaining still or quiet than other people who are the same age) who take atomoxetine are more likely to think about killing themselves than children and teenagers with ADHD who do not take atomoxetine.”
As such, the National Institutes of Health recommends that the parents of children who take atomoxetine should watch their child’s behavior carefully.
Taking too much atomoxetine has also been associated with negative effects. It’s been shown to cause sleepiness, agitation, abnormal behavior, stomach problems, wide pupils, fast heartbeat, dry mouth, and an increase in activity or talking, for example.
Types of Atomoxetine
There are 5 different generic atomoxetine manufacturers on the market today. Together, these 5 manufacturers create 11 different types of atomoxetine (including different dosages and types of capsules). Here’s how much you can expect to pay for different types of atomoxetine:
— Attentrol (10mg, 18mg, and 25mg capsules): Made by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
— Axepta (10mg, 18mg, 25mg and 40mg tablets): Made by Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd
— Tomoxiten (18mg, 25mg, and 40mg capsules): Made by Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd
How Much Does Atomoxetine Cost?
Atomoxetine is only available through a prescription in most parts of the world.
Atomoxetine typically costs $90 for a one month supply of once-daily doses. That price is about the same regardless of the strength of the prescribed capsule (which can include 10, 18, 25, 40, or 60mg).
If you want to take a twice-daily dose of atomoxetine, then just double the price.
How to Use Atomoxetine
Atomoxetine comes in a capsule. You take the capsule by mouth. Typically, doctors recommend taking atomoxetine once per day in the morning. However, depending on your needs and daily schedule, you may be told to take one atomoxetine in the morning and another in the afternoon (two daily).
You swallow atomoxetine capsules whole without chewing, opening, or crushing them.
When doctors prescribe atomoxetine, they typically start patients on a low dose for the first three days. After those three days are over, the doctor will increase your dose, and then increase your dose again after 2 to 4 weeks (provided you haven’t experienced any side effects).