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Focalin vs. Strattera

Are Focalin and Strattera the Same Thing?

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) and Strattera (atomoxetine) are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Focalin and Strattera belong to different drug classes. Focalin is a central nervous system stimulant and Strattera is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).

Side effects of Focalin and Strattera that are similar include stomach upset, loss of appetite, dry mouth, or trouble sleeping (insomnia).

Side effects of Focalin that are different from Strattera include restlessness, anxiety, feeling jittery, sore throat, or headache.

Side effects of Strattera that are different from Focalin include cough, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritability, constipation, skin rash, itching, increased menstrual cramps, or sexual side effects including impotence, loss of interest in sex, or trouble having an orgasm.

Both Focalin and Strattera may interact with antidepressants.

Focalin may also interact with blood pressure medications, blood thinners, cold or allergy medicines that contain a decongestant, or seizure medicines.

Strattera may also interact with albuterol, amiodarone, bupropion, celecoxib, cimetidine, doxorubicin, methadone, metoclopramide, quinidine, ritonavir, ranitidine, terbinafine, antihistamines, or sleep medicines.

Withdrawal symptoms may occur if you suddenly stop taking Focalin.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Focalin?

Common side effects of Focalin include:

  • restlessness,
  • anxiousness,
  • feeling jittery,
  • stomach upset,
  • loss of appetite,
  • dry mouth,
  • sore throat,
  • headache, or
  • sleep problems (insomnia)

What Are Possible Side Effects of Strattera?

Common side effects of Strattera include:

  • trouble sleeping (insomnia),
  • dry mouth,
  • cough,
  • decreased appetite,
  • upset stomach,
  • nausea or vomiting,
  • dizziness,
  • drowsiness,
  • irritability,
  • constipation,
  • skin rash,
  • itching,
  • increased enstrual cramps, and
  • sexual side effects including
    • impotence,
    • loss of interest in sex, or
    • trouble having an orgasm.

SLIDESHOW

ADHD Symptoms in Children See Slideshow

What Is Focalin?

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) is a mild stimulant to the central nervous system used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What Is Strattera?

Strattera is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor medicine. It is used for the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Strattera may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

Strattera should be used as a part of a total treatment program for ADHD that may include counseling or other therapies.

Strattera has not been studied in children less than 6 years old.

What Drugs Interact With Focalin?

Focalin XR may interact with MAO inhibitors, antacids, blood pressure medications, blood thinners, clonidine, seizure medications, or antidepressants. Tell your doctor all medications you use. Focalin XR should be used only when prescribed during pregnancy. It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What Drugs Interact With Strattera?

Tell your doctor about all the medicines that you or your child takes including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Strattera and some medicines may interact with each other and cause serious side effects. Your doctor will decide whether Strattera can be taken with other medicines.

Especially tell your doctor if you or your child takes:

  • asthma medicines
  • anti-depression medicines including MAOIs
  • blood pressure medicines
  • cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants

Know the medicines that you or your child takes. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show your doctor and pharmacist.

Do not start any new medicine while taking Strattera without talking to your doctor first.

QUESTION

The abbreviated term ADHD denotes the condition commonly known as: See Answer

How Should Focalin Be Taken?

The recommended starting dose of Focalin XR is 5 mg/day for pediatric patients and 10 mg/day for adult patients. Dosage may be adjusted in 5 mg increments for pediatric patients and in 10 mg increments for adult patients.

How Should Strattera Be Used?

  • Take Strattera exactly as prescribed. Strattera comes in different dose strength capsules. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you or your child.
  • Do not chew, crush, or open the capsules. Swallow Strattera capsules whole with water or other liquids. Tell your doctor if you or your child cannot swallow Strattera whole. A different medicine may need to be prescribed.
  • Avoid touching a broken Strattera capsule. Wash hands and surfaces that touched an open Strattera capsule. If any of the powder gets in your eyes or your child's eyes, rinse them with water right away and call your doctor.
  • Strattera can be taken with or without food.
  • Strattera is usually taken once or twice a day. Take Strattera at the same time each day to help you remember. If you miss a dose of Strattera, take it as soon as you remember that day. If you miss a day of Strattera, do not double your dose the next day. Just skip the day you missed.
  • From time to time, your doctor may stop Strattera treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms.
  • Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Strattera. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Strattera. Strattera treatment may be stopped if a problem is found during these check-ups.
  • If you or your child takes too much Strattera or overdoses, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.
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References

Novartis. Focalin XR Drug Information.
https://www.focalinxr.com
Lilly. Strattera Drug Information.
http://pi.lilly.com/us/strattera-pi.pdf

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