How Do Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors Work?

Reviewed on 10/21/2021

How do selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors work?

Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are medications prescribed to manage symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as lack of attention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors work by increasing the level of norepinephrine in the brain.

Norepinephrine is one of the chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain that plays a role in regulating attention and mood. Nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other by transmitting signals through neurotransmitters, which bind to protein molecules (receptors) on cell surfaces and initiate action.

Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors increase the level of norepinephrine by inhibiting its reabsorption (reuptake), a natural process in the brain after neurotransmission is over. An increase in norepinephrine levels is found to improve ADHD symptoms in children.

A selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, viloxazine, has been approved by the FDA in April 2021, to treat ADHD. Viloxazine was historically believed to modulate norepinephrine activity, however, later studies have demonstrated that it also modulates the activity of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation.

How are selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors used?

Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are capsules approved by the FDA for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children aged 6 to 17 years. The medication is under clinical trials for efficacy and safety in adults and not yet approved for use by adults.

What are side effects of selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors?

Side effects of selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors may include the following:

  • Somnolence (drowsiness)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Pyrexia (fever)

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are names of some selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor drugs?

Generic and brand name of the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor drug recently approved by FDA to treat ADHD is:


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