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Strattera vs. Ritalin

Reviewed on 2/5/2019

Are Strattera and Ritalin the Same Thing?

Strattera (atomoxetine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate) are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Ritalin is also used to treat narcolepsy.

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

Side effects of Strattera and Ritalin that are similar include trouble sleeping (insomnia), decreased appetite, stomach upset or pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or skin rash.

Side effects of Strattera that are different from Ritalin include dry mouth, cough, drowsiness, irritability, constipation, itching, increased menstrual cramps, impotence, loss of interest in sex, or trouble having an orgasm.

Side effects of Ritalin that are different from Strattera include nervousness, agitation, anxiety, weight loss, palpitations, headache, vision problems, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, sweating, psychosis, and numbness, tingling, or cold feeling in your hands or feet.

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 menstrual cramps, and
  • sexual side effects including
    • impotence,
    • loss of interest in sex, or
    • trouble having an orgasm.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Ritalin?

Common side effects of Ritalin include:

  • nervousness,
  • agitation,
  • anxiety,
  • sleep problems (insomnia),
  • stomach pain,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weight loss,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • dizziness,
  • palpitations,
  • headache,
  • vision problems,
  • increased heart rate,
  • increased blood pressure,
  • sweating,
  • skin rash,
  • psychosis, and
  • numbness,
  • tingling, or
  • cold feeling in your hands or feet.

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 Is Ritalin?

Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine. It is used for the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Ritalin may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

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

Ritalin is also used in the treatment of a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.

Ritalin is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep Ritalin in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Ritalin may harm others, and is against the law.

Tell your doctor if you or your child have (or have a family history of) ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines or street drugs.

SLIDESHOW

ADHD Symptoms in Children See Slideshow

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.

What Drugs Interact With Ritalin?

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you or your child takes including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Ritalin and some medicines may interact with each other and cause serious side effects. Sometimes the doses of other medicines will need to be adjusted while taking Ritalin.

Your doctor will decide whether Ritalin can be taken with other medicines.

Especially tell your doctor if you or your child takes:

  • anti-depression medicines including MAOIs
  • seizure medicines
  • blood thinner medicines
  • 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 Ritalin without talking to your doctor first.

How Should Strattera Be Taken?

  • 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.

How Should Ritalin Be Taken?

  • Take Ritalin exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you or your child.
  • Ritalin is usually taken 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Take Ritalin 30 to 45 minutes before a meal.
  • From time to time, your doctor may stop Ritalin treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms.
  • Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Ritalin. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Ritalin. Ritalin treatment may be stopped if a problem is found during these check-ups.
  • If you or your child takes too much Ritalin or overdoses, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

QUESTION

Who is at greater risk for developing ADHD? See Answer
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References


FDA. Strattera Product Information.

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/021411s035lbl.pdf

FDA. Ritalin Product Information.

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2013/010187s077lbl.pdf
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