Strattera is a medication that a doctor prescribes to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Someone taking Strattera should avoid drinking alcohol.
Strattera can help people with ADHD improve their attention levels and decrease hyperactivity. It is suitable for both children and adults.
Strattera is a brand name for atomoxetine. It is usually available as a capsule, which a person takes once or twice daily.
However, individuals should not mix Strattera and alcohol, as this can result in harmful side effects.
In this article, we look at the safety of mixing alcohol and Strattera. We also examine how Strattera works, its side effects, and other interactions with the medication.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a person taking Strattera should avoid drinking alcohol. Mixing Strattera with alcohol may worsen a person’s condition and increase the side effects of the medication, such as sedation.
A 2018 study highlights a link between ADHD and alcohol and substance use disorder. Strattera may help individuals recover from alcohol dependency if they know to avoid drinking alcohol with the medication.
A 2017 review states that people receiving atomoxetine treatment had reduced cravings for alcohol compared with a placebo group.
In contrast, a 2015 review found no harmful effects of combining alcohol with ADHD medication.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says that consumption of alcohol and Strattera together did not alter the intoxicating effects of alcohol. However, it does not state whether a person should combine the two.
When a person combines alcohol with Strattera, they may experience an increase in adverse reactions relating to the medication, such as:
- stomach pain
- dry mouth
- mood swings
- decreased sex drive
- difficulty urinating
- muscle pain
- hot flashes
- loss of coordination
- concentration difficulties
- difficulty performing mechanical skills
Strattera, or atomoxetine, is part of a group of medications known as selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
SNRIs can target symptoms relating to ADHD, such as concentration difficulties, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. This is because these medications increase the levels of norepinephrine in the brain.
Norepinephrine is a naturally occurring substance in the brain that acts as a neurotransmitter and a hormone. People with ADHD have low levels of norepinephrine, resulting in concentration difficulties, a lack of energy, and potential depression.
When people with low levels of norepinephrine take medications such as Strattera, their levels of norepinephrine increase, which helps manage their symptoms.
A 2016 analysis looked into studies investigating atomoxetine as a treatment for ADHD. The researchers concluded that this medication is effective in managing ADHD in adults.
Strattera may negatively interact with the following drugs.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants (MAOIs)
Doctors often prescribe MAOIs to treat depression. Examples of MAOIs include:
A person should not take Strattera if they currently take or have taken MAOIs in the last
Combining these two medications may result in serious side effects, including:
- autonomic dysfunction
- extreme agitation
- high blood pressure
In some cases, it can be fatal.
Some antidepressants, including fluoxetine, paroxetine, and quinidine, are cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) inhibitors. Cytochromes are enzymes that have a role in metabolizing drugs, while CYP2D6 helps metabolize Strattera.
If a person takes Straterra alongside CYP2D6 inhibitors, this can result in
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- heart palpitations
Blood pressure medication
Strattera can alter blood pressure, so individuals should use it cautiously alongside any blood pressure controlling medication.
Albuterol is a medication for individuals with conditions such as:
When people combine Strattera and albuterol, they may experience increased blood pressure and heart rate.
Those with the following medical conditions should avoid taking Straterra:
- narrow-angle glaucoma
- cardiac conditions, such as irregular heart rate
- pheochromocytoma, a tumor affecting the inner part of the adrenal gland located just above the kidneys
It is important to note that Strattera has an FDA-required black box warning for suicidal ideation. However, the risk is
While Strattera is not an addictive drug, addiction may be possible.
Strattera misuse refers to when a person takes:
- more than their prescribed dose
- another individual’s Strattera medication
- the medication to experience a high
In 2017, approximately 1 in 13 people required treatment for substance misuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ADHD medication is one of the three most common medications individuals misuse.
The first treatment for Strattera misuse will usually involve a doctor reducing a person’s medication. They will then focus on managing their withdrawal symptoms. People may also require behavioral therapy to alter their addictive behavior.
Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications to help recover from Strattera misuse.
Research suggests that over half of adults and young people with ADHD also have substance use disorder. This may indicate that individuals with ADHD are more susceptible to alcohol dependency, attempting to self-medicate to help with their difficulties.
However, alcohol may intensify the symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsivity and concentration difficulties.
There are various alternative medications to Strattera for treating ADHD, such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. However, these are all stimulant medications, while alcohol is a depressant. Combining a stimulant and a depressant may result in severe consequences.
A person taking ADHD medication should discuss their alcohol intake with a doctor.
Strattera is a type of medication to treat ADHD.
Some research suggests combining alcohol with Strattera may worsen ADHD symptoms and result in adverse side effects.
This medication may also interact with some other medications. A person should always discuss alcohol intake and additional medications with a healthcare professional before taking Strattera for ADHD.