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ADD/ADHD Medicines and Safety
The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.
The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection between antidepressants (including the non-stimulant Strattera) and an increased risk of suicide in adults aged 18-24, especially in the first one or two months of treatment.
While these risks may seem alarming, keep in mind that experts generally consider these medicines safe. Serious problems are rare. Still, you should discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.
What is the most important information I should know about Strattera?
In some children and teens, Strattera increases the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions. Results from Strattera clinical studies with over 2200 child or teenage ADHD patients suggest that some children and teenagers may have a higher chance of having suicidal thoughts or actions. Although no suicides occurred in these studies, 4 out of every 1000 patients developed suicidal thoughts. Call the doctor right away if your child or teenager has thoughts of suicide or sudden changes in mood or behavior, especially at the beginning of treatment or after a change in dose. Strattera is not approved for major depressive disorder.
Who should not take Strattera?
Strattera should not be taken if you or your child/teenager:
Are taking or have taken within the past 14 days an anti-depression medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI. You or your child/teenager should also not take an MAOI within 14 days of stopping Strattera. This is to avoid a life-threatening condition.
Have an eye problem called narrow angle glaucoma.
Are allergic to anything in Strattera.
Have or have had a rare tumor called pheochromocytoma.
Have serious heart-related problems that could be made worse from increases in heart rate or blood pressure.
What other important information should I know about Strattera?
Tell your doctor or your child/teenager’s doctor if you or your child/teenager has (or if there is a family history of) bipolar illness (manic-depressive illness) or suicidal thoughts or actions before starting Strattera. Call the doctor right away if you or your child/teenager develops new psychological symptoms such as abnormal thoughts/behaviors and/or extreme elevated or irritable moods while taking Strattera.
Strattera can cause liver injury in some patients. Call your doctor right away if you or your child/teenager has itching, right upper belly pain, dark urine, yellow skin or eyes, or unexplained flu-like symptoms.
Tell your doctor if you or your child/teenager has any heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure, or a family history of these problems. Your doctor should check you or your child/teenager carefully for heart problems before starting Strattera. Call your doctor right away if you or your child/teenager has any signs of heart problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Strattera. Sudden death has been reported in patients who have heart problems or heart defects. There have also been reports of stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure and heart rate.
Serious allergic reactions have occurred in patients taking Strattera. Call your doctor if you or your child/teenager has trouble breathing, swelling, hives, or experience other allergic reactions.
Patients taking Strattera have experienced problems passing urine, including trouble starting or keeping a urine stream, and not being able to fully empty the bladder.
Erections that won’t go away (priapism) have occurred rarely during treatment with Strattera. If you or your child/teenager has an erection that lasts more than 4 hours, seek medical help right away.
Talk to your healthcare provider if your child experiences slowing of growth (height and weight). Children should have height and weight checked often while taking Strattera, and your healthcare provider may stop Strattera treatment if a problem is found during these checkups.
Strattera may affect your ability or your child/teenager’s ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. Be careful until you know how Strattera affects you or your child/teenager.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines that you or your child/teenager 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.
What are the common possible side effects of Strattera?
The most common side effects in children and teenagers include upset stomach, decreased appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, and mood swings.
The most common side effects in adults include constipation, dry mouth, nausea, decreased appetite, dizziness, trouble sleeping, sexual side effects, menstrual cramps, and problems passing urine.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Strattera is available by prescription only.
If you are currently taking prescription medication for your symptoms and are interested in building more health and perhaps getting off your medication by addressing the cause of your health concern, please call the office and let us discuss your options. I will work with your medical doctor to restore your health and reduce or eliminate the need for medication.
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