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Strattera, Best Mental Disorder Prevention/Treatment Drug & Known Side Effects

By Miriatu

Strattera

The goal of every parent is to have children who are normal and with good behavior; that is to say children who can talk, walk, and listen well and with good memory. But this is not always the case as some children in their early stages of growth (as low as 7 years old) can develop some sort of mental disorder. These children have attention problems and are said to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They are unable to carry out their normal activities. Some are faced with the problem of slow speech, low appetite, hearing, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, walking, memory and other related problems that make learning difficult. At times such children behave abnormal. Once these symptoms are noticed or suspected, the child should be reported to a medical care unit. If diagnosis suspects ADHD, the individual can be treated with STRATERRA. Strattera is always prescribed as part of a well-defined ADHD treatment program. The program consists of psychological, educational, and social tips for the treatment of ADHD.

Atomoxetine HCL, the active component of Strattera has been used to safely and effectively prevent and treat ADHD in children and adults. This drug is a selective or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). SNRIs, such as Strattera work by causing the increase of norepinephrine (a natural substance in the brain) production. Norepinephrine works by activating or increasing normal brain activities or functions.

Important Facts

Parents and caregivers should consider the importance of this medication to the health of the child or adolescence. Thus, closely monitor the subjects undergoing Strattera therapy for any increase in abnormal behavior such as the attempt of suicide, symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting and drug abuse. Remember that there are a good number of benefits and side effects associated with Strattera uses, thus stick to the exact prescribed Strattera dosage and dosage regimen.

Make sure you inform your health care provider about the various medicines you have ever taken or are taking. These should include all prescribed and non-prescribed (over the counter) medicines, herbal medicines and vitamins.

You should not take Strattera if you were just from being treated with any depression or other mental problems with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) less than 14 days. The use of Strattera in such patients may result in severe side effects that are often fatal. You should not also take this medicine if you are diagnosed with narrow angle glaucoma (eye disease), allergic to any of the components of Strattera including AmotoxetineHCl.

Side Effects of Strattera

There have been recorded evidences of some side effects of Strattera. Some of these unwanted reactions have been said to be serious with lower frequency of administration. Thus grouped here as major side effects of Strattera while others are mild and more common which are jointly referred to as minor Strattera side effects. 

Major Side Effects Strattera

The following Strattera side effects are said to be severe and require an urgent medical help. You should therefore call the nearest emergency unit or your health care provider for an immediate help once you suspect or notice any of these symptoms.

  • irregular heartbeat
  • heart attack or stroke
  • itching
  • convulsions
  • trouble breathing
  • itching or swelling
  • dark colored urine
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • chest, jaw or left arm pain, shortness of breath
  • unusual sweating 
  • fatal liver disease
  • dark urine
  • persistent nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach or abdominal pain
  • difficulty urinating
    • confusion, slurred speech and
    • sudden vision changes
    • Low rate of growth (height and weight) in children
    • loss of appetite
    • yellowing eyes or skin
      • weakness on one side of the body
  • fainting
  • redness of the skin
  • large, hive-like swelling (rash) on the hands, face, eyelids, throat, lips, tongue, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • intense dizziness
  • painful, prolonged erection of your penis
  • pain in the right upper belly or tenderness
  • flu-like symptoms
  • loss of bladder control
  • pelvic pain in male
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • numbness or tingling, and fainting

 

Minor Side Effects Strattera

Some of the Strattera side effects do not need any medical help (they usually disappear as the body gets use to the drug). However, some may persist, requiring the help of a medical professional.  Your health care provider should be able to advice you on the various ways to prevent or reduce the frequency of occurrence of these unwanted reactions. If any thus persist, you should report it to your health care provider or pharmacist who should be able to help you deal with them. Below is a list of some of the more common and also less severe side effects Strattera.

  • belching
  • decreased appetite
  • decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • shortness of breath
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • stomach discomfort, upset, cramps, or pain
  • blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
  • bloated or full feeling
  • crying
  • decreased weight
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with moving
  • ear drainage
  • earache or pain in the ear
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • feeling of warmth, redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • passing gas
  • sinus headache
  • shivering
  • sleep disorder

 

  • cough
  • decrease in the frequency of urination
  • fever
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • painful urination
  • unusual stopping of menstrual bleeding
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • abnormal dreams
  • abnormal orgasm
  • back pain
  • chills
  • cold sweats
  • confusion
  • cough
  • cracked, dry, or scaly skin
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • increased or sudden sweating
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • mood swings
  • muscle aches, cramping, pains, or stiffness

 

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • change in amount of bleeding during periods
  • change in pattern of monthly periods
  • difficulty or pain or burning in passing urine (dribbling)
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • indigestion
  • irritability
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • tightness of the chest
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • change in hearing
  • change or problem with discharge of semen
  • feeling unusually cold
  • frequent urination
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • groin pain
  • swelling of the skin
  • swollen joints
  • swollen, tender prostate

 

 

People undergoing Strattera therapy may observe other unwanted reactions not listed here. You should talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the potential Strattera side effects with respect to your medical record. You should also report all side effects of Strattera to your health care provider.

In order to reduce the intensity or severity of effects of any side effect of this drug, you should immediately stop taking it once you suspect or notice any of the symptoms listed here or others that may occur to you and seek for more help from your doctor or pharmacist. Your health care provider may administer other drugs to reduce the severity of the effects, advice you to discontinue Strattera therapy completely, or adjust your dosage of Strattera (remove you from higher dosage strength to a lower effective dosage regimen), or put you on another ADHD therapy.

 

Warnings and Precautions

-      Potential to Drug Abuse

The use of Strattera in adults may be associated with high potential to abuse. Taking this drug at a high dose or for longer periods of time can cause drug dependence. This should be discouraged. Patients undergoing Strattera therapy should be put under close watch as there is the possibility of them taking more than required dose or getting extra drug from other distributors. Misuse or abuse of this drug may cause serious cardiovascular reactions and sudden death. 

-      Suicidal Thoughts or Ideas

Short-term clinical studies suggested the contribution of Strattera in increasing risk of suicidal thoughts in both children and adults. Subjects undergoing Strattera therapy should be closely monitored as many may develop the feeling or idea to commit suicide or they may develop a behavior that constantly make them want to commit suicide. Thus, care should be taken when Strattera is given to children and adults and only subjects whose clinical health benefits overweight the potential risks to Strattera should be treated with this drug.

-      Strattera Drug Dependence

Taking this drug for long periods can be associated with some drug dependence reactions such as chronic psychological reactions and increase tolerance with some degree of abnormal behavior (depending on the subject’s clinical record).  There have also been some cases of serious psychotic episodes reactions (especially with parenteral abuse) to some subjects that may be associated with Strattera. Thus, patients with a history of drug dependence or substance abuse (such as alcoholism), should be treated with caution. After Strattera therapy is discontinued, post withdrawer symptoms may include severe depression, hence there should be a monitoring program in place. There may also be the reoccurrence of some symptoms that may need medical help.

-      Severe liver injury

Some report from users suggested the involvement of Strattera in some cases of severe injury. Although there is no verifiable evidence of Strattera involvement in such liver defects, there has been some disturbing situation of severe liver injury that were considered possibly related to Strattera in clinical studies. Considering the fact that this drug is eliminated by liver metabolism, harsh liver attack as a result of such drug may potentially degenerates to acute liver failure which may, in some cases lead to death or the need for a liver transplant. For these reasons, Strattera should be given with caution and only to patients whose clinical records warrant its use. However, patients with a history of liver disease should not be treated with Strattera and if during therapy, diagnosis indicates symptoms of liver problems such as dark urine, jaundice, right upper quadrant tenderness, Strattera should be discontinued immediately and a localized therapy instituted.

-      Serious cardiovascular Problem

There have been some reports of sudden death, stroke, and heart failure in children and adults that can be associated with Strattera therapy at the prescribed doses. While the direct implication of Strattera in these situations is still unclear, adults are said to be at higher risk to serious structural cardiac abnormalities, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, or other serious cardiac problems than children. Thus, people with a history of any cardiac or heart problem should not be treated with Strattera. Also, caution should be taken when this medicine is administered to patients whose clinical records suggest they may be at high risk to develop any cardiac problem. 

Dosage of Strattera

Strattera may be prescribed by your health care provider if your clinical record or that of your child put its benefits far above its potential side effects. It is recommended to begin Strattera therapy with the lowest possible dosage and for the shortest possible time. Higher dosage of Strattera (1.2mg/kg) may be suggested in children and adults with acute ADHD. This medicine may be taken at once in the morning or evening (following a once daily dosage regimen) or split in half and taken in the morning and evening (following a twice daily dosage regimen).

Patients programmed to take Strattera in the build-up or maintenance phase should generally be continued on the same dose used to achieve a response in the open label stage. If your health care provider recommend you take this drug for an extended period, he should also initiate a periodically reevaluation program for the long-term usefulness of the drug.

You should not open, grind, break, or chew the capsules. The tablet should be taken whole.

Once an overdose with Strattera is suspected you should immediately call the emergency help service or poison help center for an emergency help. 

You should strictly adhere to the dosage regimen of the drug. You should never double dose or take multiple doses.

Storage conditions of Strattera

Store this drug at room temperature 77°F (25°C). Avoid direct sunlight, contact with moisture or water and keep it from the reach of children. Do not take this medicine, if the capsule has been opened, broken or if found to have expired. You should dispose of all medicines following the best environmental practices.

Use of Strattera in Specific Population

Pregnant Women

There is no significant evidence or well-controlled studies involving any adequate number of pregnant women with ADHD. However, due to the delicate nature of mother to child connection, Strattera should be administered with caution and only to women whose clinical benefits overpower the potential risks to the fetus. 

Nursing/Breastfeeding Women

There is no evidence of Atomoxetine excretion in human milk. However, due to the evidence of Atomoxetine excretion in animal milk, Strattera should be administered with caution to nursing mothers.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Strattera in children 6 years and younger have not been documented. Thus, Strattera administration in children should make sure the potential benefits justify the use.

Geriatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Strattera in patients who are 65 years of age and older have not been documented.

Hepatic Impairment

The potential risk of subjects to develop serious side effects following Strattera therapy is said to increase in hepatic (liver) impaired patients. Thus, moderate and severe renal impaired ADHD patients should be administered with the lowest possible effective dose of Strattera. 

Renal Impairment

Clinical studies involving patients with severe renal (kidney) impairment shows no significant increase frequency of Strattera side effects. Thus, Strattera can be administered with caution to ADHD patients with renal impairment, and administration should begin with the lowest possible effective dose.  

 

What is Strattera (Atomoxetine HCL)?

Strattera is the brand name for Atomoxetine HCl medicine. This medicine is said to be the first ADHD medication approved as a controlled substance (a drug with some elements of abuse or restriction) to be used in both children and adults which help to bring to normal the activities of the bran. ADHD is the most common behavioral disorder that starts early during childhood in some subjects and can be treated with Strattera. This medication is distributed as a white capsule, main for oral administration following a health professional’s prescription or recommendation.

Strattera is indicated as an integral part of a total treatment program for ADHD patients, which should include other measures (social, psychological, and educational) for patients with symptoms of ADHD. Drug treatment may not be the case for all patients with ADHD symptoms. Drug treatment is not meant for use in the patient who exhibits symptoms secondary to environmental factors and/or other primary psychiatric mix up, alongside psychosis. Right educational placement is essential in children and adolescents with this diagnosis and psychosocial intervention is always encouraging. When remedial tips alone are inadequate, the decision to order drug therapy and medication will depend upon the physician’s assessment of the chronicity and severity of the patient’s symptoms.

ADHD is a clinical condition that can be identify by three hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsiveness with various symptoms.

Hyperactivity and Impulsiveness: fidgeting, talking excessively, running around at inappropriate times, and interrupting others.

Inattention: not paying attention, making careless mistakes, not listening, not finishing tasks, not following directions, and being easily distracted.

Some patients may show either one of these combinations or symptoms of a combination of either two or all of the three. Thus, parents should monitor their child for any of these symptoms that may indicate the presence of ADHD. Also, because people usually show these symptoms from their daily activities, ADHD patients should have more of these symptoms than others of the same age. However, to draw an accurate conclusion that someone is suffering from ADHD, these individuals must have had these symptoms for a period no less than 6 months.

In order to obtain maximum benefits from Strattera, you should use the drug regularly and as prescribed by your health care provider.

How to Prevent or Reduce Suicidal Ideology and Actions

Due to the high risk and increase frequency of subjects developing the thought to take their own lives and increase depression that may be associated with post therapeutic Strattera uses, it is important for parents and caregivers to talk and listen to ADHD patients on Strattera treatment. You need to have an idea of and pay more attention to their mood, thoughts, feelings, and their actions especially if there are any sudden changes. You may also need those people close to the patients such as the child’s mother, brother or sister to be around to render some comfort. Whenever there is a change in the dose or re-initiation of the treatment, you should carefully monitor the subject for any changes. After initiating Strattera therapy, you should make sure the child visits the health care provider at least once a week and the frequency of the visit may change depending on the subject’s clinical needs.

A Disclaimer: The uses of Strattera, side effects, precautions and warning may also include those not listed in this article. Your health care provider is in a better position to help you with more information concerning the use of this drug. You should always consult a health care provider if you have any doubts concerning the uses of Strattera. You should use the information provided in this article as a guide only. The information is not replacement for a doctor’s or pharmacist’s advise or prescription.

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