Have you tried Strattera?
There has been a lot of interest among parents of kids with ADHD to change them to Strattera from whatever stimulant that they have been taking, and while they have high hopes, many parents are learning that Strattera isn't a 'miracle' drug.
Well, Strattera does have side effects, the most common of which seem to be stomach aches and drowsiness. And it doesn't always work, although it, like the stimulants, is supposed to work in about 70% of the kids that take it.
Surprisingly, even when Strattera isn't working well, parents seem to want to do anything possible to make it work.
Dealing with the
Side Effects of Strattera
Although somnolence or sleepiness is only listed as affecting about 8% of kids taking Strattera, it seems to be one of the more distressing side effects. One easy solution that seems to work for many kids is to simply take their Strattera at night so that they don't get sleepy during the day.
Other common side effects are those that affect a child's gastrointestinal system and can include abdominal pain, vomiting and dyspepsia. As with the sleepiness problem, it can sometimes help to take the Strattera at bedtime, although the more common solution is to split the Strattera into two doses instead of one. The smaller dose sometimes help relieve these side effects.
Taking the Strattera twice a day can sometimes also help other commonly reported side effects, such as headache, irritability and decreased appetite. In fact, fewer children reported dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and mood swings when they took their Strattera twice a day instead of just one larger dose.
When Strattera Doesn't Work
If Strattera doesn't work when your child starts taking it, it is often because you just haven't given it enough time. Unlike stimulants, such as Adderall XR and Concerta, which work very quickly, it can take a few weeks to see any effects of Strattera. And it may take 3-4 weeks to see its full effects and benefits.
For kids who are struggling in school, waiting 3-4 weeks or even just 2 weeks can seem too long. One solution is to have your child continue to take a stimulant, especially on school days, until the Strattera starts to work.
If Strattera still isn't working, you may have to ask your doctor to adjust the dose. Strattera is typically started at a dose of 0.5mg/kg and then, after 3 days, it is increased to 1.2mg/kg. However, the maximum dose is 1.4mg/kg or 100mg (whichever is less), so it may help to increase your child's dose to the maximum before abandoning Strattera.
For example, consider an 80 pound child, who would typically be started at a dose of 18mg of Strattera and then increased to 40mg. However, if that wasn't working, you might ask about increasing to 50mg by taking two 25mg capsules, which would be closer to the maximum dose of 1.4mg/kg.
If Strattera isn't working, you might also make sure that your child is on the right dose. Although convenient, using the Strattera sample packages that doctors have sometimes mean that you have to round the child's dosage up or down, which may make it more or less than the recommended dose.
For example, Strattera comes as a 10mg, 18mg, 25mg, 40mg and 60mg capsule. Now if your child is 55 pounds, that would mean a maximum dose of 36mg, and your Pediatrician might give your child a 25mg capsule (an underdosage, which might not work) or a 40mg capsule (an overdosage, which might increase the side effects). However, instead of a single 25mg or 40mg capsule, your Pediatrician can get closer to your target dose by prescribing two 18mg capsules. Being closer to the target dose may make it more likely that the dose works and doesn't cause side effects.
Strattera FDA Alert
The FDA has issued an alert about suicidal thinking in children and teens taking Strattera:
- Strattera may increase thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts in children and teens.
- Call your child’s healthcare professional right away if your child or teen has:
- new or increased thoughts of suicide
- changes in mood or behavior including becoming irritable or anxious