This article will cover the side effects of atomoxetine, including its more common ones. It is important to know what these are. This is so that you can know what will happen to you or someone in your family.
What Is Atomoxetine?
First, it is important to understand what atomoxetine hydrochloride actually is. Atomoxetine was approved by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This medication is categorized as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and is also known by the brand name Strattera. The purpose of atomoxetine is to help children who have issues with attention or concentration maintain focus on their tasks at hand.
This medicine is not intended for use in adults or children under the age of six.
Benefits of Atomoxetine
There are some benefits of Atomoxetine. Some of these are;
Reduces Impulsive Behavior
Children, especially those diagnosed with ADHD can often struggle with impulsivity. This medication can help to reduce impulsive behavior in these kids. This includes the inability to control actions, words, or emotions. This is when they are feeling angry or frustrated.
Improves Focus And Concentration
This medication helps to improve focus and concentration in those who take it. This is because it helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain, which are often low in those with ADHD or related conditions.
This means that people who take it can focus on what they are doing and concentrate more effectively. This also means that they will be able to remember information better than before, which is why this medication has been so helpful for students in particular since many struggles with ADHD.
Helps To Reduce Hyperactivity
Hyperactivity is also a common symptom of ADHD and related conditions, and it can often be very disruptive. Atomoxetine helps to reduce hyperactivity in those who take it, which can lead to an overall improvement in quality of life.
This medication has been shown to help people with conditions like narcolepsy as well as ADHD, and it can help to improve symptoms in a short amount of time.
Side-Effects of Atomoxetine
In 2006, a class-action lawsuit against its brought to light several potential atomoxetine side effects that were not well known at that time. Now, these atomoxetine side-effects are well known. Some of these are:
In this situation, the child will feel excessively tired or lazy.
This may include sleepiness, insomnia, and an inability to remain asleep for normal periods of time when expected (e.g., they fall asleep at school). These issues can be particularly troubling in children who are struggling with their grades. This is because they end up sleeping through class. This is also problematic in cases where a child cannot get good quality sleep. It is before taking an exam that makes concentration difficult even during times. This is when atomoxetine side effects do not present themselves.
This is a feeling of lightheadedness, unsteadiness, or spinning sensations. Sometimes this can also be accompanied by headache, blurred vision, or even changes in heart rate.
Nausea and Vomiting
This is a fairly common atomoxetine side-effect that can happen within the first few days of taking this medication. It usually subsides after a short while. It is important to let your doctor know if it persists for more than a week.
Loss of Appetite
A child who experiences appetite loss may not want to eat anything or they may only want bland foods. This can lead to weight loss over time. This is generally a mild side effect. Your physician should monitor these problems. This could cause problems down the road if you do not treat it.
Some people who have taken atomoxetine experience problems with their vision including blurry vision and changes in color perception. This means they may see things as darker than they are or lighter. This is not usually caused for concern, however, so it will likely go away after a few weeks of continued treatment.
Numbness and Tingling
This side effect typically occurs in the extremities like fingers and toes but some people have also reported tingling sensations on their head which can be quite uncomfortable. The good news is that this problem should resolve itself within about three months of starting to take atomoxetine.
This may include problems achieving an erection, decreased sex drive, and breast enlargement in boys. This is a rare atomoxetine side effect but it can be distressing to the child who experiences these issues so they should discuss them with their doctor.
Nervousness or Restlessness
Some people have reported feeling jittery and even restless while taking this medication which makes sense given that adrenaline (epinephrine) levels are increased when you take atomoxetine. This means your heart rate increases too and some of the physical effects of anxiety emerge such as sweating, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, headache, etc.
How To Manage Atomoxetine Side Effects?
These are some of the ways to manage atomoxetine side effects:
Take Break From Work
Make sure to take a break from work and relax for a little while. This is especially important in cases where the child feels very tired or nauseous but it can help everyone in your family to take time out of their day to do something fun together.
Increase Water Intake
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the day so that you stay hydrated which will make side effects like nausea much less likely to occur. Try adding some lemon slices, cucumber slices, or fresh mint leaves into your glass if possible as this will add flavor without calories when there’s no sugar added just yet. If weight loss is an issue because appetite has decreased significantly then increasing fluid intake may cause problems with constipation instead so be aware of this possibility too.
Take Time to Relax
Make sure you are taking time out of your day for some relaxation. This could be as simple as sitting down and reading a book, meditating, doing yoga, or pilates which can also help foster mindfulness so that everyone in the family is more likely to stay calm during times when stress levels rise significantly.
You should avoid alcohol while taking atomoxetine because it can increase heart rate and other side effects like nausea. It may even cause problems that are more serious than these which is why you shouldn’t drink any type of alcoholic beverage until after the medication has been out of your system for at least two weeks so you can see how you personally react.
Talk to Your Doctor
If any of these side effects are causing problems for you or your child then be sure to talk to your doctor about them. They may have some suggestions on how to manage them more effectively. Also they might switch you over to a different medication if they feel that atomoxetine isn’t a good fit in your case.
The bottom line is that most atomoxetine side effects are temporary. These ould go away with time. If they persist or become bothersome, be sure to let your doctor know. It’s also important to keep track of any physical or emotional changes you notice so that you can better manage them together.
Try Relaxation Techniques
Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation which can help to calm the body and mind. This is a great way to manage any type of side effect but it’s especially helpful for those that cause anxiety or tension.
Atomoxetine is generally well-tolerated and has few side effects, but it may cause low blood pressure, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, or weight loss. It can also make you feel sleepy or tired during the day. If these symptoms persist longer than a week after starting atomoxetine therapy then your doctor will need to be notified immediately as they could indicate that there are interactions with other drugs in your system.
A Word From MantraCare
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.