Atomoxetine is a prescription medicine available under multiple brand names. It has been shown to help improve attention and reduce hyperactivity in both children and adults, and is often prescribed to manage symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Atomoxetine was the first ADHD medicine to be approved for use in adults, and the first non-stimulant ADHD medicine to be approved for use in children.
How Atomoxetine Works
Atomoxetine tablets contain the active ingredient Atomoxetine which acts as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It prevents unabsorbed norepinephrine (a natural hormone) from being flushed out of the brain’s prefrontal cortex. This increases the amount of norepinephrine, which is essential for controlling and stabilising mood.
Norepinephrine is a ‘fight or flight’ hormone that’s released when a person is exposed to stressful situations. It’s what keeps them alert and attentive to their surroundings. People with ADHD often present with lower naturally occurring levels of norepinephrine.
Atomoxetine is often prescribed to treat:
- Secondary symptoms of ADHD such as tics
While Atomoxetine does not cure ADHD, it can lessen the severity of the symptoms to increase focus and concentration, and improve the quality of life in ADHD patients.
Atomoxetine should be taken by mouth, as advised by the prescribing doctor. It is common to begin on a low dose, increasing as needed. Atomoxetine can be taken with or without food, but is best taken at the same time each day. It is important to complete the full course, as it may take four weeks to feel the full effects of the drug.
Atomoxetine Side Effects
Atomoxetine is generally considered to be safe when taken as prescribed. However, as with many medications, some patients may experience mild side effects, including:
- Anxiety or depression
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Stomach discomfort and flatulence
- Dry mouth, thirst, and altered taste
- Jitters or tremors
- Changes to the menstrual cycle
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sexual dysfunction
- Skin reactions
- Sleep disorders
- Urinary disorders
Symptoms appear to be more common in adults than they are in children.
It is important for patients to read the patient information leaflet in the packaging for a full list of possible side effects from taking Atomoxetine. Always consult with the prescribing doctor if side effects persist. If experiencing difficulty breathing, call 999.
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