Strattera (atomoxetene HCl) is a medication used for the treatment of Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, not to be confused with selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitor (SSRI), such as Prozac or Zoloft. Strattera is used as a
replacement for (not in conjunction with) medications such as Ritalin
If you think of the norepinephrine cycle in an ADHD patient as a water pump system, Ritalin sqeezes water through in a single burst to give the illusion of normalcy, whereas Strattera fixes the pipes themselves, allowing for an enduring solution.
Researchers believe that an imbalance of the neurotransmitter
norepinephrine (NE) causes ADHD. Similarly, an imbalance of the
neurotransmitter serotonin contributes to the various forms of depression.
In order to stabilize the imbalance of norepinephrine in the brain, psychiatrists
have two options. Either add more norepinephrine into the brain, or attempt to
control the reuptake process of the neurotransmitter. The latter technique is
the goal of stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall.
However, these stimulants are powerful, and can easily be abused. Moreover, they
are fast working medicines and accidental ingestion can prove harmful right
away. These prescription stimulants are often used in place of amphetamines
by drug abusers. For these reasons, Ritalin and Adderall are
controlled substances in the eyes of the federal
Strattera, on the other hand, is not a controlled substance. Strattera works
by regulating the amount of norepinephrine already in the brain, not by adding
more norepinephrine. The brain responds to norepinephrine while the
neurotransmitter is in the cleft, or the liquid space around the neurons.
An ADHD patient does not have enough norepinephrine in the cleft, so her mood
and perhaps her personality are effected. Strattera works by binding to the pumps
which reuptake neurotransmitters back into the neuron, where they become
ineffective. Strattera essentially provides a filter which will block
norepinephrine but allow other neurotransmitters to pass through. The result is
an increased amounts of norepinephrine in the cleft; Strattera achieves the same
goal of the stimulant medication without adding more stimulants into the brain.
A) Before Strattera B) After Strattera
______/ \ ______/ \ . .
. .|=. . . |=# . .
. . | . . | . . .
______ . |= . ______ . |=# . .
\____/ . . \____/ .
I've taken serotonin, and I've taken selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors. I've taken Ritalin and Adderall, but I've never taken
Strattera. I'm going to go ahead and guess what Strattera may feel like after
buildup occurs, which normally takes four days. Stimulants come on fast, then you crash.
Likewise, pure serotonin hits you hard then leaves you dry. However, when you
take Prozac, or some other SSRI, you have an extended feeling of increased
serotonin. My guess is that Strattera will give you a sort of perma-stimulation that you do not come down from, until you stop taking
the once-a-day pill. This
could get interesting.
A friend of mine, we'll call her Kelly, began taking Strattera last weekend. Five days later, I have noticed a real change. I was the second person to mention to her that she had changed. She is noticably calmer, and I can actually get a word in during our conversations. She was a fabulous person before *and* after Strattera. However, I think she is more personable now. Regardless, I would not be upset if she decided to revert to her normal condition of norepinephrine deficiency.
Instant Messenger conversation with user of the drug:
DHoFF166: dud this straterra
DHoFF166: is the shit
briglass: for real?
briglass: did you read my writeup on it?
DHoFF166: for the last 2 days i wake up 3 min before my alarm went off
DHoFF166: and i'm not tired either
DHoFF166: it's like my dreams have come true
DHoFF166: i'm ready and willing to goto classes
briglass: that is crazy
briglass: strattera, eh?
briglass: did u read my writeup on it?
DHoFF166: yup yup
briglass: u did?
briglass: hold up
DHoFF166: where did you do a write up
DHoFF166: i'm sending this to my shrink
Names have been changed to protect the medicated...
mblase says You're right that Strattera takes time to "build up" in the body -- about a week with regular daily use, I'm told. Takes just as long to come off of it. Some people seem to prefer it, others seem to suffer nausea strong enough to keep them from wanting to take it instead of stimulant drugs. YMMV.