Atomoxetine is used to increase the ability to pay attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Atomoxetine is in a class of medications called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. It works by increasing the levels of norepinephrine, a natural substance in the brain.
How should this medicine be used?
Atomoxetine comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food either once a day in the morning, or twice a day in the morning and late afternoon or early evening. To help you remember to take atomoxetine, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take atomoxetine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of atomoxetine and increase your dose after 3 days.
Atomoxetine controls ADHD but does not cure it. Do not stop taking atomoxetine without talking to your doctor.
Before taking atomoxetine, ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient and read it carefully.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking atomoxetine, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to atomoxetine or any other medications. do not take atomoxetine if you are taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or have stopped taking them within the past 2 weeks. tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: albuterol syrup or tablets (Proventil, Ventolin), amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), bupropion (Wellbutrin), celecoxib (Celebrex), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), cimetidine (Tagamet), clomipramine (Anafranil), doxorubicin (Adriamycin), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), metaproterenol syrup or tablets (Metaprel), metoclopramide (Reglan), methadone (Dolophine), paroxetine (Paxil), quinidine (Cardioquin, Quinaglute, Quinidex), ranitidine (Zantac), ritonavir (Norvir), sertraline (Zoloft), and terbinafine (Lamisil). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. tell your doctor if you have or have ever had glaucoma, high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, a stroke, a mini-stroke, or heart or liver disease. tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking atomoxetine, call your doctor. you should know that atomoxetine may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication. you should know that atomoxetine may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up. You should know that atomoxetine should be used as part of a total treatment program for ADHD, which may include counseling and special education. Make sure to follow all of your doctor’s and/or therapist’s instructions.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Do not take more than the prescribed daily amount of atomoxetine in 24 hours.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Atomoxetine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- stomach pain
- dry mouth
- excessive tiredness
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- mood swings
- weight loss
- decreased sex drive or ability
- difficulty urinating
- painful menstrual periods
- runny nose
- violent behavior
- muscle pain
- hot flashes
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- pounding heartbeat
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
Atomoxetine may slow down children’s growth or weight gain. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
Atomoxetine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to atomoxetine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
Last Revised – 07/01/2003