Strattera: Is It A Controlled Substance?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 2, 2022

Strattera is a prescription ADHD medication that is approved by the FDA. This non-stimulant medication is different from other ADHD drugs in that it has a low potential for abuse. Anyone who does abuse Strattera puts themselves at risk for major health issues.

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Strattera is not a controlled substance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, alongside the Drug Enforcement Administration, are responsible for determining whether medications like Strattera will be controlled substances.

Drugs that are listed as controlled substances usually have a potential for abuse and/or are intoxicating.

There are five schedules of controlled substances, with Schedule I being illegal street drugs and Schedule II being drugs like Adderall that are highly addictive but can be used to treat certain conditions.

Why Strattera Is Not Considered A Controlled Substance

Strattera is the only ADHD drug that is not a controlled substance. Other medications like Adderall and Ritalin are notoriously addictive and people use them to get high.

Strattera, on the other hand, uses a different mechanism to treat ADHD symptoms. It is the first non-stimulant ADHD medication, and it cannot get people high.

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Strattera is a relatively new drug but it is becoming more popular, because it has fewer risks than other ADHD drugs.

Strattera is approved for both adolescent and adult ADHD treatment. It is also important to note that Strattera is a brand name for the generic drug atomoxetine.

The drug was successful in clinical trials for treating ADHD, even when compared to placebos, so it was approved for use. It does not have an extended-release version available like some ADHD medications.

No Stimulant Properties

The other drugs approved for the treatment of ADHD are stimulant drugs. They are very similar to methamphetamine. In fact, prescription methamphetamine is sometimes used to treat ADHD.

Stimulant drugs can make people high with abuse, and they are known to be extremely addictive.

What Drug Classification Is Strattera?

Strattera is part of the drug class known as selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (sNRIs). These drugs are typically used as antidepressants.

As the name suggests, sNRI drugs prevent the brain from reabsorbing certain neurotransmitters including norepinephrine and serotonin.

The result is improvements in concentration and a heightened ability to focus for longer periods of time. It can also decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

How Strattera Works In The Body

By blocking the reuptake of certain brain chemicals, Strattera temporarily boosts the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, leading to its beneficial effects.

It is common for it to take weeks for Strattera to start working properly in the treatment of ADHD.

Difference Between Strattera And Adderall

Although Strattera and Adderall are both used as a daily dose medication and prescribed by healthcare providers for the treatment of ADHD, they are very different.

Adderall contains amphetamine salts, which have stimulant properties. The drug can lead to increased tolerance, dependence, and addiction. When abused, it may lead to euphoric effects.

Adderall can also lead to an increased risk of issues relating to high blood pressure and heart rate, even when taken as prescribed.

Strattera is generally considered a much safer drug than Adderall which is why Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance.

Side Effects Of Strattera Use

Using Strattera is not without risks. Although the drug is generally considered safer than other ADHD medications, it still has side effects.

Potential side effects of Strattera use include:

  • upset stomach, abdominal pain, nausea
  • constipation
  • mood swings
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • weight loss
  • trouble sleeping
  • decrease in sexual ability and/or desire

Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Using Strattera?

Abusing Strattera over a long period of time increases the risk for many serious health issues.

Health impacts from long-term Strattera abuse may include:

  • suicidal thoughts
  • heart problems including heart attack and/or stroke
  • liver injury
  • psychosis

Although Strattera abuse is not common, anyone who misuses the drug is at serious risk for adverse events and side effects.

Strattera may also have some drug interactions that could lead to serious side effects, which is why it is always important to use the medication as prescribed.

Doctors prescribing Strattera as a psychiatry medication are often using it as an alternative to more addictive stimulant medications.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, addiction treatment programs are the most viable option.

Rehab for drug abuse might start with an inpatient detox program before continuing with treatment.

Treatment programs for drug addiction include elements such as group counseling, behavioral therapy, and medication for the treatment of co-occurring disorders like bipolar disorder or depression.

Contact us today to learn about the best treatment options for substance abuse.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 2, 2022
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