Strattera is a medication that is used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) commonly known as atomoxetine. It is effective in treating ADHD due to its activity as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor which increases the concentration of norepinephrine in the brain. ADHD has been shown to be linked to low levels of norepinephrine in the frontal cortex of the brain. Adderall is another medication often used to treat ADHD. Adderall increases norepinephrine levels in the frontal cortex of the brain through releasing norepinephrine rather then inhibiting its elimination from the frontal cortex like Strattera does. Adderall is made from a mix of amphetamine salts. Due to the difference in action between both of these medications there are unique advantages and disadvantages to both of them.
One of the largest differences to consider when comparing atomoxetine vs. adderall is the abuse potential of each medication. Adderall has a much higher risk of being abused and for this reason is not often given to individuals with a past history of drug or alcohol abuse. The reason for adderall's abuse risk comes from the way in which it effects the brain. Since adderall releases norepinephrine and dopamine as soon as it is in the bloodstream it can establish neural pathways in the brain linking pleasure to adderall. Adderall is also reported to be euphoric to some individuals when taken in high doses. Due to its ability to produce pleasure and feelings of well being it is more likely for users of adderall to become psychologically dependent upon it. Strattera does not pose as much of a risk for abuse due to the fact that it is not a direct norepinephrine and dopamine releaser. Rather its effects are felt much more gradually than adderall due to its action as a re-uptake inhibitor.
Side effects of Strattera and Adderall
As both of these medications effect the brain in different ways they both have differing side effects as well. Both Strattera and Adderall can result in insomnia and an inability to sleep due to racing thoughts. However, for many users adderall is supposed to have a greater propensity to induce insomnia than Strattera. Adderall also has a greater effect on weight loss than Strattera though both can lead to dangerous amounts of weight loss in a short period of time. Adderall users often report a “crash” each day when the medication wears off. There is no such crash reported as a side effect of Strattera.
Long-term effects and withdrawal
Both Strattera and Adderall can have adverse long-term effects. Strattera is known in some individuals to cause severe liver damage from long term use of the medication. Adderall on the other hand has no record of causing liver damage. Though both can cause psychotic episodes from long term usage it is rare adderall will unless it is abused and taken in higher than recommended doses. Both substances have a withdrawal when usage is stopped abruptly. Adderall's withdrawal is much worse and lasts for about a week with severe insomnia as well as depression. A withdrawal from Strattera is not nearly as severe and is reported to be milder and more manageable.