Strattera Review: More Effective Than Adderall?

Strattera Review: More Effective Than Adderall?

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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.

Strattera is a medication that's FDA-approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The generic form of the drug is called atomoxetine, and we'll use these terms interchangeably throughout this article as they refer to the same active drug ingredient.

But is Strattera actually proven in clinical trials to improve ADHD symptoms? Is it more or less effective than Adderall? Does it cause any concerning side effects? And how do real users rate and describe its effects?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we review clinical trials on Strattera to determine whether or not it's effective against ADHD.

We'll compare the drug  to Adderall, document how much cheaper the generic version can be, and feature unsponsored patient reviews.

We'll also discuss the risk of side effects, and explain whether or not this medication keeps you up at night.

Does Strattera Reduce ADHD Symptoms?

Strattera has been studied in hundreds of clinical trials in patients with ADHD.

medical review published in the Pediatric Drugs journal analyzed data from many clinical trials comparing Strattera to other ADHD medications.

The researchers found that Strattera was more effective than all current ADHD medications in both children and adolescents.

Patients taking Strattera also reported significantly higher scores for health-related quality of life than patients taking a placebo drug.

A 2004 clinical trial tested Strattera in adults with ADHD, and documented that the drug reduced ADHD symptom scores by over 28%.

A 2013 meta-study evaluated the results from many clinical trials on the efficacy of Strattera for ADHD. Data from over 3,000 patients who participated in clinical trials was included.

The study authors concluded that Strattera is effective, but “has a poor benefit-risk balance for the treatment of adults with ADHD,” because the benefits were mild and the side effects were worse than with placebo treatment.

We will conclude from the available research that Strattera is effective for reducing ADHD symptoms in both children and adults, which is unsurprising given that the medication is approved by the FDA for those indications.

Does Strattera Cause Side Effects?

Strattera black box warning

Strattera's FDA label has a "black box" warning, shown above, indicating that Strattera can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents.

medical review examined the side effects of Strattera and found that the most common side effects were more mild, including headache, abdominal pain and nausea.

The following cardiovascular side effects were also reported as “common side effects” of the drug: increase in heart rate, sinus tachycardia, increase in systolic blood pressure, increase in diastolic blood pressure, heart palpitations.

Around 4% of children and adolescents taking the medication had an increase in heart rate greater than 25 beats, which is a significant increase.

Given the increased risk of severe side effects in children and adolescents, it may be beneficial for their guardians to speak with their pediatrician or doctor about alternative ADHD medications that do not confer these risks.

A YouTube creator named "Vegan Hippie" claims to have experienced severe side effects from Strattera:

Strattera vs. Adderall

Adderall is probably the most well-known ADHD medication, so patients are often curious about whether Strattera or Adderall is more effective.

There have been comparative studies on the two drugs for the treatment of ADHD.

clinical trial published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy journal compared the efficacy of Strattera and Adderall for ADHD.

The researchers found that the drugs had similar efficacy, but that the extended release (XR) formulation of Adderall was more effective than Strattera.

A 2007 clinical trial found that in children and adolescents who responded poorly to Adderall, switching to Strattera led to improved mental health outcomes and reduction of ADHD symptoms.

Another clinical trial compared the use of Adderall XR and Strattera in children, and found that Adderall XR was more effective.

Based on the available medical research, it appears that Adderall XR (but not regular Adderall) may be more effective for ADHD in both children and adults than Strattera.

That being said, as documented by several of the above-linked trials, Adderall is a stimulant with the potential for abuse, so it's important that patients have a discussion with their doctor about the potential risks versus benefits of the two drugs.

Real People Try Strattera

A YouTube creator named "ADHD Mastery" has a personal Strattera review that's only five minutes long, and has over 200,000 views:

A TikTok creator named Abby who has videos focused on ADHD shared her experience after using Strattera for one week:

@abbyreywhite Replying to @danadevlin359 i don’t feel like SUPER productive but it’s been good so far! #strattera #candycrush10 #neurodivergent #adhdmedication #adhdmeds #adhdadultdiagnosis ♬ original sound - Abby | ADHD Creator

How Much Cheaper is the Generic?

As referenced in the intro to this article, the generic form of Strattera is called atomoxetine.

Both of these drugs have the exact same active chemical compound.

An extensive meta-study published in the PLOS Medicine journal analyzed data from over 1 million patients, and found that generic drugs were just as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts on average.

This suggests that generic atomoxetine should be just as effective as Strattera, but may be significantly cheaper depending on health insurance coverage. 

At the time of updating this article, Strattera (the brand-name version) has a retail price of around $440 according to GoodRx.

Atomoxetine currently has a retail price under $10 at Cost Plus Drugs.

Patients Rate Strattera is a website that allows prescription medication patients to rate and review the drugs they're taking.

We cannot verify the accuracy or authenticity of any reviews on this site.

Strattera has been reviewed over 500 times on, and currently has a patient rating of 5.2 out of 10 for the treatment of ADHD.

The top positive review comes from a user named "Juicey J" who gave Strattera a 9/10 rating, and claims that after two weeks of side effects the drug improved their quality of life:

"The side effects only lasted around 2 weeks...then came the good part. All these side effects subsided and I noticed how calm I was. Usually I'm on edge. I also noticed I'm more attentive to the things I need to take care of at home and work. And I enjoy sex more than I did before, and I'm sure this med has helped me become closer with my fiance again."

The top negative review is written by an anonymous user who gave the drug a 2/10 rating, and claims it caused discomforting side effects:

"Never been treated for ADHD before now. I have terrible anxiety among other things. Today is day three on Strattera. I feel drunk when I take it. I don't like alcohol normally. But this feels like I drank too much. The first few hours are difficult. My chest feels heavy and my body is tingling. I have constant goosebumps."

Can Ginkgo Naturally Improve Focus?

Ginkgo biloba extract is an herbal supplement that's been tested in patients with ADHD.

A 2014 clinical trial found that ginkgo biloba extract was effective in children diagnosed with ADHD. Supplementation with ginkgo biloba extract improved ADHD core symptoms and quality of life. 

clinical trial published in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice journal found that ginkgo biloba extract may be an effective adjunctive therapy to standard pharmaceutical ADHD treatment. An adjunctive therapy means a therapy used in combination with standard treatment.

Inattention scores (a common symptom of ADHD) were significantly decreased with ginkgo biloba extract complementary therapy. Total ADHD symptom score was also significantly decreased.

Illuminate Labs Ginkgo Biloba Extract is our third-party tested ginkgo supplement, that costs only $15 at a subscription rate.

We are not suggesting that ginkgo biloba extract should be used to treat ADHD, or that it's as effective as Strattera or any other FDA-approved medication.

Rather, we're sharing information and research that patients who are averse to prescription medication may wish to speak with their doctor about.

Brightside Health is our top online medication partner, because the platform accepts major health insurers in the US.

ADHD is one of the conditions treated on Brightside, and it may be worth checking out for patients seeking a pharmaceutical approach to their ADHD.

Should I Take Strattera at Night?

Patients are often curious about the optimal drug timing for Strattera, given that many ADHD drugs are stimulants that can disrupt sleep.

While Strattera is not a stimulant, we would not recommend taking the drug at night unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor, because the drug's FDA label recommends taking Strattera either as a single dose in the morning or as two daily divided doses in the morning and afternoon.

A clinical trial published in the Sleep journal found that Strattera decreased time-to-sleep for children by over 12 minutes compared with placebo pills.

It's unclear what causes this negative effect on sleep when taken at night.

How Does Strattera Work?

Strattera is in a drug class called norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. 

These drugs delay the natural processing of a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, which leads to artificially elevated circulating levels of it in the brain.

This is a similar mechanism of action to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs, but those drugs cause an increase in the circulating levels of a different neurotransmitter called serotonin.

Norepinephrine is proven in medical studies to optimize central nervous system (CNS) function, and improve brain plasticity and memory consolidation.

By artificially increasing its levels, Strattera enhances cognitive functioning in a manner that’s especially beneficial to ADHD patients.

Strattera Dosage

Strattera is prescribed at a wide variety of doses, which is unsurprising given that it’s prescribed to both children and adults.

Children need relatively lower doses of medications due to lower body weight.

The medication is prescribed at the following doses: 10 milligrams (mg), 18 mg, 25 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg, 100 mg.

A 2023 medical review reports that dosing for adults is typically initiated at 40 mg per day.

Children are reported to typically start at a dose of 0.5 mg per kilogram (kg) of body weight daily.

For a 70 pound child, this would equate to a 15.87 mg daily dose. Because a dose isn’t available at that exact number, the doctor may prescribe the medication at the closest lower dose (10 mg) to be safe.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Strattera is proven to be effective for treating ADHD in clinical studies both in children and adults.

The side effect profile of Strattera appears to be more concerning for children than adults, and we would recommend that guardians of pediatric patients and adolescents speak with their doctor about alternative ADHD medications.

One benefit of Strattera compared to other ADHD medications like Adderall is that it does not appear to have the same risk of dependence and abuse.

We would recommend that patients interested in Strattera speak with their doctor about the generic atomoxetine instead, because it should be as effective but may be significantly cheaper.

Strattera is meant to be taken in the morning or afternoon, because it's clinically shown to have a negative impact on sleep when taken at night.