Qelbree Review: Do Nonstimulant ADHD Meds Work?

Qelbree Review: Do Nonstimulant ADHD Meds Work?

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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.

Qelbree is a prescription medication that's FDA-approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s non-stimulatory, which separates it from ADHD medications like Adderall which are stimulants.

The generic name for the drug is viloxazine, and we’ll use these two terms interchangeably throughout this article because they refer to the same active drug ingredient.

But is Qelbree actually proven in clinical trials to reduce symptoms of ADHD? Is the drug as effective as stimulant ADHD medications? Does it cause any concerning side effects? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Qelbree?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we review clinical trials on Qelbree to determine how much the drug reduces ADHD symptoms, and how it compares to other ADHD meds.

We'll also discuss the potential for side effects and feature unsponsored patient reviews and ratings.

Does Qelbree Reduce ADHD Symptoms?

Qelbree has been extensively studied in clinical trials for its efficacy in treating and managing symptoms of ADHD. 

A meta-study published in the Frontiers in Psychiatry journal examined results from 30 clinical trials on the drug. In all of the studies reviewed, Qelbree was effective at reducing ADHD symptoms.

The study authors concluded that Qelbree was effective, and suggested that the drug may be especially therapeutic in patients with other mental health conditions such as anxiety, because these patients may not be able to tolerate stimulatory ADHD meds.

A 2022 medical review examined data from over 1,600 patients involved in clinical trials on Qelbree.

Patient groups treated with Qelbree had 62% more responders than groups treated with placebo pills. Responders in a medical context refers to patients who had significant symptom improvement.

The researchers conducting this medical review concluded that Qelbree was “significantly superior” to placebo.

A YouTube creator and psychiatrist named Tracey Marks reviewed the potential effectiveness of Qelbree in a video with over 250,000 views:

Based on the available research, we will conclude that Qelbree is effective at reducing ADHD symptoms, which is unsurprising given that the drug is approved by the FDA for that indication.

Does Qelbree Cause Side Effects?

Qelbree black box warning

Qelbree’s FDA label has a "black box" warning, shown above, indicating that this medication can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in pediatric (children) patients.

Black box warnings are the most severe type of warning issued by the FDA, and they indicate a side effect which may have life-threatening side effects.

Qelbree's typical side effects are more mild.

A 2021 medical review documents that the most common Qelbree side effects are sleepiness, fatigue, decreased appetite and nausea.

The side effect profile of Qelbree appears relatively mild for adults, but given the suicide warning for pediatric patients, it may be advisable for parents or guardians to speak with their pediatrician  about alternative ADHD medications which do not confer this risk.

Real People Try Qelbree

A TikTok user named "a_therapist_in_pain" reviewed Qelbree and explained why she didn't like it after her first day:

@a_therapist_in_pain Trying Qelbree as an add on med for ADHD #qelbree #adhd #adhdmedication #adhdtherapist ♬ original sound - Kelly Redmon

A TikTok user named "em" had a relatively positive experience with Qelbree after a rough initial patch:

@gaba_ghoul702 qelbree 2 weeks in! i am on lexapro as well so keep that in mind. i would also advise to avoid caffeine until your body adjusts. #qelbree #stratterra #SNRI #lexapro #SSRI #adhd ♬ original sound - em

Qelbree vs. Other ADHD Meds

Adderall and Strattera are two of the most commonly-prescribed ADHD medications, so patients are often curious about whether Qelbree has been shown to be more or less effective than these drugs.

Extended-release (ER) Qelbree was tested against Strattera in a 2023 clinical trial in patients with ADHD.

96% of trial participants preferred Qelbree ER to Strattera, and significantly fewer patients experienced side effects using Qelbree.

As we documented in our Strattera reviews article, that drug is also non-stimulatory, but Qelbree (at least the ER version) may have greater efficacy.

We can't locate any clinical trials comparing Qelbree to Adderall, but the latter drug was shown in a medical review to be associated with a reduced risk of suicide in patients with ADHD.

This suggests that Adderall may be a better option for patients with a personal or family history of suicidal thoughts than Qelbree, and for patients without anxiety (given that it's stimulatory).

How Much Does Qelbree Cost?

The cost of Qelbree will vary significantly for patients in the US, depending on health insurance coverage.

The retail price of Qelbree is currently around $370 according to GoodRx.

However, health insurance can fully or partially subsidize this cost.

The official Qelbree website has a Savings page that allows patients to apply for a coupon and potentially "Pay as little as $20 per prescription."

We typically recommend that patients speak with their doctor about the generic versions of drugs, because these contain the same active drug ingredient as the brand-name version but can be significantly cheaper.

However, since Qelbree was approved by the FDA so recently there is currently no generic equivalent available in the US at the time of updating this article.

Patients Rate Qelbree

Drugs.com is a website that allows patients on prescription medication to rate and review the drugs they're taking.

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

Qelbree has been reviewed 37 times on Drugs.com at the time of updating this article, with an average patient rating of 4.6 out of 10 stars.

A top positive review is written by a user named “Game Changer” who gave the drug a 10/10 rating, and claims it significantly improved ADHD symptoms:

“I’m on 400mg and honestly - WHAT A GAME CHANGER. I can go to sleep at night without racing thoughts, get up and get the clan ready without losing my keys, I have much more patience with my students, and have the ability to focus on which sports event and where I need to be and when In the evening. I’m thrilled!”

A top negative review comes from a user named “ADHD/Anxiety” who published a review on behalf of their child, and gave the drug a 1/10 rating.

This reviewer claims the medication caused significant side effects in their child:

“We were so excited to try Qelbree. But by day three we had to stop, as it made him physically and verbally violent. We almost called 911 at one point...and he is only 9 years old.

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 Qelbree 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.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Qelbree is effective for treating ADHD in both adults and children. 

The drug's side effects appear to be more severe in children, as Qelbree's FDA label has a black box warning related to the risk of increased suicidal thoughts in children.

This medication is non-stimulatory, so it may be a better option for patients with anxiety than stimulant ADHD meds like Adderall.

One comparative study found the ER version of Qelbree to be significantly superior to Strattera (another non-stimulant ADHD medication) in both children and adults.

Qelbree was recently approved in the US, so there is not currently a generic equivalent available.

The retail price of Qelbree is currently around $370 at the time of updating this article, but patients with health insurance may be able to access a significantly subsidized price.