Atomoxetine

My doctor just prescribed this. He said we’d try it and see how it works… anyone have experience with it?

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i tried it ages ago. i don’t remember much about it other than that it took a little while to become effective. i hope you have good success with it!

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Yes!

Atomoxetine is very effective for me. The only other ADHD medication that I’ve tried read Adderall XR, which at best was only half as effective as atomoxetine.

My doctor prescribed a generic of atomoxetine for me, and my health plan covers almost 100% of the prescription cost at my pharmacy. (The brand name is Strattera, which is at least 5x the cost of the generic I’m on.)

I’d started documenting my experience with atomoxetine here:
https://forums.howtoadhd.com/t/my-experience-with-atomoxetine-generic-of-strattera/9648

I still struggle with getting started on things, still sometimes procrastinating, but only a fraction as much as I did before starting on medication.

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Of course, we all respond to ADHD medication differently. Some people don’t respond well to atomoxetine. I respond very well to it. (I respond well to the one SSRI that I was on for a while, too.)

The prescription is ready and here I am looking for reasons not to go. I wish I was a less difficult person. Lol

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Hopefully you’ll get the help you need, so that you won’t experience as much difficulty.

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lol! i am deeply skeptical of anyone who doesn’t wish that about themselves. i mean, have you met people? DIFFICULT.

did you end up going?

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I have the prescription. I have serious reservations because of how long it takes to get to a therapeutic dose, the half life of the drug in an average system and the fact it is an every day at the same time pill and not as you need it.

I will take one tomorrow. I didn’t want to risk an adverse reaction on a day where there was a lot expected of me. Tomorrow I have no where to go… so if things go poorly I have some space.

I kind of think I know how this will go. It will show promise but I will need the stimulant medication to even have a chance at taking the every day or your are messed up medication.

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Before I started on ADHD meds, I had been in the habit of taking vitamins and supplements every morning with my breakfast.
So, I attached taking meds to the existing habit.

(Ironically, now I take my atomoxetine every day, but I often neglect to take my vitamins because I’m always rushing through my morning.)


Atomoxetine enables your brain to be able to respond better to norepinephrine (aka noradrenaline, which is related to adrenaline). Norepinephrine is similar to epinephrine (aka adrenaline) and is made from dopamine. I think I read somewhere that dopamine release can be triggered by noradrenaline (but now I can’t find any mention of that).

  • Epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine are all made from the amino acid tyrosine. (Dopamine is made from tyrosine and phenylalanine, another amino acid. Both of these amino acids come from protein-rich foods.)
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I felt a little bit different about 3 hours after my first dose of atomoxetine, but many people don’t feel any different for the first few days.

It took me a few days (as many as 5 days) to feel the full effect. Then again, I tend to be sensitive to certain other medications (notably SSRI meds), so I feel it sooner and stronger than other people do. (When I stopped taking an SSRI a year ago, I tapered down over a week, and I still experienced the side effect of feeling strange for about 2-3 weeks. It wasn’t particularly bad, but I just felt a bit different from normal.

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Yeah if I had to take a pill everyday at the same time to keep me alive I would be dead. I’m not being flippant in that statement. It scares the heckbout of me that if it came down to that, for me, I wouldn’t be able to just keep myself alive.

I am going to give it an honest try. I am trying not to read too much into how I am feeling today. Trying not to obsess over small differences in how I feel, physically and mentally. I tend to become obsessive easily.

Part of me is convinced that none of the adhd meds will work because I’m faking it. That nothing will help because I don’t have adhd I’m just lazy and stupid and the meds only work for people with adhd so they won’t work…

And do you know how long the clinician needed to be in the room with me to know my adhd is pretty severe? Ten minutes… geez they just had to watch me try and fill out the questionnaire they didn’t even need to look at the results.

So I am binging Monk today, it is ostensibly research for writing. Or a way to make me relax and not obsess… too much.

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you’d have someone else manage your meds. lots of people on high stakes medical treatments get help.

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That sounds like “imposter syndrome”. It’s somewhat common among us ADHD folks. Either feeling like an imposter who doesn’t really have ADHD, or feeling like an imposter at work/school/etc.

That’s how it was with me, meeting with the counselor who diagnosed me. She simply observed my behavior as we talked and was sure in our first session that I did have ADHD. In a later session, she had me fill out the questionnaire, but that was merely for the records.

My doctor, on the other hand, had me fill out the questionnaire the first time I met with him to discuss ADHD, and then again after each time he had changed my meds.

My previous post about how I built my medication habit was because I have learned (from Jessica’s videos and elsewhere) that the easiest way to create a new habit is to tie it to an existing habit. I know that some people on stimulant medications take them when their alarm wakes them up in the morning, before they even get out of bed.

  • I know from experience that I can’t take atomoxetine, or most medications & my vitamins for that matter, without eating just before or just after. If I take atomoxetine on an empty stomach and don’t eat within 20 minutes, I’ll feel an intense wave of nausea that won’t go away until over 10 minutes after eating. That’s why it makes sense to tie meds in with breakfast, like I do with my vitamins.
  • Except on Saturdays, it seems I forget until lunchtime. I just took my meds after having a late lunch. (Feeling lazy today, even though I know I’ve got to get things done.)

So, if there’s some existing habit that you can tie taking meds to, it should be easier to make a habit.

Besides, if it helps you like it helps me, your memory should improve.

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I am struggling right now with what this drug is actually supposed to do. How should I feel different? How should my brain be with this in my system? How can I tell if it’s doing anything?

Jessica, what are your ADHD symptoms/traits like?


For me, atomoxetine has been very beneficial. It hasn’t changed my personality at all, as some people describe as an effect of Adderall or Ritalin. The only persistent side effect is a noticeable decrease in my creativity, particularly it’s that the frequency of spontaneous creative ideas that I get has dropped by about 20-25%. On the flip side, I don’t lose as many creative thoughts into the ether, because I can hold them in my head long enough to write them down.

After I started on atomoxetine, I started posting about my experience with it, and how it has helped with my ADHD traits. This first quote is the most in-depth description of my untreated ADHD traits and severity.

After I’d been on atomoxetine for some time, I posted the following. This is how it has helped me. I don’t feel like a different person. I do feel like an upgraded version of the person I’ve always been.

I share in indecisiveness, unless it is an emergency. I do well in those and people tend to look to me when things are happening. I am hyperactive, in constant motion, even when sitting still. I think I am noticing today that I am leg bouncing and foot twitching less. Less rocking.

I actually watched an hour long episode of a show with my husband this morning without my phone. I usually can’t concentrate on an average show except if I am also reading or playing a casual game on the phone. Something to take up some other portion of my mind too.

I suppose I still need to give it a while.

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whoa! (i 3 tabs open with videos/shows i stopped watching part way. i know that struggle.) i hope as the med reaches therapeutic levels over the coming weeks, you see even more improvement.

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I am not hyperactive, but I do fidget with my fingers and tap my toes almost constantly, and sometimes bounce my leg.

(Side Note: ADHD is highly inheritable. My great-grandma lived to be 97 and I lived near enough to visit her often for over 25 years. Whenever she saw a family member bouncing their leg, she would say, “There goes that ‘Johnson’ leg again!” She was referring to her dad, Doc Johnson, a country doctor who lived in South Dakota, who I think had hyperactive ADHD. He was known to always be on the move, and wherever he was sitting, he would bounce his leg incessantly. I think my great-grandma was similar, without the leg-bouncing, because she would never sit for long before getting up to do something. As a youth, she loved running, and I think climbing, and she used to beat the boys at school in that new game they got to play… basketball! She was a “Rosie the Riveter” in WWII, kept an immaculate house even when she could hardly see anymore, and had marvelous rosebushes and a couple of bountiful citrus trees. Oh, and active in her women’s group for decades that raised funds and awarded scholarships for girls.)

Use of phone apps can give a person quick dopamine hits, which helps feed that need for the ADHD brain.

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So… I don’t think I like this drug.

I mean I do… and I don’t. I feel a little more relaxed. That’s fine. However, it’s gotten all sorts of quiet up in here.

I feel impaired. Like when I’ve had a few drinks and things begin to slow. I feel happy and relaxed and the room has yet to start spinning. But I feel impaired.

I’ll give it a little while longer. But while a vacation from the constant churn and a little relaxation might seem nice for a time. I don’t think I can operate like this long term.

Also, I am having tinnitus now. Anyone else had that? I am not enjoying it.