Strattera vs. Adderall

Adderall-XR-20mgAdderall is a psychostimulant drug which is primarily used for narcolepsy and ADHD. It is a mixture of amphetamine salts which is considered highly addictive and it has a high potential for abuse due to its “rush” effect. It reduces the hyperactivity and attention deficit by increasing the dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, but also affecting other neurotransmitters. It has a lot of side effects which can be a downside when considering using this medication.

Strattera_atomoxetinOn the other hand, we have a totally different medication which isn’t labeled as a psychostimulant drug which is also being used to treat ADHD. It affects norepinephrine by its reuptake blockage and it helps with overwhelmed stimulation of the brain. Studies have proved its function where it resulted in better outcomes than placebo. It can be a good choice for ADHD considering negative sides of Adderall. Which one is better and can Strattera stand against very popular Adderall? Let’s find out.

Strattera Vs. Adderall Comparison Chart

We will cover some of the most typical things when comparing two drugs, including drug type, ingredient, formats, dosage, etc. We will see what are the different properties and are there some similarities among these two drugs.

Drug typeNorepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (NRI)Psychostimulant
Approved usesADHDADHD / narcolepsy
IngredientsAtomoxetineMixed Amphetamine Salts: 75% Dextroamphetamine + 25% Levoamphetamine
FormatsLA (Long-acting)IR (Immediate release) or XR (Extended release)
Dosages10 mg/18 mg/25 mg/40 mg/60 mg/80 mg/100 mgIR: 5 mg/7.5 mg/10 mg/12.5 mg/15 mg/20 mg/30 mg or XR: 5 mg/10 mg/15 mg/20 mg/25 mg/30 mg
ManufacturerEli Lilly & CompanyShire Pharmaceuticals
Legal StatusPrescription-only (Rx)Schedule II (US)
Mechanism of actionFunctions by primarily inhibiting reuptake of norepinephrine. It elicits a minor degree of serotonin reuptake inhibition and minimally affects dopamine. It also acts as an NMDA receptor antagonist and has a minimal affinity for “mu” and “kappa” opioid receptors as a partial agonist.Functions by increasing levels and inhibiting reuptake of stimulatory neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. It acts as a TAAR1 agonist and VMAT2 inhibitor.
Generic version?No.Yes.
Half life24 hours11 to 13 hours
Common side effectsAppetite loss. Constipation. Dizziness. Dry mouth. Insomnia. Nausea. Sexual dysfunction. Sleepiness. Stomach aches. Weight loss.Abdominal pain. Appetite loss. Diarrhea. Dizziness. Dry Mouth. Fever. Headache. Insomnia. Irritability. Nausea. Nervousness. Vomiting. Weight loss.
Date approvedNovember 26 (2002)February 13 (1996)
Effect durationLA: 24 hoursIR: 4 to 6 hours/XR: 12 hours
Investigational usesBinge eating disorder. Pediatric bedwetting. Treatment-resistant depression. Weight loss.Treatment-resistant depression

The Difference: Strattera Vs. Adderall

Adderall is a mixture of amphetamine salts. It is labeled as a “Schedule II” controlled substance. This makes it very potential for abuse, dependence and addictiveness. It gives the “high rush” when inhibiting reuptake of dopamine, especially the IR form of the drug.

Since Strattera (Atomoxetine) doesn’t affect dopamine, but solely the norepinephrine reuptake inhibition, it has a less addictive side. It improves the focus and productivity but also affecting the serotonin levels which makes it a stress-relief. It increases the norepinephrine levels in the brain, making it easier to concentrate and focus on daily tasks. It provides 24 hours of effect while Adderall covers only 12 hours. It is a long-lasting form of a capsule which covers you for the whole day and night.

Abuse Potential: Strattera Vs. Adderall

Adderall gives a great rush of dopamine and norepinephrine, thus, it gives the psychological euphoria. This is one of the reasons why Adderall is highly addictive and it can have a significant abuse potential. The rush comes from 25% levoamphetamine which reacts right away and the 75% of dextroamphetamine reacts with a delay for the rest of the 12 hours. Those who are on Adderall build tolerance over time, so they need a higher dose to obtain the same effect they got with a lower dosage before. They become physically and psychologically dependent over Adderall due to its effects.

On the other hand, Strattera has a low abuse potential since it affects mostly norepinephrine and slightly on serotonin. It helps with focus, hyperactivity reduction and results in ADHD symptoms retreat. It provides a full day effect with a 24h activity and you do not need multiple dosing like with Adderall. You will not develop such tolerance level as you would with Adderall.

There are some ways where people seek for Adderall for off-label use as students do for passing the test, studying, being productive. It can help with productivity and focus, but it can be a dangerous drug to dose since it has addictive properties and a lot of side effects. Strattera won’t get you that “rush” and euphoria feel like Adderall, especially when snorting.

Cost: Strattera Vs. Adderall

When talking about the cost of these two medicines, there is some difference as well. The price for a brand name Strattera goes up to 290-350$ per monthly supply and it depends on the dosage you are buying. If you’re going for 10 mg, it will cost you less, about 290$. If you’re buying a higher dose, you will probably pay more.

Adderall brand name IR will be about 310$ for a monthly supply and the XR format will be a bit cheaper, about 220$ for the same period.

The generic options will be cheaper than buying a “brand name” drug. For Adderall, it can go between 30$ and 50$ for IR version and 75$ to 150$ for XR format of the drug. Strattera generic drug is not available until 2017, thus, this stays the pricier drug and it can be definitive choice for the ones who don’t have the money to pay for it or for those with a bad insurance.

Formats And Dosage: Strattera Vs. Adderall

Strattera comes only in one format, the long-acting (LA) format of the capsule. It has the atomoxetine ingredient inside which stays active for 24 hours in the body, providing full effect. It is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, which will increase the norepinephrine and it will take a few days for the drug to make some visible results. It comes in a few dosing options, from 10 mg, 18 mg, 25 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg and 100 mg. It has numerous options which help with the tapering process when you are slowly degrading the drug dose.

Adderall comes in IR and XR format and quite some dosing options. It includes 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg when it comes to immediate release (IR). For the other format, extended-release (XR), it comes in 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg and 30 mg. Looking at the dosing options, you have more option when it comes to Adderall, which can be convenient for some people. Since they are not the same drug types, it impossible to compare the same dosing options and its effect.

Efficacy: Strattera Vs. Adderall

When talking about Efficacy, most people wanna know if some of the mentioned drugs are more effective than the other. When looking at the ADHD condition, both drugs are effective when compared to placebo in a double-blind, randomized study. They don’t have enough uniformity to be compared to each other.

One study was conducted among children from the age of 6 to the age of 12. It was double-blind, parallel group study which compared Adderall XR and Strattera efficacy among children. The study has revealed information which went to Adderall’s favor where it was the most effective drug after 3 weeks of treatment. The children had better attention, focus control and did better with math problem solving. The researchers also stated that the effect can be close to similar after a few more weeks since Strattera requires some time to take an effect. It takes up to 4 weeks for the drug to express full effect. When compared to other medications, it was effective as IR Concerta, but not that effective as XR Concerta (methylphenidate) and Adderall XR. Even though Strattera has a lower efficacy over Adderall, it is still considered an option due to high abuse potential of Adderall and its addictiveness.

Mechanism Of Action: Strattera Vs. Adderall

They have a different mechanism of actions. Strattera works as an NRI or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It increases the norepinephrine in extracellular space which affects the brain and stimulates the central nervous system. It results in attention improvement and reduction of hyperactivity. It also affects serotonin and opioid receptors mu and kappa.

Adderall has a mechanism of dopamine reuptake inhibition which also affects norepinephrine levels. It releases the dopamine from the presynaptic neurons further increasing the levels. The IR Adderall strikes right away with its immediate effect which lasts from 4-6 hours. Adderall XR lasts up to 12 hours with the blend of 50% immediate-release and 50% delayed-release beads. Strattera has a long-acting capsule which gives the effect for 24 hours. This makes a huge difference when taking some of these medicines. Depending on what you need, you might opt for the drug that has the properties you are looking for.

Side Effects: Strattera Vs. Adderall

Since they belong to totally different groups, they have different side effects. Some can be similar like appetite reduction, dry mouth, weight loss, nausea, dizziness, insomnia. Adderall affects weight loss more than Strattera, so this has become one of the off-label reasons for using Adderall. Sleepiness is, on the other hand, common in people who are using Strattera. It can cause sexual dysfunction as well.

Withdrawal: Strattera Vs. Adderall

The withdrawal symptoms are significantly worse when discontinuing Adderall when compared to Strattera. Strattera is one of the medicines which is considered to have “no withdrawal” symptoms.

Adderall can have difficult withdrawal symptoms due to dopamine low levels. It can lead to ADHD symptoms exacerbation and can have many downsides which can be hard to bear.

Popularity: Strattera vs. Adderall

When considering general formats of the drugs, Adderall is far more popular than Strattera. It is cheaper and it stands for 35% of prescriptions for ADHD in 2012, as oppose to Strattera which counts 5%. It can be due to a drug price, effectiveness in a short-term, or abuse potential and off-label use.

Did you use any of these drugs? Leave a comment below to share your experience and tell us what do you think of which drug is better.