Strattera medication question

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by idohope, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. idohope

    idohope Member


    Not directly related to my difficult child...but an adult member of my extended family who started taking Strattera a couple of months ago. I dont think ADD is the only issue this person has although there is no other official diagnosis, but I have heard mention of depression and BiPolar (BP). Meaning, for example, that behaviors have been observed and lay people have said "Gee I wonder if its BiPolar (BP)"?

    This person has always had some anger management issues and they seem a little intense over the last couple of weeks.

    I love to hear any experiences strattera side effects, or its effects when ADD is a misdiagnosis.

    Thank you,
  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I have both mild Asperberger's Syndrome and severe Bi-Polar Syndrome. Early on a psychiatrist misdiagnosed me as having ADHD due to my actual issues (severe anxiety, etc) causing ADHD-like symptoms.

    She prescribed Strattera for me.

    It seemed like a good idea as it is actually a specialized anti-depressant.

    It made me incredibly irritable and angry and after a couple of months threw me into flat-out mania. I also became actively suicidal.

    As it turns out, after careful analysis, I was put on medications for the Bi-Polar which controlled a lot of the so-called ADHD symptoms.

    I have since tried several other anti-depressants and while I know that some Bi-Polar folks can take medications for ADHD once stable on Bi-polar medications, many cannot.

    I am one of those.

    by the way. Studies have shown that Strattera actually helps less than fifty percent of people with true ADHD.

    It's not that great a drug.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    A few things you need to know about Strattera:

    Even though it is prescribed for ADHD, it is an antidepressant, not the typical stimulant used for ADHD.

    It has only about a 40 percent efficacy rate for people who truly do have ADHD.

    Side effects include anger and irritabilility, even if you do have ADHD.

    So . . . even if this person is acting worse on Strattera, it doesn't necessarily say all that much about the diagnosis. It does say something about how Strattera is affecting this person.

    The best bet is for this person to see a psychiatrist . . . the sooner, the better.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hubby was put on Strattera when he was first diagnosis'd about 7 years ago. I didn't want him taking it, because he had been diagnosis'd unipolar depressive after his first divorce, but he gave it a try. It was an awful month. The dosage was too low (it's weight dependent), so I started ramping it up slowly to get it where it should be...still awful. Mood swings, crying jags, paranoia, temper flares...and I kept the dosage and behaviors listed on a spreadsheet. After the month from Hades, my spreadsheet and I went to the dr with him. I handed over my paper and said, "Ritalin. Now. This isn't working."
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 3 has ADHD as well as autism and has been successfully treated with dexamphetamine for the ADHD component. Wetried Concerta but he got rebound on that. We were trying to get him off the usual ADHD medications because of his extreme anxiety (which stimulants are beleived to make worse). So we tried Strattera, and for difficult child 3 it was an absolute disaster. He lasted on it three days and with hindsight we should have taken him to the hospital. But instead we got him home and weaned him off it over the next few days. It took about a week to boil out of his system enough for him to cope a bit better again.

    it really was nasty - he got violent, teary, aggressive, verbally garrulous, talked non-stop and argued non-stop with circular logic. The extreme irritability was horrible and made a lot of things worse.

    But he still has ADHD.

    The psychiatrist did tell us that he had not expected much of Strattera, but it was the therapist who had requested we try it.

    So if Strattera doesn't work, or causes problems, don't immediately assume that ADHD can't be the diagnosis. It still can be.

  6. idohope

    idohope Member

    Thank you all for the helpful responses.

    My understanding with this situation is that there is no psychiatrist involved. The primary care prescribed the strattera at the suggestion of the patient.

    Anyway, this is adult and I really have no influence. I will suggest that they may be experiencing this as a side effect and for now keep my kids away, so they don't witness any angry outbursts.

    Was thinking that further clarification on a diagnosis could be an important piece of family history information for difficult child, although ADD has not been mentioned for her.
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    If this adult is a bio relative of your difficult child, then the diagnosis is important medical history for your difficult child. Given that ADHD, depression or bipolar might be on the table for consideration, a psychiatrist evaluation is very important for this adult.
  8. Southbound

    Southbound New Member

    I have two ADHD kids on Strattera; one is 15 and the other 12. My older one has been taking it for about six months now. His main problems were impulsiveness and lack of focus, and the medication definitely helps with those. I will say that he is less animated and "happy" than he would be off of the Strattera; but I wouldn't describe him as irritable (at least, no more so than before). He is more subdued and in control, which is what we want. He does display some compulsiveness - such as the need to make sure the doors are locked at night - but I don't think the medication is the cause of it. Before he went on it, he was suffering from anxiety and it has improved. Mind you, he is taking Zoloft as well as Straterra. It is a pretty good combination, though by no means a magical one.

    I hope it continues to work for him. My younger one just started and so far, so good. It seems to have a similar impact on her.