Signs, Symptoms And Side Effects Of Atomoxetine Abuse

Atomoxetine is a type of medication known as selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), and it is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adults. Atomoxetine is like other ADHD medications as it stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), though it is not classified as a stimulant. It is normally paired with a treatment plan for ADHD.

A person taking atomoxetine should always take it as instructed to avoid the risk of misuse. Stimulants are commonly misused among high school and college students to help them focus and study; people also use stimulants for weight control.

Signs, Symptoms And Side Effects Of Atomoxetine Abuse

Atomoxetine is an SNRI that helps someone control impulsive behavior. It is used to treat ADHD and improves focus, attention span, organization and hyperactivity. Atomoxetine works by inhibiting the absorption (reuptake) of two neurotransmitters called norepinephrine and serotonin. Norepinephrine increases oxygen levels in the brain which allow someone to think more clearly, as well as many other functions. Serotonin, when paired with norepinephrine, controls behavior by regulating impulsive and hyperactive actions. Serotonin also affects mood and is often referred to as the “happy chemical.”

A doctor will recommend atomoxetine because it produces the same stimulating effects as other ADHD medications; however, it has a much lower rate of substance misuse. Atomoxetine is normally taken once or twice a day orally in the morning and early afternoon. It is not recommended to take atomoxetine later in the day, as it may cause sleep problems.

Side effects from atomoxetine are to be expected. The most common side effects are:

  • Insomnia (sleep problems)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Mood swings

Children may experience slightly different side effects — like vomiting — although most are the same.

Stimulants have a high risk for addiction and substance misuse, especially among high school and college students as well as someone who wants to quickly lose weight. Most stimulants that affect the CNS target different neurotransmitters, which greatly affects how often they are misused. Unlike other ADHD medications, atomoxetine does not target the primary neurotransmitters that are responsible for addiction, like dopamine, although it still has a risk for misuse due to its stimulative properties. Because of this, a doctor will prefer to give someone atomoxetine if they have struggled with addiction in the past.

Withdrawal symptoms may occur if atomoxetine was taken at a high dose and used long-term. Substance misuse also increases the chances of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Disorientation (unable to think clearly, confusion)
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability (easily angered)
  • A decrease in mental performance

Most withdrawal symptoms occur due to the lack of serotonin and norepinephrine in the body.

Signs, Symptoms And Side Effects Of Atomoxetine Abuse

Atomoxetine is used to promote clear thinking and organization, so when it is no longer present in a person’s body, they will likely experience a decrease in mental performance and memory. Most long-term effects with subside over time and eventually correct themselves.

If you or a loved one have been taking atomoxetine and are experiencing signs of misuse and substance use disorder, reach out to The Recovery Village today and start your road to recovery. Call us at our toll-free 24/7 hotline at 855-548-9825 to learn more.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.