Nonstimulant Therapy, Strattera: Other ADHD Drugs (cont.)
Other, less common risks from Strattera include:
- Jaundice and liver problems. If you develop yellowing of the skin or whites
of the eyes, contact your doctor right away.
- Suicidal thinking. There's a possibility that Strattera
-- like many
antidepressantdrugs -- may slightly increase the risk of suicidal thinking in
- Slowed growth in children. Your doctor will probably keep a close eye on your
child's height and weight.
- Priapism, or erections that last more than four hours.
- Serious allergic
reactions. While rare, some people develop
rashes, hives, or swelling.
Side Effects include:
Since Intuniv can
cause drowsiness, make sure you know how it affects you before you try driving
or operating heavy machinery.
Rarer and more serious side effects include:
Kapvay contains the same active
ingredients seen in some types of blood pressure medications known as clonidine.
These medications work on the brain to help control heart rate and blood
Kapvay's common side effects include sleepiness and tiredness. Side effects
may also include symptoms of upper respiratory infection, such as:
Who Shouldn't Take Nonstimulants?
Nonstimulants are not the right medication
for everybody with ADHD. You should probably not take Strattera if you:
- Have been diagnosed with narrow angle glaucoma (a condition that causes
increased pressure in the eyes and can lead to blindness)
- Use a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) for depression, like Nardil or Parnate
- Have an allergy
to any of the ingredients in Strattera
- Have jaundice or liver problems
should probably not take Intuniv if you:
- Have an allergy to any of the ingredients in Intuniv
- Take other products
containing guanfacine, like the blood pressure medicine Tenex
Do not take Kapvay
if you are allergic to clonidine in Kapvay.
Before starting treatment with a nonstimulant medication, talk to your doctor
about your medical history and go over all the risks.
Nonstimulants: Tips and Precautions
If you've been prescribed a nonstimulant
for ADHD, be sure to tell your doctor:
- If you are nursing, pregnant, or plan to become pregnant.
- If you take any
prescription medications for other conditions, like blood pressure drugs,
antidepressants, sedatives, or antipsychotics.
- If you take any dietary
supplements, herbal medicines, or over-the-counter medications.
- If you have any
medical problems, including high or low blood pressure, seizures, heart disease,
glaucoma, mental health issues, liver disease or jaundice, or kidney problems.
- If you have had an allergic reaction to any medications in the past.
- If you have
a history of drug or alcohol abuse or dependency.
- If you become agitated or
irritable, or develop suicidal thoughts.
Like any medication, Strattera Intuniv,
and Kapvay should always be taken exactly as prescribed. Strattera is usually
taken once or twice a day and Kapvay is taken twice a day. Intuniv is a
once-a-day drug. Your doctor will probably want you to check in periodically. He
or she may order some lab tests to make sure that the drug is working and not
causing any problems.
Antidepressant Drugs for ADHD
Several types of antidepressant drugs can be
used to treat ADHD. Antidepressant therapy for ADHD is sometimes used as the
treatment of choice for children or adults who have ADHD and depression.
Antidepressants, however, are generally not as effective as stimulants or
nonstimulants at improving attention span and concentration.
Antidepressants used for treating ADHD include the following:
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Pamelor, Aventyl, Tofranil and Norpramin,
have been shown to be helpful in children and adults with ADHD, but they can
cause some unpleasant side effects, such as dry mouth, constipation, or urinary
problems. They are also relatively inexpensive.
- Wellbutrin is a different type
of antidepressant that is very effective in treating ADHD in adults and
children. It is generally well-tolerated, but it also has some side effects that
may be a problem for some people who have anxiety or seizures.
- Effexor and
Effexor XR are newer antidepressants that increase the levels of norepinephrine
and serotonin in the brain. The drugs are effective at improving mood and
concentration in adults as well as children and teens. Effexor can be used to
treat ADHD, but not commonly.
- Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors are a group of
antidepressants that can treat ADHD with some benefit, but are rarely used
because they have significant and sometimes dangerous side effects and can
dangerously interact with foods and other medications. They may be of benefit in
people where other medications have failed. Examples include Nardil or Parnate.