Atomoxetine (Molecule of the Month for September 2007)
Strattera, Attentin, ADHD
Atomoxetine is the first non-stimulant drug approved for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Atomoxetine is classified as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, and is approved for use in children, adolescents, and adults. However, its efficacy has not been studied in children under six years old. Its advantage over stimulants for the treatment of ADHD is that it has less abuse potential than stimulants, is not scheduled as a controlled substance and has proven in clinical trials to offer 24 hour coverage of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults and children.
Strattera was originally intended to be a new antidepressant drug; however, in clinical trials, no such benefits could be proven. Since norepinephrine is believed to play a role in ADHD, Strattera was tested and subsequently approved as an ADHD treatment. Clinical experiemnts are currently being untaken to test Atomoxetine use in weight loss programs with obese people or those with a binge eating disorder.
In September 2005, Strattera was determined to increase risk of suicidal thoughts among children and adolescents; one attempted suicide and five cases of suicidal thoughts were reported out of 1,357 young patients taking Strattera, while none was reported out of a control group of 851 taking placebos. The FDA has required that black box warnings be placed on all antidepressant medications warning they may result in increased risk of suicidal tendencies in children and adolescents; therefore, Strattera bears such a warning.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for September 2007 )