The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent out an advisory on the
medicine Strattera (atomoxetine). This medicine may be used to treat
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Taking this
drug may increase the risk in children of thinking about suicide.
The FDA warning is based on studies of 2,200 children. One child who
was taking Strattera tried to kill himself. Other studies showed that 4 out of
1,000 children treated with Strattera thought about killing themselves.1 This means that 996 out of 1,000 children did not think about
Doctors and caregivers are advised to watch for any
behavior changes in children and teens taking Strattera. Parents and patients
should discuss with the doctor any changes in behavior. These include
increased agitation, irritability, or suicidal thinking. This is especially
important at the beginning of treatment or when doses are changed.
Also, the FDA has asked the maker of Strattera, Eli Lilly and
Company, to add a boxed warning to its label and to develop a medicine guide
that includes this new risk information. With each prescription or refill of
Strattera, pharmacists will give the medicine
guide to patients, families, and caregivers.
The FDA does not advise people to stop taking Strattera. But people who take this medicine should be watched for signs of suicidal thinking.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2005). FDA issues
public health advisory on Strattera (atomoxetine) for attention deficit
disorder. FDA News P05-65. Available online: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2005/ucm108493.htm.
February 2, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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