Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine vs. Strattera: Exploring the Key Differences10 min read

Intrigued by the options for managing ADHD? Dive into the world of Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine, commonly known as stimulants, and Strattera, a non-stimulant medication. Let’s uncover the crucial disparities between these treatments and understand their implications for ADHD management.

  • Understanding ADHD Medications: Explore the fundamental differences between stimulant and non-stimulant ADHD medications.
  • Mechanisms of Action: Delve into how Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine stimulate the central nervous system, while Strattera takes a different approach.
  • Effectiveness and Speed: Learn about the varying timelines for symptom relief and effectiveness of these medications.
  • Side Effects and Tolerability: Discover the common and unique side effects associated with each medication.
  • Individual Considerations: Understand which factors should guide your choice between these treatments.
  • Long-term Outlook: Explore the implications of long-term use and the potential for medication adjustments over time.

Understanding ADHD Medications

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medications can be broadly classified into two categories: stimulants and non-stimulants. These categories offer distinct approaches to managing the condition. Stimulants, such as Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine, work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. In contrast, Strattera, a non-stimulant, affects different neurotransmitters. The choice between these medication types depends on various factors, including the patient’s specific needs and medical history.

Mechanisms of Action

Stimulants like Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine primarily target dopamine and norepinephrine, enhancing their availability in the brain. This heightened neurotransmitter activity can lead to increased focus, attention, and reduced impulsivity. Strattera, on the other hand, functions as a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (NRI). It boosts norepinephrine levels, impacting executive functions associated with ADHD.

Effectiveness and Speed

  • Stimulant Effectiveness: Stimulants often provide rapid relief from ADHD symptoms, with noticeable improvements within hours.
  • Strattera’s Gradual Onset: Strattera takes a longer time to reach its full effect, often several weeks. It requires patience while waiting for symptom improvement.

Side Effects and Tolerability

Stimulants and Strattera come with their own set of side effects. Stimulants may cause insomnia, reduced appetite, and increased heart rate. Strattera can lead to side effects like drowsiness, upset stomach, or mood changes. Tolerability varies among individuals, and it’s crucial to discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider.

Individual Considerations

  • Age and Health: The choice between these medications may vary based on age, existing health conditions, and individual preferences.
  • Response to Medication: Some individuals may respond better to one type of medication than the other. A trial period may be necessary to determine the most effective treatment.

Long-term Outlook

  • Medication Adjustments: Over time, medication needs may change. Regular evaluations with a healthcare provider can help adjust the treatment plan as needed.
  • Behavioral Interventions: Medication is often just one part of ADHD management. Behavioral therapies and lifestyle modifications can complement medication for comprehensive treatment.

Managing Side Effects

Addressing Stimulant Side Effects

Stimulant medications like Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine can cause side effects like sleep disturbances and reduced appetite. To manage these, it’s essential to take stimulants early in the day to minimize insomnia and monitor your food intake to ensure proper nutrition.

Handling Strattera’s Side Effects

Strattera may lead to fatigue or mood changes. If you experience these side effects, consider taking it in the evening to minimize daytime drowsiness. Open communication with your healthcare provider is key for managing these effects.

Tips for Coping

  • Staying Hydrated: Adequate hydration can help with dry mouth, a common side effect of both medication types.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Eating regular, balanced meals can help counteract appetite suppression associated with stimulants.
  • Emotional Support: Reach out to friends or a therapist for emotional support if mood changes become problematic.

Exploring Potential Interactions

Combining Stimulants with Strattera

Some individuals may require a combination of stimulants and Strattera to effectively manage their ADHD symptoms. However, this should be under close medical supervision due to the potential for interactions.

Other Medication Interactions

It’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you’re taking to assess potential interactions. Some drugs may interact with either Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine or Strattera, affecting their efficacy or safety.

Medication Interaction Risks

  • Increased Blood Pressure: Combining certain medications with stimulants may raise blood pressure, necessitating careful monitoring.
  • Liver Enzyme Interactions: Some drugs can affect the metabolism of Strattera in the liver, potentially altering its effectiveness.

Duration of Treatment

Short-term vs. Long-term Use

Deciding the duration of ADHD medication use depends on individual needs and responses. Some may require short-term treatment during specific periods, while others benefit from long-term, ongoing management.

Regular Check-ins with Healthcare Providers

Regardless of the duration, routine follow-ups with healthcare providers are essential. They can assess your progress, monitor side effects, and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Monitoring and Adjustment

Tracking Progress

Regularly monitor the effectiveness of your chosen medication. Document changes in your symptoms and any side effects. This data can help you and your healthcare provider make informed decisions about treatment adjustments.

Adjusting Dosages

Dosage adjustments may be necessary to optimize treatment outcomes. Healthcare providers can increase or decrease medication doses based on your response and tolerance.

Collaborative Approach

  • Communication: Maintain open communication with your healthcare provider regarding any concerns or changes in your condition.
  • Objective Evaluation: Use objective measures, such as symptom rating scales, to assess treatment progress accurately.

Potential for Tolerance

Tolerance with Stimulants

With stimulant medications like Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine, some individuals may develop tolerance over time, requiring higher doses for the same effect. This phenomenon necessitates careful monitoring.

Strattera and Tolerance

Strattera typically does not lead to tolerance in the same way as stimulants. However, its efficacy may vary from person to person, and adjustments may still be needed.

Strategies to Address Tolerance

  • Medication Holidays: Periodic breaks from stimulant medications can help mitigate tolerance.
  • Alternative Medication Options: In cases of tolerance, healthcare providers may explore alternative ADHD medications.

Psychological and Behavioral Support

Complementary Therapies

In addition to medication, consider complementary therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or psychoeducation. These approaches can teach valuable coping strategies and enhance the effectiveness of medication.

Lifestyle Modifications

Explore lifestyle changes that can support ADHD management, such as establishing routines, improving time management skills, and optimizing your environment for productivity.

Building a Support Network

  • Peer Support: Connect with support groups or individuals who share similar experiences with ADHD.
  • Professional Guidance: Seek guidance from therapists or counselors specializing in ADHD management.

ADHD Medications in Children

Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine for Pediatric ADHD

Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine are commonly prescribed for children with ADHD. However, pediatric dosing and monitoring are essential to ensure safe and effective treatment.

Strattera’s Use in Children

Strattera can be a suitable option for children who do not respond well to stimulants or have contraindications. Discuss the benefits and risks with a pediatric specialist.

Pediatric Considerations

  • Growth Monitoring: Regularly assess a child’s growth and development while on medication to ensure healthy progress.
  • Educational Support: Collaborate with educators and therapists to provide comprehensive support for children with ADHD.

Managing ADHD in Adolescents

Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Care

Adolescents with ADHD may face challenges during the transition to adult healthcare. It’s crucial to address this transition process smoothly to maintain continuity of care.

Tailoring Treatment for Adolescents

Adolescents may have unique needs and preferences regarding ADHD medication. Involving them in treatment decisions and fostering independence is vital.

Educational and Lifestyle Guidance

  • Educational Planning: Collaborate with schools to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan for adolescents with ADHD.
  • Time Management Skills: Adolescents can benefit from learning time management strategies to navigate academic and social responsibilities.

ADHD Medications in Adults

Continued Use in Adulthood

Many individuals with ADHD continue to require medication into adulthood. Understand the potential long-term benefits and considerations for adult ADHD management.

Coexisting Conditions in Adults

Adults with ADHD often have coexisting conditions such as anxiety or depression. Treatment plans should account for these comorbidities for comprehensive care.

Workplace Strategies

  • Disclosure in the Workplace: Decide whether to disclose your ADHD diagnosis to employers and explore workplace accommodations if needed.
  • Time Management Techniques: Implement time management and organizational strategies to enhance productivity in professional settings.

Combating ADHD Stigma

Challenging Misconceptions

One significant aspect of managing ADHD is addressing the stigma associated with the condition. Many misconceptions and stereotypes exist, and it’s essential to educate others about the realities of ADHD.

Advocacy and Support

Individuals with ADHD, their families, and advocacy organizations play a crucial role in raising awareness and advocating for understanding and acceptance.

Strategies for Advocacy

  • Education Initiatives: Support initiatives that promote ADHD awareness in schools and communities.
  • Peer Support: Connect with others who have ADHD to share experiences and strategies for combating stigma.

Exploring Non-Medication Interventions

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be valuable in conjunction with medication. They focus on teaching coping strategies and improving executive functions.

Dietary and Lifestyle Modifications

Some individuals explore dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle adjustments to complement their ADHD management. While not a replacement for medication, these approaches can be part of a holistic strategy.

Non-Medical Approaches

  • Nutrition and Supplements: Consider dietary choices and consult with a healthcare provider before making significant changes.
  • Exercise and Sleep: Regular physical activity and sufficient sleep can have a positive impact on ADHD symptoms.


In the realm of ADHD management, the choice between Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine and Strattera is a significant decision that should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider. Each medication type has its unique benefits and considerations, and the right choice depends on individual factors, including age, coexisting conditions, and personal preferences. Additionally, a comprehensive treatment plan may involve a combination of medication, behavioral interventions, and lifestyle modifications. By understanding the nuances of these options and actively participating in treatment decisions, individuals with ADHD can achieve better symptom control and an improved quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I take both Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine and Strattera together for ADHD?

Answer: Combining these medications can be considered in certain cases, but it should only be under the guidance of a healthcare provider. They will assess your specific needs, monitor for potential interactions, and determine the appropriate dosage.

2. How do I decide between Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine and Strattera for my child with ADHD?

Answer: The choice depends on factors like age, previous treatment responses, and individual preferences. Stimulants like Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine are often considered first-line for children, but Strattera can be an alternative if stimulants are ineffective or not tolerated.

3. Are there any natural alternatives to Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine and Strattera for ADHD?

Answer: Some people explore natural alternatives like dietary changes, herbal supplements, and behavioral therapy. While these can be complementary, they may not replace the need for medication, especially in severe cases.

4. Do Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine or Strattera have long-term side effects?

Answer: Long-term use of these medications may have side effects, but they vary among individuals. Regular monitoring and open communication with a healthcare provider are crucial to address any concerns and adjust treatment as needed.

5. Can adults with ADHD benefit from Strattera if they didn’t respond well to stimulants in childhood?

Answer: Yes, Strattera can be a viable option for adults with ADHD, even if stimulants were not effective during childhood. Adults may have different responses to medications, and Strattera’s mechanism of action differs from stimulants.

6. How long does it typically take for Strattera to start working?

Answer: Strattera’s onset of action is generally slower compared to stimulants. It may take several weeks of consistent use to experience the full therapeutic effects. Patience is important during the initial phase of Strattera treatment.

7. Are there lifestyle changes that can complement Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine or Strattera treatment?

Answer: Yes, lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a structured routine, getting regular exercise, and practicing stress management techniques can enhance the effectiveness of ADHD medication.

8. What should I do if I experience side effects with Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine or Strattera?

Answer: If you encounter side effects, promptly inform your healthcare provider. They can adjust the dosage, explore alternative medications, or provide strategies to manage side effects effectively.

9. Can I drink alcohol while taking Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine or Strattera?

Answer: It’s essential to consult your healthcare provider regarding alcohol consumption while on these medications. Alcohol can interact with ADHD medications and affect their effectiveness and safety.

10. Is it possible to stop taking ADHD medication like Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine or Strattera after a certain period?

Answer: The duration of medication use varies from person to person. Some individuals may need medication throughout their lives, while others may find they can gradually reduce or discontinue it under medical supervision. The decision should be made in consultation with a healthcar