Find providers

Strattera vs. Adderall: What Is the Difference & Which One Should I Take?


handful of adhd medication

Share This Post

Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be complex, but there are many medications that can make managing the disorder much easier. Strattera and Adderall are just some of the many drugs used to treat symptoms of ADHD, and while they may have similar effects on the body, there are some important distinctions between how they work.

If you believe you have ADHD, proper medication could be the answer. Schedule a call with an experienced medical provider who can diagnose your condition and, if indicated, provide ADHD treatment online.

How Strattera and Adderall Work

Both Strattera and Adderall are medications that affect the brain’s neurotransmitters. Adderall in particular has been known to increase the effectiveness of norepinephrine and serotonin, while Strattera’s main focus is to assist with how the brain uses norepinephrine. Regardless, both drugs serve to help people maintain focus, something that is often a shortcoming for those with ADHD symptoms.

Dosage & Cost Comparison

Strattera and Adderall both have similar dosages to choose from, although the dosages for Strattera can get much higher than those available with Adderall. Compared to Adderall, Strattera can be a much more expensive medication for those looking for ADHD treatment, though depending on the dosage Strattera can have much longer lasting effects. Both drugs can also have serious interactions with other medications, and should only be taken under the supervision of a licensed clinician.

High Blood Pressure Warning

Individuals with high blood pressure need to exercise extreme caution when using Strattera and Adderall. Due to Adderall’s stimulant nature, it can be especially dangerous to those with any blood pressure or heart conditions. If, after taking either medication, you experience a severe headache, anxiety, chest pain, uneven heartbeat, or shortness of breath, you should stop taking them and contact your doctor immediately.

DEA Classification

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Adderall is classified as a Schedule II narcotic drug with an increased risk of addiction or abuse. Strattera is not a controlled substance due in part to its non-stimulant nature, but as with any medication it should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor. The medications are restricted on varying basis state by state.

Which Is More Effective?

There is little official information on whether Adderall or Strattera is a more effective ADHD medication, but due to Adderall’s ubiquity, it is often considered a first-choice treatment and is widely prescribed for the disorder.

Strattera Overview

Forms and Dosages

Strattera comes in capsules in 7 different dosages ranging from as low as 10 mg to as high as 100 mg. Strattera does not have a separate extended-release form, but it also does not have to be taken as frequently as Adderall.

Indications and Conditions Treated

Strattera is primarily used to treat ADHD, but its effect on the brain also makes it an effective way to restore the balance of neurotransmitters.


The cost of Strattera can range widely depending on the dosage and the number of capsules. The generic medication (Atomoxetine) can be as low as $44 for 7 of the 10 mg capsules, to as high as $1,501 for 90 of the 100 mg capsules. Most health insurances will cover generic Strattera.

Your provider on Klarity may be able to help you find coupons to reduce the cost of your Strattera prescription.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Strattera include the following:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decrease in sexual desire

Notify your doctor immediately if you experience serious side effects such as an irregular heartbeat, fainting, numbness, or difficulty urinating.

Warnings for Use

Although Strattera is not in the same drug class as Adderall, it should still be treated as a potentially addictive substance. This medication should only be taken at the discretion of a licensed professional to avoid any serious side effects.

Adderall Overview

Forms and Dosages

Adderall comes in tablets that range from 5 mg to 30 mg. These immediate-release tablets are typically taken two to three times per day, but the extended-release form of the medication (Adderall XR) should only need to be taken once. These extended-release capsules have a similar dosage range as the immediate-release tablets.

Indications and Conditions Treated

Adderall is FDA-approved to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. It also has several off-label uses, including the treatment of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.


Without insurance, brand-name Adderall can cost around $8 per 5 mg tablet, with a 30 day supply costing as much as $237. Adderall’s generic form can be much more affordable, ranging from $13 for 30 days of 5 mg pills up to $85 for 30 days of the maximum dose extended-release capsules. Due to their increased efficacy over time, extended-release capsules tend to cost more than their immediate-release counterparts.

Your provider on Klarity may be able to help you find coupons to help lower the cost of your Adderall prescription.

Side Effects

Some of the common side effects of Adderall are similar to those of Strattera

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • More serious side effects include the following:
  • Behavior changes
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Signs of blood flow problems

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience shortness of breath, fainting, severe headaches, extreme tiredness, or blurred vision.

Warnings for Use

Adderall can be habit-forming and should only be taken at the discretion of a licensed physician. If the effectiveness of Adderall begins to decline, the dosage may need to be increased.

Which ADHD Medication Should You Take?

Whether it’s Strattera or Adderall, your healthcare provider will determine the best ADHD medication for you. Discuss your full medical history and any medications you’re currently taking to avoid complications. Review the list of foods that should be avoided when taking these medications as well.

There are more side effects to taking Strattera or Adderall than what has been listed above, and while rare, you should still be aware of them before taking either medication. Talk to your doctor about any potential side effects and when to seek medical help.

Adderall and Strattera are both commonly-prescribed ADHD medications, but are either of them right for you? Book an online appointment to speak with a licensed and certified medical professional who will determine the best way to treat your ADHD.

Start today, and discuss your symptoms with a specialist who can help.

Same Day appointments available

Recent Posts

More To Explore

Can Anxiety Cause Night Sweats?

Can Anxiety Cause Night Sweats? Anxiety can cause night sweats, but how? Just because you have the occasional night sweats doesn’t necessarily mean you have

ADHD Medication Guide

Finding the right ADHD medication to treat your symptoms can be overwhelming, especially with so many options out there. We’ve compiled an ADHD medication guide