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ADHD Medicines: Suicide Warning for Strattera - Topic Overview

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 suicide.

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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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