ADHD Medicines: Suicide Warning for Strattera

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ADHD Medicines: Suicide Warning for Strattera

Topic Overview

Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued advisories on the medicine Strattera (atomoxetine). This medicine may be used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Taking this drug may increase the risk of thinking about suicide in people of all ages.

The Health Canada and FDA warnings are 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 behaviour changes in people taking Strattera. Parents and patients should discuss with the doctor any changes in behaviour. These include increased agitation, irritability, or suicidal thinking. This is especially important at the beginning of treatment or when doses are changed.

Also, Health Canada and the FDA have 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.

Health Canada and the FDA do not advise people to stop taking Strattera but to watch for signs of suicidal thinking.

References

Citations

  1. 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.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised July 22, 2010

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