While both are used to treat ADHD, the way they address the symptoms is different. In this article, we’ll go over each medication and highlight the essential differences so you know what to expect when they’re added to your treatment plan.

7 Primary Differences Of Strattera vs Adderall

Adderall Is a Stimulant - Strattera Is An Antidepressant

Adderall aims to address ADHD by stimulating the central nervous system to produce more neurotransmitters, primarily dopamine, to make up for the deficiency that occurs in those with the disorder. Its stimulating effects improve focus, alertness, and energy to combat the symptoms of ADHD but can cause anxiety or cardiac symptoms in certain users that may limit its usability.

Strattera is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), not a stimulant. Strattera works to increase the availability of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that impacts focus, awareness, and learning, to help address the cognitive symptoms of ADHD. It aims to fix the chemical imbalance over time without the stimulating effects of other ADHD treatments, producing less intense reactions that are more tolerable to most users.

Adderall Is Fast-Acting - Strattera Takes Time

Adderall produces results quickly, usually within an hour. As a stimulant, Adderall is able to impact the central nervous system shortly after ingestion to produce additional dopamine and norepinephrine. As the drug leaves your system, levels return to normal over time, and the stimulating effects wear off.

Strattera is a long-lasting, slow-acting medication that can take up to 8 weeks to achieve optimal results. As an antidepressant, it works by building up in the bloodstream over extended periods of time. As levels increase and stabilize, Strattera is able to modulate the norepinephrinergic receptors in the brain to lessen the reuptake of norepinephrine, increasing the concentration so that the brain has what it needs to work effectively.

Strattera Targets Norepinephrine - Adderall Targets Dopamine and Norepinephrine

ADHD is treated by increasing the levels of essential chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Stimulants and antidepressants accomplish this in different ways.

Adderall stimulates the central nervous system to produce more dopamine and norepinephrine. It also regulates the reuptake of dopamine through the dopaminergic receptors in the brain, which keeps a higher concentration available for the brain to use.

Strattera acts specifically on the norepinephrinergic receptors to increase the levels of norepinephrine in the brain. It doesn’t increase the production of either neurotransmitter but has also been shown to increase the concentration of dopamine as a secondary effect.

Adderall Is A Controlled Substance - Strattera Isn’t

Adderall can be a difficult medication to be prescribed (and hard to find with the Adderall shortage). It’s classified as a Schedule II substance, which means that it has certain national and state-imposed restrictions placed upon it that limit who can prescribe it. Generally, users need to establish a patient-physician relationship through in-person appointments with their doctor to be prescribed anywhere except in-person.

Strattera has no limitations on prescription, allowing it to be prescribed by your general practitioner, psychiatrist, or other licensed clinician. 

Adderall Has A Higher Addiction Risk Than Strattera

Adderall’s fast-acting stimulative effects put it at risk of being abused, which is why it’s a Schedule II substance. In higher doses, it can cause a euphoric effect that becomes addictive over extended periods of time. However, the risk is lessened when taken correctly.

Strattera isn’t a scheduled drug and is not considered to be addictive, but it can cause withdrawal effects with sudden discontinuation.

Strattera Lasts Longer Than Adderall

Adderall works quickly but doesn’t last as long as daily antidepressants like Strattera. 

Adderall’s effects continue for 4-12 hours, depending on if it’s an immediate-release or extended-release form of the drug. Users may take Adderall 1-3 times per day.

Strattera is a once-a-day medication that lasts for up to 24 hours thanks to a longer half-life that keeps levels stable for longer.

Strattera vs Adderall Side Effects

As a stimulant, Adderall impacts breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure, which can increase anxiety and agitation while causing headaches, nausea, dizziness, and, in extreme cases, seizures.

Strattera’s side effects generally reflect other antidepressants, causing symptoms like nausea, sleep changes, constipation, sexual side effects, and headaches that resolve as blood concentrations stabilize.

Find The Right Medication For You With Done

Medication management is an effective element of treating ADHD and its associated symptoms. As part of a treatment plan, the right medication can be game-changing.

At Done, our licensed team of clinicians works with you to find the right medication that meets your needs and minimizes side effects. After a 1-minute assessment, you’ll be able to schedule an appointment with a licensed clinician who will evaluate your symptoms, create a treatment plan, and provide any follow-up case necessary until your symptoms are treated effectively.

Get answers to Straterra vs Adderall and much more with Done.