Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey: Patient Care home Penn State Hershey: Education home Penn State Hershey: Research home Penn State Hershey: Community home
Penn State Hershey Health Information Library
  Library Home
  Find A Physician
  Find A Practice
  Request An Appointment
  Search Clinical Studies
  Classes and Support Groups
  Ask A Health Librarian
  Subscribe to eNewsletters

Penn State Hershey Health Information Centers
  Bone and Joint

        Follow Us

Atomoxetine (By mouth)

Atomoxetine (a-toe-MOX-e-teen)

Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to atomoxetine, or if you have narrow-angle glaucoma, severe heart disease, or pheochromocytoma.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush, break, chew, or open it.
  • Do not touch a broken or opened capsule. Wash your hands with water if you touch an opened capsule. If this medicine gets in your eyes, rinse them with water and call your doctor right away.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine at the same time or within 14 days of taking an MAOI, such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.
  • Some medicines can affect how atomoxetine works. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
    • Asthma medicine, such as albuterol
    • Depression medicine, such as fluoxetine, paroxetine
    • Dobutamine
    • Dopamine
    • Heart rhythm medicine, such as quinidine

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have liver, kidney, heart, or blood vessel disease, heart rhythm problems, high or low blood pressure, or problems with urination.
  • Tell your doctor if you have a history of emotional problems, such as depression. For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine may increase mental or emotional problems. This may lead to thoughts of suicide and violence. Talk with your doctor right away if you have any thoughts or behavior changes that concern you. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has a history of bipolar disorder or suicide attempts.
  • This medicine may cause the following:
    • Liver problems
    • Heart or blood vessel problems
    • Painful or prolonged erection of the penis
    • Slowed growth in children
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or doing anything that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate
  • Erection of the penis that is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours
  • Fast, pounding, uneven heartbeat
  • Headache, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
  • Mood changes, aggressiveness, irritability, depression
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there, believing things that are not true
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Thoughts or plans of suicide
  • Weight changes, slowed growth (children)

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry mouth, constipation, heartburn, stomach pain or upset
  • Loss of interest in sex, trouble having sex
  • Unusual drowsiness, tiredness, or insomnia

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

All rights reserved

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and chrome browser.