Compare Ritalin vs. Strattera

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Concerta
(Methylphenidate)

Strattera
(Atomoxetine)

Helps you focus and stay alert. Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD. It comes in many different forms and is also available as a generic. That said, the immediate-release form needs to be taken more frequently than other alternatives.Helps you focus and stay alert. Strattera (Atomoxetine) isn't considered a first-line medication for ADHD, but since it isn't a stimulant, it's still highly recommended.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
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4.770873786407767Ritalin
Reviews for Concerta (Methylphenidate)
59%
of people say Concerta (Methylphenidate) is worth it
41%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Strattera (Atomoxetine)
45%
14% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
32%
9% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
25%
6% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
Side effects
RitalinStrattera

The Ritalin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Ritalin side effects »
  • Nausea 20%
  • Dry mouth 15%
  • Decreased appetite 13%
  • Abdominal pain 8%
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Impotence 7%
  • Sleep difficulty 7%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Difficulty with urination flow 5%
More Strattera side effects »
How it works
RitalinStrattera
Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a stimulant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for ADHD, but it increases norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.Strattera (Atomoxetine) is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (non-stimulant). Researchers don't know exactly how it works for ADHD, but it increases norepinephrine activity in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.
Type of medication
RitalinStrattera
StimulantPrescription only
Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)Prescription only
Available as
RitalinStrattera
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
RitalinStrattera
Risk factors for serious side effects
RitalinStrattera
  • History of heart problems
  • History of psychotic episodes
  • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Children ages 7 to 10
  • History of drug abuse
  • History of seizures
      Detailed Concerta (Methylphenidate) risks & warnings »
      • Age below 18
        • History of heart problems
        • History of psychotic episodes
        • History of Bipolar Disorder
            • Starting Strattera (Atomoxetine) before puberty
            Detailed Strattera (Atomoxetine) risks & warnings »
            Pregnancy category
            RitalinStrattera
            CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

            Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

            See the FDA package insert
            CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

            Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

            See the FDA package insert
            Alcohol
            • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
            • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
            No specific alcohol-related info.
            Food
            No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
            Kidneys and liver
            No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
            Sex
            • There have been reports of men having an erection lasting more than 4 hours while on Concerta (Methylphenidate). This has been rare and usually happened after a person's dose of Concerta (Methylphenidate) was increased. If not treated in time, this can cause permanent damage to your penis, including impotence. Talk to your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if this happens.
            • It can cause changes in sex drive.
            • There have been reports of men having an erection lasting more than 4 hours while on Strattera (Atomoxetine). This has been rare. If not treated in time, this can cause permanent damage to your penis, including impotence. Talk to your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if this happens.
            Sleep
            No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
            Weight
            • Appetite suppression may occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Concerta (Methylphenidate) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children ages seven to ten years. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
            • Appetite suppression may occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Strattera (Atomoxetine) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children who started the medication before they started puberty. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
            Upsides and benefits
            RitalinStrattera
            • First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
            • Concerta (Methylphenidate) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
            • Available as a generic medication.
            • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release oral tablets, chewable immediate-release tablets, liquid, suspension, and skin patches.
            • Capsules can be opened and sprinkled in water or applesauce for people who don't like swallowing pills.
            • One of the few medications used to treat ADHD that's not a stimulant.
            • It isn't a controlled substance.
            • Strattera (Atomoxetine) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
            • You usually only need to take it once a day.
            Downsides and risks
            RitalinStrattera
            • The immediate-release form needs to be taken two or three times a day.
            • After taking Concerta, the tablet shell can be seen in your stool, but don't be concerned since the medication was still absorbed by your body.
            • The second or third dose needs be taken by early afternoon, otherwise insomnia can affect you that night.
            • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
            • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
            • It's a second-line medication used to treat ADHD. Other medications are usually tried first.
            • It's only available as a brand name medication, so it can be expensive.
            Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
            RitalinStrattera
            • Since it comes in many different forms, there are different requirements for how to take or use each type. Make sure you know how to take the one you have.
            • Store Concerta (Methylphenidate) in a locked area to prevent abuse.
            • Take it early in the morning to prevent insomnia later that night.
            • It can cause changes in your mood.
            • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
            • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
            • It can cause changes in sex drive.
            • It can also cause changes in your mood.
            • Take it at the same time every day.
            • Common side effects include decreased appetite, nausea, and constipation.
            • The capsules can't be opened and need to be swallowed whole.
            • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
            Learn more
            More about RitalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            More about StratteraSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert