Compare Ritalin vs. Strattera

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

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Ritalin (methylphenidate)

Prescription only

Strattera (Atomoxetine)

Prescription only
Helps you focus and stay alert.

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that comes in many different forms, but you need to take this medication more often than alternatives.

3.5/ 5 average rating with 526 reviewsforRitalin
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.

3.2/ 5 average rating with 94 reviewsforStrattera
Upsides
  • First-choice medication to treat ADHD because it is cheap and effective.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) is used with counseling and other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release tablets, chewable tablet, and liquid.
  • Preferred medicine for elderly with ADHD or narcolepsy because it is safer than alternatives for this population.
  • 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
  • Need to take Ritalin (methylphenidate) 2 or 3 times a day compared to other ADHD medications which you can take once daily.
  • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so its not safe for people with heart problems.
  • It's a controlled medication (CII), so you may need to get a new prescription each month from your doctor.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) may affect growth in children and teens in some cases.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) contains a mixture of active and inactive compounds (dexmethylphenidate and methylphenidate, respectively), which may not work as well for some people.
  • 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.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
526 reviews so far
60%
saidit'sworth it
42%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Ritalin (methylphenidate)?

Leave a review
94 reviews so far
46%
saidit'sworth it
32%
saiditworked well
24%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Strattera (Atomoxetine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
17possible side effects
  • Lowered appetite
    25%
  • Headache
    22%
  • Dry mouth
    14%
  • Nausea
    13%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    12%
  • Anxiety
    8%
  • Weight loss
    7%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Irritability
    6%
  • Fast heartbeat
    5%
  • Sweating
    5%
  • Depression
    4%
  • Stomach pain
    2%
  • Loss of appetite
    2%
  • Vomiting
    2%
  • Blurry vision
    2%
  • Aggressive behavior
    2%
See more detailed side effects
30possible side effects
  • Nausea
    26%
  • Dry mouth
    20%
  • Decreased appetite
    16%
  • Insomnia
    15%
  • Changes in heart rate or blood pressure
    10%
  • Fatigue
    10%
  • Constipation
    8%
  • Dizziness
    8%
  • Somnolence
    8%
  • Erectile dysfunction
    8%
  • Abdominal pain
    7%
  • Urinary hesitation
    6%
  • Irritability
    5%
  • Dyspepsia
    4%
  • Vomiting
    4%
  • Abnormal dreams
    4%
  • Ejaculation delayed and/or ejaculation disorder
    4%
  • Hyperhidrosis
    4%
  • Palpitations
    3%
  • Chills
    3%
  • Paraesthesia
    3%
  • Libido decreased
    3%
  • Sleep disorder
    3%
  • Dysmenhorrhea
    3%
  • Hot flush
    3%
  • Feeling jittery
    2%
  • Thirst
    2%
  • Weight loss
    2%
  • Dysuria
    2%
  • Any sexual side effect
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of drug abuse
    • Alcoholism
  • Serious or life-threatening heart problems
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychiatric symptoms
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • History of Tourette's syndrome
  • Height and weight delay in children
    • Children
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Circulation problems in the hands and feet
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Suicidal thinking
    • Age below 18
  • Liver disease
  • Serious or life-threatening cardiovascular events
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychosis
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Prolonged erection
  • Problems with urination
  • Long-term growth suppression
    • Starting Strattera (Atomoxetine) before puberty
See more detailed risks and warnings