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) is a choice medication for children and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who cannot take amphetamine-based medications, but has a risk of suicidal thoughts.

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.
  • Strattera (atomoxetine) is one of the few medications used to treat Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder that's not a stimulant.
  • It's not a controlled substance compared to other medications used for this condition.
  • Strattera (atomoxetine) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Strattera (atomoxetine) usually only has to be taken once daily.
  • It is available as a cheaper, generic form.
  • Strattera (atomoxetine) doesn't have to be tapered when discontinued.
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.
  • Strattera (atomoxetine) is a second-line medication used to treat ADHD. Other medications are usually tried first.
  • Strattera (atomoxetine) can cause liver toxicity. If this occurs, it is likely to happen within the first 120 days of starting treatment.
  • Strattera (atomoxetine) can cause changes in mood and behavior that may lead to suicidal thoughts, unlike alternative ADHD medications.
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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
28possible side effects
  • Nausea
    26%
  • Dry mouth
    20%
  • Decreased appetite
    16%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    15%
  • Fatigue
    10%
  • Constipation
    8%
  • Dizziness
    8%
  • Drowsiness
    8%
  • Erectile dysfunction
    8%
  • Stomach pain
    7%
  • Urinary hesitation
    6%
  • Irritability
    5%
  • Indigestion
    4%
  • Vomiting
    4%
  • Abnormal dreams
    4%
  • Ejaculation delayed and/or ejaculation disorder
    4%
  • Sweating
    4%
  • Palpitations
    3%
  • Chills
    3%
  • Burning/prickling sensation
    3%
  • Decreased sex drive
    3%
  • Sleep disorder
    3%
  • Pain during menstruation
    3%
  • Hot flush
    3%
  • Feeling jittery
    2%
  • Thirst
    2%
  • Weight loss
    2%
  • Pain on urination
    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
  • Liver toxicity
  • Serious or life-threatening events
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and mood changes
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Prolonged erection
  • Long-term growth suppression
    • Use of Strattera (atomoxetine) in children
See more detailed risks and warnings