5 Foods To Avoid While Taking Strattera (Atomoxetine)

Managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be challenging, but medications such as Strattera (atomoxetine) can help improve focus and reduce symptoms.

Strattera is an FDA-approved ADHD medicine that is used to treat ADHD symptoms in children aged 6 to 12, adolescents, and adults. 

It is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) medication that has not been researched in children under the age of six.

It’s critical to understand that this medicine influences specific brain chemicals. 

In addition to the benefits of taking Strattera, it is also crucial to be aware of potential interactions with specific foods that may reduce its effectiveness or intensify adverse effects.

That is why we have compiled this list of interactions and foods you may want to avoid when taking Strattera, as well as alternatives to consume instead.

We hope this helps you make smart nutrition decisions and make the most of your treatment plan!

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5 Foods To Avoid While Taking Strattera

Here are the most important interactions of Strattera with food and beverages.

1) Alcohol

Can you drink while taking Strattera? A person on Strattera should avoid drinking alcohol, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). 

Combining Strattera with alcohol may worsen symptoms and increase the medication’s adverse effects, such as sedation.

According to a 2018 study, there is a relationship between ADHD and alcohol and substance use problems. 

Strattera may help people recover from alcoholism if they know not to drink alcohol while taking the medicine.

When a person consumes alcohol while taking Strattera, they may have an increase in adverse drug responses. 

These include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, flatulence, constipation, fatigue, headaches, stomach pain, mood swings, dizziness, decreased sex drive, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, sweating, hot flashes, and muscle pain.

metformin and alcohol

2) Caffeine

Caffeine and Strattera can both stimulate the central nervous system, resulting in increased heart rate, restlessness, agitation, raised blood pressure, and jitters.  

These are risk factors for strokes and heart attacks. Combined, these medications may intensify one other’s effects, resulting in unpleasant or worse adverse effects.

Caffeine stimulates the brain, which may interfere with Strattera’s ability to calm hyperactivity. 

It causes frequent urination, whereas Strattera users have experienced trouble passing pee and an inability to empty the bladder completely.

3) Grapefruit

Grapefruit has numerous health benefits, however, it can be harmful when coupled with the medication atomoxetine. 

Furanocoumarins found in the fruit can interfere with how your body metabolizes certain drugs. 

These substances, in particular, block cytochrome P450, an enzyme in your intestines that breaks down drugs like Strattera.

grapefruit drug interactions

4) High-fat foods

When taking Strattera, it’s critical to watch what you eat. High-fat diets can interfere with this medication’s absorption and impair its effectiveness.

This is because fat slows stomach emptying, impacting how quickly drugs are absorbed into your system. 

Avoid high-fat foods or snacks if you’re taking Strattera!

5) Vitamin C-rich fruits

While getting vitamin C in your diet is critical, you should also be mindful of when you ingest this nutrient because ascorbic acid might interact unfavorably with atomoxetine.

If you consume vitamin C at the same time as Strattera, it is less likely to reach the brain and work properly, as most of it is taken to the kidneys and flushed out during your next bathroom visit.

Here are some ideas for including both vitamin C and Strattera in your diet:

  • Wait until midday or evening to take your vitamins if you take them in capsules or pills.
  • Avoid drinking a glass of orange juice in the mornings when you take an ADHD medication.
  • Wait at least one hour before taking your prescription if you drink anything containing vitamin C in the morning.
  • Wait at least one hour after taking your prescription before drinking anything containing vitamin C.

vitamin-c

3 Foods To Eat While On Strattera

Certain foods may be better for people on Strattera. These are some examples:

1) Foods high in protein

Protein is necessary for brain health and plays an essential function in producing brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Protein in a meal also helps to keep blood glucose levels stable.

Examples of high-protein foods include:

  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Meat and poultry products
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nuts

2) Omega 3 fatty acids

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Other cold-water white fish
  • Brazil nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Canola oils
  • Olives

You could also take a supplement containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as Ben’s Antarctic Krill Oil.

pure krill oil supplement

3) Water

ADHD medicines are dehydrating. Brain fog is caused by dehydration. 

Make sure to hydrate thoroughly if you want your brain to function correctly.

Brain fog is one of the earliest indicators of dehydration. A headache is a more severe symptom. 

When dehydration progresses to the headache stage, it may take many days of concentrated water consumption to recover.

Drinking plenty of water is a simple method to make your ADHD medication work for you!

Foods to avoidFoods to eat
AlcoholProtein
CaffeineOmega 3 foods
High-fat foodsWater
Grapefruit
Vitamin C foods

Are There Any Other Interactions With Strattera?

Discuss with your healthcare provider all the other prescription drugs you are currently on before starting Strattera. 

Strattera can interact dangerously with antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), blood pressure, and asthma medications.

When filling your prescription, provide the pharmacist a list of every vitamin or herbal supplement, prescription, and non-prescription medication you use. 

Also, notify all doctors and physicians that you are taking Strattera before surgery or laboratory tests.

Strattera should not be taken if you have:

  • Taken or plan to take an antidepressant MAOI within the next 14 days.
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma that has not been treated.
  • An allergy to atomoxetine or any of the Strattera components.
  • Cardiac issues, such as an irregular heart rate.
  • Pheochromocytoma, which is an uncommon tumor of the adrenal glands.

In addition, CNS stimulant drugs have been proven to raise blood pressure, and their use in patients with severe hypertension may be contraindicated. 

People with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disorders should exercise caution when taking this medication. 

If you receive treatment, your doctor will frequently check your blood pressure and heart rate.

Common medications that may interact with Strattera include:

  • Amiodarone
  • Clomipramine
  • Albuterol
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Bupropion
  • Dobutamine
  • Dopamine
  • Antipsychotics such as haloperidol
  • Anti-anxiety medications such as lorazepam
  • CYP2D6 Inhibitors (e.g., fluoxetine, paroxetine, quinidine) (dosage reduction required)
  • MAOIs such as phenelzine, isocarboxazid, or selegiline (do not take within 2 weeks of stopping).

If you’re considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about using Strattera. Animal studies suggest the possibility of fetal damage; newborns may be born prematurely, with low birth weight, spinal deformities, or withdrawal symptoms. 

Strattera is transferred through breastmilk; thus, women should avoid nursing while taking it.

Should You Take Strattera With Food?

According to the prescribing guidelines, Strattera can be taken with or without food.

Because ADHD drugs can cause appetite suppression, some doctors will advise taking the prescription approximately an hour after breakfast, especially if the patient is a child and they are not gaining or are losing weight due to loss of appetite.

Conclusion

When taking Strattera for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it is critical to be mindful of potential dietary interactions. 

Although no specific dietary restrictions are linked with this drug, general food-related guidelines and suggestions can help assure its effectiveness and avoid side effects.

Explore More

how to improve focus

10 Practical Ways to Improve Focus and Concentration.

Sources

  1. Maurizio Coppola & Raffaella Mondola (2018) Impulsivity in Alcohol-Dependent Patients with and without ADHD: The Role of Atomoxetine, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 50:4, 361-366,
  2. NAMI. Atomoxetine (Strattera).

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