Intuniv vs Strattera – Comparison of Uses & Side Effects

Intuniv

It is the brand name of a drug called guanfacine which is part of a group of drugs called centrally acting alpha 2A -adrenergic receptor agonists.

Uses

Note – it should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment program which typically includes psychological, educational, and social therapy.

This medication is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children who are at least 6 years old.

Moreover, it is used to treat high blood pressure.

Its effectiveness and safety in children younger than 6 years have not been established. Hence, do not give this drug to a child under the age of 6 years.

Mechanism of Action

The medication works by affecting receptors in the brain in a way that helps the sufferer deal with symptoms of ADHD symptoms, like – emotional sensitivity, hyperarousal, and social aggression.

Additionally, unlike other ADHD medications, this alpha 2A -adrenergic receptor agonist is said to be safer due to the fact that it is not a central nervous system stimulant medication.

Dosage

Notes – it is found in the form of a pill, however, unlike some other ADHD medications, it cannot be chewed, crushed, or broken and must be swallowed whole.

The usual recommended dose is 1 to 4 mg a day. A dose lasts for 12 hours, but, it may have some effect for up to 24 hours.

Alcohol

Avoid consuming alcohol while taking this alpha 2A – adrenergic receptor agonist since alcohol can increase the risk of side effects, especially drowsiness.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • irritability;
  • dry mouth;
  • vomiting;
  • mild drowsiness;
  • mild dizziness;
  • slow heart rate.
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Less common side effects may include:

  • difficulty sleeping;
  • weakness;
  • a light-headed feeling like you might pass out;
  • dry mouth;
  • chest pain;
  • stomach pain;
  • sedation;
  • constipation;
  • fast heartbeats;
  • nausea;
  • tiredness;
  • hallucinations;
  • low blood pressure.

Contraindications

To make sure you can safely take this alpha 2A – adrenergic receptor agonist, tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these other conditions:

  • coronary artery disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • a history of stroke;
  • heart block;
  • low blood pressure;
  • liver disease;
  • if you have recently had a heart attack;
  • heart disease.

Drug Interactions

It may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how this alpha 2A – adrenergic receptor agonist. Tell your doctor if you take:

  • valproic acid;
  • antipsychotics;
  • medicines which can affect enzyme metabolism;
  • ketoconazole;
  • cymbalta;
  • high blood pressure medicines;
  • barbiturates;
  • sedatives;
  • benzodiazepines.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It belongs to FDA pregnancy category B. This means that this medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

It is not known whether this alpha 2A – adrenergic receptor agonist passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Strattera

It is the brand name of a medication called atomoxetine, that belongs to a group of medications called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

This drug is produced by Eli Lilly and Company. It was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2002.

Mechanism of Action

It works by increasing levels of norepinephrine, the main principal transmitter of most postganglionic sympathetic fibers.

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Dosage

The usual initial recommended dosage is 40 mg per day orally. The dosage is increased to 80 mg per day after a minimum of 3 days.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

The medication may pass into breast milk and may negatively affect the breastfed baby. Also, there are no studies to determine whether this selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor is safe to use during pregnancy.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • loss of appetite;
  • feeling tired;
  • trouble having an erection;
  • constipation;
  • dry mouth;
  • dizziness;
  • urination problems;
  • upset stomach;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • mood changes.

Less common side effects may include:

  • dark urine;
  • painful urination;
  • new behavior problems;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • hostility;
  • erection is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours;
  • hallucinations;
  • trouble breathing;
  • paranoia;
  • chest pain;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of side effects.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion);
  • Lexapro (escitalopram);
  • Abilify (aripiprazole);
  • Celexa (citalopram);
  • Zoloft (sertraline);
  • Prozac (fluoxetine);
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine).

Contraindications

Before taking this selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • severe heart problems;
  • pheochromocytoma;
  • narrow-angle glaucoma.

Bottom Line – Intuniv vs Strattera

Intuniv (active ingredient – guanfacine) is a non-stimulant treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a long-acting form of guanfacine. Also, it may be helpful to the estimated 25 to 30% of children with ADHD who do not benefit from stimulant medications.

Moreover, this medication works somewhat more than the traditional non-stimulants, such as – Strattera, and somewhat less than the stimulants, like – Adderall and Ritalin.

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Strattera (active ingredient – atomoxetine) is a medication that is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is part of a class of medications known as selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

According to a 2013 study, Intuniv appears to be more efficacious than Strattera for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Regarding their price, the average retail price for 30 tablets of Intuniv 1mg is $320, while the average retail price for 30 capsules of Strattera 40mg is $450.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2935643/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23683139
http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_-_Public_asses

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