HeadMeds gives young people in the United Kingdom general information about medication. HeadMeds does not give you medical advice. Please talk to your Doctor or anyone else who is supporting you about your own situation because everyone is different. Please read more important details about our site.

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Return to Atomoxetine overview
  1. Use and Action
  2. Warnings and side effects
  3. Sex, drink, weight and everything else
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You can drink alcohol while taking atomoxetine, but it could make you very sleepy

  • You can continue to drink alcohol while taking atomoxetine but having the two together might make you very sleepy.
  • So, during the first few days, it might be best to stop drinking alcohol until you see how the medicine affects you.
  • If you want to drink alcohol, remember that you might be sleepy and make sure you can get home safely.

Do not drive a car or ride a bike just after you start taking atomoxetine

  • Taking atomoxetine may make you feel tired or dizzy when you start taking it.
  • This could affect you if you drive a car, ride a bike, or do anything else that needs a lot of focus. It might be best to stop doing these things for the first few days, until you know how it affects you.
  • Do not worry - most people do these things as normal while taking atomoxetine.

Try not to take atomoxetine for the first time just before your exams

  • You might feel tired or dizzy when you start taking atomoxetine
  • You should talk to your doctor about any future exams if you are starting atomoxetine.
  • You might decide together to delay starting it until you have done them.
  • If they are more than a month away, however, you might find that it is better to start atomoxetine to improve your motivation to study.
  • Do not worry - most people do all these things as normal while taking atomoxetine.

Atomoxetine is not a banned substance in sport

  • Atomoxetine is not a banned substance in sport.
  • You might feel tired or dizzy at first, however, so this might cause a problem in sports where you need a lot of focus
  • It might be best to stop doing those sports for a short time until you know how the medicine affects you
  • Do not worry - most people do all these things as normal while taking atomoxetine.

Your weight can be affected by atomoxetine

  • A side-effect of atomoxetine can be weight loss.
  • Talk to your doctor about this if it worries you.

Atomoxetine may make you feel very sleepy, but may also make it hard to get to sleep

  • Atomoxetine can make you feel tired and sleepy
  • It has also made some people find it difficult to get to sleep, or stay asleep
  • Talk to your doctor about this if it is a problem for you

Let your family and friends know you are taking atomoxetine so they can support you and help you look out for side effects

  • The side-effects of atomoxetine might put a strain on your friendships and relationships, especially in the first few days of taking it.
  • You might feel angry, unfriendly, or have mood swings
  • These side-effects should get better after a few days.
  • Once you start getting the good effects of atomoxetine, this should improve your relationships in itself.
  • It might actually be a great idea to choose a good friend to tell about your medicine when you start taking it. (Or - even better - to take a friend with you to the doctor before you start taking the medicine!)
  • They could look at the medicine leaflet, or at this website.
  • They could help you to understand whether the medicine changes your behaviour, or gives you side-effects (sometimes it’s hard for us to see it ourselves).

We do not have any information about using atomoxetine with drugs 

  • Atomoxetine is not a CNS stimulant, but it does affect the balance of chemicals in the brain
  • There may be some reactions if you mix it with drugs, which could be dangerous, but we do not know what they are

Atomoxetine can have side-effects that might affect your sex life

The good effects of atomoxetine may have a good effect on your sex life as your symptoms settle and you can concentrate on your relationships.

There are some side-effects that include:

  • Men might get pain in their sex organs, or an erection that is painful and lasts for a long time
  • You might feel too tired for sex
  • If you get a rash or lose weight, you might just not feel as sexy as before

These effects should pass after the first couple of weeks. If they do not, and this is a problem for you, go back to the doctor and see what else you could try. However, if you have an erection which is painful and doesn't go away you should see a doctor as soon as possible for treatment.

We do not know whether atomoxetine can affect fertility

  • We do not have enough information to know if there are effects on fertility but it is thought to be unlikely.

We do not know if atomoxetine can cause side-effects in developing or newborn babies, or if atomoxetine is passed to the baby in breastmilk

  • We do know that atomoxetine passes into breastmilk but the exact amounts are not known. We do not know for certain that it is not harmful to the baby.
  • If you are taking atomoxetine it is therefore recommended that you do not breastfeed.
  • If it is important to you to breastfeed your baby- talk to your doctor or midwife as soon as possible

Do not take atomoxetine if you are trying to get pregnant

  • We do not have enough information to know whether it is dangerous or not to take atomoxetine in pregnancy.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are trying to get pregnant- this is very important because they can help you make a decision about your medication which is best for you. It is important to think about your own health as well as the health of your baby.
  • If you discover you are pregnant while you are taking atomoxetine, you should go and see your own doctor to talk about this.
  • There is not enough information to confirm safety of atomoxetine in pregnancy but if your ADHD symptoms return there may be a higher risk of complications

Atomoxetine may cause growth delay at the start of treatment, but young people usually catch up over time

  • Some young people have experienced growth delay in weight and height when they start to take atomoxetine
  • This has been linked to having a lower appetite – a side-effect of the medicine
  • Over time, these young people have caught up with their peers
  • Make sure that you get your height and weight checked before you start taking atomoxetine, and while you are taking it
  • Sometimes the doctor might stop the medicine or change the dose for a while to let you catch up on weight and height, and then start it again
  • Talk to your doctor about this if it is a problem for you