Posted by Claudia Grazioso on December 1, 2011
Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are conditions we hear a lot about when talking about children. But these two conditions affect adults as well, and can have a profound impact on their happiness and enjoyment of life. Frequently, as with depression and anxiety, doctors prescribe medication to help manage these disorders. And like the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and SNRIs (Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) normally prescribed to treat depression, many of these medications can be dangerous if you are pregnant.
Strattera, also known as atomoxetine, is actually an SNRI drug itself, but it is frequently used to treat ADHD. It works by increasing levels of norepinephrine in the brain, and by affecting brain chemicals that can impact hyperactivity and impulse control. While it may be a Godsend to some people who battle this maddening disorder, it might not be the best choice if you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant and also suffer from ADHD.
Strattera is a Category C drug, which means that it hasn’t been tested on human fetuses, but animal studies have provided plenty of cause for concern that it might cause harm. Pregnant animals exposed to atomoxetine had higher rates of miscarriage, and their babies were sometimes born with damage to their blood vessels. And when these animal pups were exposed to breast milk that had atomoxetine in it, they also weighed less and had lower survival rates. All of which would be enough to make me think twice about taking this drug, even though there is not yet controlled data about its effect on human infants. Researchers also don’t yet know if Strattera can pass into breast milk, but doctors usually recommend erring on the side of caution.
If you are pregnant or have recently had a baby, talk to your doctor about the risks versus the benefits of taking Strattera to combat ADD/ADHD, and about whether it’s a good idea to breastfeed while taking it.