Does Strattera cause acne? (+3 tips)
In this article, we will explore whether Strattera can cause acne or not, what the research suggests about it, what the potential factors that may contribute to Strattera-induced acne and what to do if Strattera causes acne.
Does Strattera cause acne?
Yes, Strattera (atomoxetine) may cause acne in some individuals although it is not a commonly reported side effect of Strattera. However, people can react differently to different medications due to individual sensitivity.
Strattera is a brand name for atomoxetine, which is a non-stimulant drug used to treat attention deficit hypersensitivity disorder (ADHD). Unlike other medications used for ADHD. Strattera is a non-stimulant and belongs to the class of selective serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitor (SNRI) (1).
If you are taking Strattera and experience acne on your face then you need to consult your healthcare provider. They will help you determine the cause of acne and provide you with a tailored treatment plan for it.
What does research suggest?
According to the data collected through a phase IV clinical study conducted by the FDA, acne was observed in females taking Strattera for 2-5 years. The females were from 10-19 years of age. The trial proved that there is a strong link between this medication and acne (2).
Strattera affects the central nervous system. These effects can lead to acne on the face of the people taking it for narcolepsy or ADHD (3). However, a direct causal-effect relationship has not been established yet. So, the exact mechanisms through which Strattera causes acne are not definite yet.
What factors can contribute to Strattera-induced acne?
Strattera may not be the sole cause of acne in individuals taking it as a medication. Several other factors can contribute to the condition. These may include:
- A higher dose of Strattera
- Longer duration of treatment
- Hormonal changes in the patient
- Excessive oil production
- Bacterial infection
- Individual variations
- Inadequate dietary intake
- Environmental factors
- Underlying medical condition
- Concurrent medication
Not every person taking Strattera will experience acne as the physiology of every individual differs based on genetic predisposition, metabolic rate, age or gender.
What to do if Strattera causes acne?
If you are experiencing acne after taking Strattera, then you need to consult your healthcare provider. You should try to manage it yourself if it is not a severe case. In some cases, it may subside with time.
Tips to manage acne
Here are a few tips to manage acne.
- Wash your face twice at least. You need to properly cleanse your face to remove any microbial contamination of dirt and dust etc.
- Don’t touch your face repeatedly. It might transfer the germs.
- You can use a spot treatment such as salicylic acid or benzoyl oxide to reduce the redness of pimples.
- If acne is due to some bacterial infection then you may use mupirocin for the treatment.
- You need to be very alert with your water intake. Keep yourself hydrated.
- You need to change your pillowcase and wash your towels daily.
However, if the condition persists or becomes severe, your doctor might need to make interventions in your treatment plan. The most important step is to reduce the dosage of the medication and higher doses are linked to a higher incidence of side effects including acne.
If the condition does not subside, your doctor might have to switch your medication and prescribe you one of the following (4):
In my opinion, Strattera can cause acne and it is a relatively common side effect. It can be experienced by some individuals taking acne. However, it might not be observed in every individual taking the medication.
If you experience acne after taking this medication then you need to have open communication with your doctor. They will guide you about how to manage the condition or if there is a need to make any adjustments in your treatment plan to ensure a safe and effective treatment strategy.
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Fedder D, Patel H, Saadabadi A. Atomoxetine. 2023 Mar 27. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29630286.
Strattera and Acne, a phase IV clinical study of FDA data – eHealthMe. (n.d.). https://www.ehealthme.com/ds/strattera/acne/
Yosipovitch G, Tang M, Dawn AG, Chen M, Goh CL, Huak Y, Seng LF. Study of psychological stress, sebum production and acne vulgaris in adolescents. Acta Derm Venereol. 2007;87(2):135-9. doi: 10.2340/00015555-0231. PMID: 17340019.
Antshel, K. M., Hargrave, T. M., Simonescu, M., Kaul, P., Hendricks, K., & Faraone, S. V. (2011). Advances in understanding and treating ADHD. BMC medicine, 9, 72. https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-9-72