Strattera vs Celexa: A Comparative Analysis

In this article, we will take a close look at Strattera and Celexa, two prescription medications used to treat different mental health conditions. We will understand their uses, how they work, and the differences between them. This comparative analysis will provide a deeper understanding of these drugs and their roles in treating ADHD and depression.
Natasha Puttick

Natasha Puttick

Graduate medical student at Barts and London.

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What is Strattera?

Strattera, also known by its generic name atomoxetine, is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and certain children. It belongs to a group of drugs called selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. The active ingredient in Strattera is atomoxetine, which is what makes the drug effective. Strattera comes in the form of a capsule that is usually taken daily. It works by changing the way your brain absorbs the chemical norepinephrine, which affects your overall mood. By altering how norepinephrine works in your body, Strattera can help decrease hyperactivity, improve attention span, and reduce impulsive behaviors [1, 2].

What is Celexa?

Celexa, also known as citalopram, is a prescription drug used to treat depression in adults aged 18 years and over. It belongs to a group of drugs called antidepressants, more specifically, a smaller group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The active ingredient in Celexa is citalopram, which is also the generic version of Celexa. Generics are exact copies of the active drug in the brand-name medication. Celexa comes in the form of a tablet that you swallow [3].

What is the difference between Strattera and Celexa

Strattera and Celexa are both prescription medications, but they are used to treat different conditions and work in different ways.

Strattera, also known as atomoxetine, is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that works by affecting the chemical messenger norepinephrine in the brain. This can help decrease hyperactivity and increase focus. Strattera does not lead to dependence and is not likely to be abused [2, 4].

On the other hand, Celexa, also known as citalopram, is an antidepressant. It belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance. Celexa is primarily used to treat depression.

In summary, while both Strattera and Celexa are used to treat mental health conditions, they target different neurotransmitters and are used for different conditions. Strattera is primarily used for ADHD, while Celexa is used for depression.

Main Types of Antidepressants

Antidepressants are a broad category of medications used to treat depression and other related conditions. They work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters that affect mood and emotions. Here are the main types of antidepressants:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These are often the first choice for many doctors due to their fewer side effects. They work by increasing the amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in your brain [5, 6].
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These increase the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain. They are often used when SSRIs are ineffective [5, 6].
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): These keep more serotonin and norepinephrine available in your brain. However, they are usually prescribed when other treatments have failed due to their potential for more serious side effects [5, 6].
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): These work by blocking the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which destroys serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. They are rarely prescribed today due to their serious side effects [5, 6].
  • Atypical antidepressants: This group includes newer antidepressants that don't fit into the other groups. They have different mechanisms of action and are often used when other treatments have failed [6].
  • Serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine reuptake inhibitors: These are a newer class of drugs that affect all three neurotransmitters, potentially offering greater efficacy [7].
  • Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs): These are a novel class of antidepressants that have no direct actions on the serotonin system but affect norepinephrine and dopamine [8].

Remember, each type of antidepressant works differently and may have different side effects. It's important to discuss these factors with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment for you.

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Natasha Puttick

Natasha Puttick

Natasha is a medical student at Barts and the London school of Medicine and Dentistry, with an interest in the social determinants of health. She graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in Human Sciences and has obtained two publications. Her most recent work investigating clinical vaccine trials has been published in BMJ Public Health.