Can You Open Strattera Capsules?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Strattera capsules can be opened.

Mar 21, 2018

Renee asked

My 8 year old is on Strattera. He can not swallow the pill. The doctor said there is nothing else she can prescribe? It says they cannot be open. Are their any alternatives to the form of medication?


Strattera (Atomoxetine) capsules should not be opened according to the manufacturer. Per the prescribing information:

"Do not chew, crush, or open the capsules. Swallow STRATTERA capsules whole with water or other liquids. Tell your doctor if you or your child cannot swallow STRATTERA whole. A different medicine may need to be prescribed.

Avoid touching a broken STRATTERA capsule. Wash hands and surfaces that touched an open STRATTERA capsule. If any of the powder gets in your eyes or your child’s eyes, rinse them with water right away and call your doctor."

The above information applies for all generic Strattera (Atomoxetine) products as well.

The reason that you should not open Strattera capsules is that the powder is a known ocular irritant. Opening the capsules could, and most likely will, cause the powder to become airborne and can cause extreme discomfort if it gets into the eyes. The powder is easily transferred from the hands to the eye area as well.

In addition, there have been anecdotal reports that the powder from Strattera capsules can be irritating to the esophagus and stomach, although this hasn't been confirmed.

If you are looking for alternative ways to take Strattera, it may be worth locating a compounding pharmacy, which may be able to provide the drug in a dosage form that is better tolerated such as a suspension.

If you are looking for alternative ADHD medications, that are many options.

Non-Stimulant Strattera Alternatives

Strattera is considered a non-stimulant medication has a unique mechanism of action. It is thought to work primarily by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. It is a popular non-amphetamine options for the treatment of ADHD.

If you are looking for other non-stimulant (i.e. non-amphetamine), below are some possible options:

  • Kapvay (Clonidine extended release)
  • Intuniv (Guanfacine extended release)

Both of the above medications are similar and worth discussing with the doctor.

Ready for a more personal experience with your meds?