On my last post, Lori posted a question about the fact that her son cannot swallow the Strattera. It seems to be working after only a few days (which is possible, yes, though not that common for many people), and she wants her son to keep taking it even though he has trouble swallowing the pills.
And all of the information says that the capsule shouldn’t be opened. This includes information from the pharmacies, the product monograph, and I have even checked with the company that manufactures Strattera, Eli Lilly. Not only do they say that the capsule cannot be opened, but they are not allowed to even comment on any possible solutions.
Lori asks: “Is this because of the capsule??”
Here is the situation on opening the capsules of Strattera (atomoxetine).
The fact is that the actual medicine is an irritant.
The main reason to not open the capsule is that having the medication in the mouth, throat, stomach etc. without a capsule will feel like it is ‘burning’ to the person taking it. One of the main side effects of Strattera is nausea, and it can be worse without a capsule as well.
Now, if Strattera is the only medicine working, or the best medicine for your child, what can you do if your child cannot swallow the capsule?
Yelling doesn’t help.
Battles once daily tend to ruin the day.
And if your child tells you that the medicine mixed in water (or milk, or jam, etc) tastes terrible, or burns their mouth, believe them, because it’s true.
An American colleague of mine made a suggestion to me, which has helped many of my patients.
I will share it with you, but please check with your doctor, and realize that this is not an official recommendation, as the pharmacists and Eli Lilly will just flatly tell you not to open the capsule.
That’s right. Putting the contents of the Strattera capsule into a spoonful of peanut butter, and mixing it in, can help your child to get the medicine down. The peanut butter kind of ‘binds’ the medicine, so that it doesn’t irritate the mouth, throat, or stomach.
Now, this doesn’t work for everyone, because some kids are allergic, and others hate peanut butter!
But, if you can, give peanut butter a try.
If this works for you, please post a comment to share your experience.
If it doesn’t work for you, and you have found another solution, please share that as well by posting a comment so that other parents can benefit from your experience.
Before finishing this article, I would like to mention that there are ADHD medicines which do not require a child to swallow a pill.
- Dexedrine Spansules: These capsules can be openned and sprinkled into apple sauce. (Amphetamine)
- Adderall XR: These capsules can be openned and sprinkled into apple sauce. (Amphetamine)
- Biphentin: This newer methylphenidate (same medicine as ritalin) medicine can be sprinkled as well.
- Daytrana: This is the first methylphenidate (ritalin) patch, and is applied to the skin for most of the day.
- Methylin Solution: This is methylphenidate (ritalin) in a liquid solution.
- Methylin Chewable: This is methylphenidate (ritalin) in a chewable tablet.
When it comes to these medications, unfortunately, many of them are not available outside of the United States.
However, if your child has trouble swallowing the ADHD medicine that is prescribed, hopefully this article helps you to find a solution.
Again, please post a comment to share your experiences – successes or failures, so that other parents can learn from you. Thanks in advance!