Compare Celexa vs. Elavil

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Celexa
(Citalopram)

Elavil
(Amitriptyline)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Celexa (Citalopram) is good for treating depression and anxiety. Might be less likely to cause side effects than some antidepressants, but not the best choice for people with heart or liver problems.Improves mood and relieves certain kinds of pain. Elavil (Amitriptyline) is an older antidepressant that's sometimes used to treat pain and sleep problems, but it can have more side effects than similar medications.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.954148471615721Celexa
Reviews for Celexa (Citalopram)
60%
of people (All ages) say Celexa (Citalopram) is worth it
50%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
458 reviews
Have you used Celexa (Citalopram)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Elavil (Amitriptyline)
52%
8% vs. Celexa (Citalopram)
34%
16% vs. Celexa (Citalopram)
23%
8% vs. Celexa (Citalopram)
118 reviews
Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
CelexaElavil
  • Drowsiness 8%
  • Nausea 7%
  • Dry mouth 6%
  • Abnormal ejaculation 5%
  • Ejaculation disorder 5%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Tremor 2%
  • Sweating increased 2%
  • Fatigue 2%
  • Loss of appetite 2%
More Celexa side effects »

The Elavil FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Elavil side effects »
How it works
CelexaElavil
Celexa (Citalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Elavil (Amitriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It may change serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood and pain perception. It also has sedative effects.
Type of medication
CelexaElavil
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Available as
CelexaElavil
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
CelexaElavil
Risk factors for serious side effects
CelexaElavil
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • History of bipolar disorder
  • At risk for bipolar disorder
  • Stopping Celexa (Citalopram) suddenly
  • Higher dose
  • History of heart problems
  • History of liver problems
  • Older age
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    Detailed Celexa (Citalopram) risks & warnings »
    • Age 24 years or younger
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    • History of cardiovascular disease
    • Age 65 years or older
    • Age 65 years or older
    Detailed Elavil (Amitriptyline) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    Food
    CelexaElavil
    • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
    No food related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    CelexaElavil
    • Not a good option for you if you have heart or liver problems.
    No kidneys and liver related info.
    Pain
    CelexaElavil
    No pain related info.
    • Low doses work well to treat certain kinds of chronic pain. It can take 2 weeks to feel the full effects of the medication.
    Sex
    CelexaElavil
    • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
    No sex related info.
    Sleep
    CelexaElavil
    No sleep related info.
    • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
    Weight
    CelexaElavil
    • Can cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds).
    • It's more likely to cause sleepiness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
    Upsides and benefits
    CelexaElavil
    • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
    • Causes less sleepiness compared to other antidepressants.
    • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
    • Low doses work well to treat certain kinds of chronic pain. It can take 2 weeks to feel the full effects of the medication.
    • Low doses of Elavil (Amitriptyline) start working in 45 minutes to help you sleep better.
    • Six out of every ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
    Downsides and risks
    CelexaElavil
    • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
    • Can cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds).
    • Celexa (Citalopram) can cause an irregular heartbeat if you take a high dose (40 mg a day, or more).
    • Not a good option for you if you have heart or liver problems.
    • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24 years.
    • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
    • When used for depression, Elavil (Amitriptyline) causes more side effects and has a higher risk of overdose than other antidepressants. It's usually used when other medications haven't worked.
    • It's more likely to cause sleepiness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
    • People age 65 and older have a higher risk for this medication's side effects.
    • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people age 24 and younger.
    • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    CelexaElavil
    • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
    • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
    • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
    • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
    • Take at bedtime to avoid some of its side effects.
    • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
    • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
    • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
    Learn more
    More about CelexaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Celexa (Citalopram)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it