Compare Celexa vs. Elavil

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

Celexa (citalopram)

Prescription only

Elavil (Amitriptyline)

Prescription only
Improves mood.

Celexa (citalopram) is good for treating depression and anxiety. Side effects are less likely to happen compared to other antidepressants; however, it is not the best choice for people with heart or liver problems.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 520 reviewsforCelexa
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.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 134 reviewsforElavil
Upsides
  • Effectively relieves depression symptoms.
  • This medicine is not as drowsy as other antidepressants.
  • Available as a generic, which is cheaper.
  • 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
  • Can cause sexual side effects like decreased sex drive, difficulties with orgasm or ejaculation, and minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds).
  • Celexa (citalopram) may not be a good option if you have heart or liver problems.
  • Like most antidepressants, Celexa (citalopram) can increase risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in people younger than 24 years.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
520 reviews so far
61%
saidit'sworth it
51%
saiditworked well
16%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Celexa (citalopram)?

Leave a review
134 reviews so far
53%
saidit'sworth it
36%
saiditworked well
25%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?

Leave a review
Side effects
25possible side effects
  • Nausea
    21%
  • Dry mouth
    20%
  • Drowsiness
    18%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    15%
  • Increased sweating
    11%
  • Tremor
    8%
  • Diarrhea
    8%
  • Abnormal ejaculation
    6%
  • Indigestion
    5%
  • Fatigue
    5%
  • Upper airway infection
    5%
  • Stuffy nose
    5%
  • Vomiting
    4%
  • Anxiety
    4%
  • Anorexia
    4%
  • Abdominal pain
    3%
  • Agitation
    3%
  • Menstrual cramps
    3%
  • Sinus infection
    3%
  • Erection difficulties
    3%
  • Fever
    2%
  • Joint pain
    2%
  • Muscle pain
    2%
  • Decreased sex drive
    2%
  • Yawning
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Elavil (Amitriptyline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • Age 24 years or younger
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Taking tricyclic antidepressants, lithium, tramadol, fentanyl, amphetamines, certain headache medications (triptans), St. John's Wort
  • Bipolar disorder
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
  • Withdrawal
    • Stopping Celexa (citalopram) abruptly
  • Lower maximum dose in some people
    • Higher dose
    • History of heart problems
    • History of liver problems
    • 60 years or older
  • Increased bleeding
    • Taking other blood-thinning drugs (including aspirin, NSAIDs such as Advil, warfarin)
  • Sexual side effects
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • Age 24 years or younger
  • Mania
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
  • Heart problems
    • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Low blood pressure
    • Age 65 years or older
  • Anticholinergic effects
    • Age 65 years or older
See more detailed risks and warnings