Compare Cymbalta vs. Elavil

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

Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Prescription only

Elavil (Amitriptyline)

Prescription only
Improves mood and relieves certain types of pain.

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is good for treating depression, anxiety, and some forms of chronic pain, but it is more likely than other antidepressants to cause problems if you drink alcohol or have high blood pressure.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 496 reviewsforCymbalta
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
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) may help relieve nerve pain from diabetes and other forms of chronic pain.
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) has several uses, which may be good for people with multiple conditions.
  • 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
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) may not be a good option if you're a heavy drinker, or have liver or kidney problems.
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) can increase high blood pressure.
  • Like most antidepressants, Cymbalta (duloxetine) can cause higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people aged 24 and younger.
  • 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
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
496 reviews so far
58%
saidit'sworth it
49%
saiditworked well
24%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Cymbalta (duloxetine)?

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
12possible side effects
  • Nausea
    23%
  • Headache
    14%
  • Dry mouth
    13%
  • Drowsiness
    10%
  • Fatigue
    9%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    9%
  • Constipation
    9%
  • Dizziness
    9%
  • Diarrhea
    9%
  • Decreased appetite
    7%
  • Excessive sweating
    6%
  • Abdominal pain
    5%
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
  • Withdrawal
    • Stopping Cymbalta (duloxetine) abruptly
  • Increased bleeding
    • Taking other blood-thinning drugs (including aspirin, NSAIDs such as Advil, warfarin)
  • Changes in blood pressure and risk of falls
    • Elderly patients
    • History of gait disturbances
    • Taking more than 60 mg of Cymbalta (duloxetine) daily
    • Taking other medicines that lower blood pressure
    • History of high blood pressure
  • Bipolar disorder
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
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