Compare Depakote vs. Elavil

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

Depacon
(Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)

Elavil
(Amitriptyline)

Prevents seizures and stabilizes mood. Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) is good long-term prevention for epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraines, but can cause weight gain.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
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.376344086021505Depakote
Reviews for Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)
46%
of people say Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) is worth it
39%
say it works well
27%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Elavil (Amitriptyline)
52%
+6% vs. Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)
34%
5% vs. Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)
23%
+4% vs. Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)
Side effects
DepakoteElavil
  • Nausea 34%
  • Muscle weakness 20%
  • Vomiting 20%
  • Abdominal pain 17%
  • Dizziness 12%
  • Headache 10%
  • Double vision 7%
  • Involuntary eye movement 7%
  • Lack of muscle coordination 7%
  • Accidental injury 6%
More Depakote 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
DepakoteElavil
Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) is an antiepileptic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It seems to increase the amount of GABA, a chemical that calms nerves in the brain.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
DepakoteElavil
AnticonvulsantPrescription only
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Available as
DepakoteElavil
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release capsule
  • Sprinkle
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
DepakoteElavil
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Elavil (Amitriptyline)
Risk factors for serious side effects
DepakoteElavil
    • Children under age 2
    • History of metabolic disorders
      • History of depression
        • History of metabolic disorders
        • People also taking Topamax
        • People also taking Topamax
          • Stopping Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) suddenly
          Detailed Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) 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 category
          DepakoteElavil
          Alcohol
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          Food
          • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
          No specific food-related info.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
          Sex
          No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
          Sleep
          No specific sleep-related info.
          • Low doses of Elavil (Amitriptyline) start working in 45 minutes to help you sleep better.
          • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
          Weight
          • Can cause upset stomach, hair loss, weight gain, sleepiness, and tremor.
          • May cause hair loss and weight gain.
          • It's more likely to cause sleepiness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
          • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
          Upsides and benefits
          DepakoteElavil
          • Lowers the frequency of seizures, especially for people with absence, tonic-clonic, and complex partial seizures.
          • One of the first-line options to stabilize mood for people with bipolar disorder.
          • Helpful in preventing frequent migraine headaches.
          • 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
          DepakoteElavil
          • Can cause upset stomach, hair loss, weight gain, sleepiness, and tremor.
          • Can cause liver damage, so it's probably not safe if you already have liver problems.
          • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
          • Requires routine blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
          • 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
          DepakoteElavil
          • For the first week, avoid activities that require you to be alert.
          • Don't use if pregnant.
          • Requires routine blood tests.
          • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
          • May cause hair loss and weight gain.
          • Different versions of Depakote have different dosing. Be careful.
          • Report confusion, persistent abdominal pain, yellowing of eyes/skin, or easy bruising to your doctor.
          • Takes 3 to 4 weeks to feel full effects on mood.
          • 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 DepakoteSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert