Compare Depakote vs. Pamelor

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

(Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)


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 your mood. Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a good option for treating depression, especially for people who also have problems with persistent nerve pain.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)
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Side effects
  • 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 »

We haven’t found good data for Pamelor side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Pamelor »
How it works
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.Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). It helps improve your mood by altering the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and other similar chemicals in your brain.
Type of medication
AnticonvulsantPrescription only
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release capsule
  • Sprinkle
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
    • 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
          • Age 65 years or older
          • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly
          • Using other medications that affect serotonin
          • History of heart disease
          • Older age
          • Electrolyte imbalance
          Detailed Pamelor (Nortriptyline) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy category
          DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          See the FDA package insert
          NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

          The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

          See the FDA package insert
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
          • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
          No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
          No specific sleep-related info.
          • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3-5 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1-2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
          • Can cause upset stomach, hair loss, weight gain, sleepiness, and tremor.
          • May cause hair loss and weight gain.
          No specific weight-related info.
          Upsides and benefits
          • 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.
          • Helpful with treating certain types of pain, like migraines or nerve-related pain.
          • Generally well tolerated and has fewer side effects than other medicines in the same class of drugs.
          Downsides and risks
          • 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.
          • Side effects are usually manageable, but can be annoying.
          • Increases the risk of falls, especially when used in the elderly.
          • There's an increased chance of it causing heart problems, especially in people with a history of heart problems.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          • 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.
          • Needs to be taken every day for 1 to 2 weeks to start feeling better, and for 6 to 8 weeks to see the full effect of the medication.
          • It's important to keep taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline) even when you feel your symptoms are getting better.
          • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
          • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
          • If you decide to stop taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline), work with your doctor to slowly get off this medicine to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
          Learn more
          More about DepakoteSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about PamelorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert