Compare Effexor vs. Elavil

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

Effexor (venlafaxine)

Prescription only

Elavil (Amitriptyline)

Prescription only
Improves mood and helps you relax.

Effexor (venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety, but it can cause more withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly compared to other antidepressants.

5.1/ 7 average rating with 577 reviewsforEffexor
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.

4.5/ 7 average rating with 134 reviewsforElavil
Upsides
  • Effexor (venlafaxine) effectively treats depression, anxiety, and panic disorder.
  • Effexor (venlafaxine) causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's beneficial for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Effexor (venlafaxine) might work when other antidepressants haven't worked since it affects two chemicals in the brain that impact your mood.
  • Effexor (venlafaxine) has several uses, which may be good for people with multiple conditions.
  • Effexor (venlafaxine) is available in 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
  • Effexor (venlafaxine) can cause side effects such as decreased libido and increased blood pressure.
  • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people aged 24 years or younger.
  • Compared to other antidepressants, it's more likely to cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking it and can causes more sleepiness.
  • 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
Lowest price near you
$16.2
Find instant savings
Lowest price near you
$4
Find instant savings
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway, and other pharmacies.
Reviews
577 
62%
think this treatment is worth it
51%
think this treatment works well
23%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?

Leave a review
134 
53%
think this treatment is worth it
36%
think this treatment works well
25%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?

Leave a review
Side effects
10possible side effects
  • Nausea
    37%
  • Headache
    25%
  • Drowsiness
    23%
  • Dry mouth
    22%
  • Dizziness
    19%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    18%
  • Constipation
    15%
  • Nervousness
    13%
  • Weakness
    12%
  • Sweating
    12%
See more detailed side effects
The Elavil (Amitriptyline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and warnings
  • 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 Effexor (venlafaxine) suddenly

  • Increased bleeding

    Taking other blood-thinning drugs (including aspirin, NSAIDs such as Advil, warfarin)

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Bipolar disorder

    History of bipolar disorder

    ...and 1 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

    Age 24 years or younger

  • Mania

    History of bipolar disorder

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • 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