Compare Elavil vs. Effexor

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

Elavil (Amitriptyline)

Prescription only

Effexor (venlafaxine)

Prescription only
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
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.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 577 reviewsforEffexor
Upsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Price
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Reviews
134 reviews so far
53%
saidit'sworth it
36%
saiditworked well
25%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?

Leave a review
577 reviews so far
62%
saidit'sworth it
51%
saiditworked well
23%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Elavil (Amitriptyline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
39possible side effects
  • Nausea
    37%
  • Headache
    25%
  • Drowsiness
    23%
  • Dry mouth
    22%
  • Dizziness
    19%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    18%
  • Constipation
    15%
  • Nervousness
    13%
  • Weakness
    12%
  • Sweating
    12%
  • Abnormal ejaculation/orgasm
    12%
  • Loss of appetite
    11%
  • Diarrhea
    8%
  • Infection
    6%
  • Vomiting
    6%
  • Anxiety
    6%
  • Blurred vision
    6%
  • Impotence
    6%
  • Indigestion
    5%
  • Tremor
    5%
  • Abnormal dreams
    4%
  • Chills
    3%
  • Rash
    3%
  • Gas
    3%
  • Stiff muscles
    3%
  • Prickling/burning sensation
    3%
  • Yawn
    3%
  • Increased urination
    3%
  • Chest pain
    2%
  • Trauma
    2%
  • Increased blood pressure
    2%
  • Increased heart rate
    2%
  • Decreased libido
    2%
  • Agitation
    2%
  • Confusion
    2%
  • Thinking abnormal
    2%
  • Changes in taste
    2%
  • Ringing in the ears
    2%
  • Dilation of pupils
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • 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
  • 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
      • At risk for bipolar disorder
    See more detailed risks and warnings