Compare Elavil vs. Imitrex

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

Elavil
(amitriptyline)

Imitrex
(sumatriptan)

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.Treats migraine headaches. Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.48Elavil
Reviews for Elavil
53%
of people (All ages) say Elavil is worth it
36%
say it works well
25%
say it's a big hassle
134 reviews
Have you used Elavil (amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Imitrex
74%
-21% worse vs. Elavil
68%
-32% worse vs. Elavil
19%
-6% worse vs. Elavil
Have you used Imitrex (sumatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ElavilImitrex

The Elavil FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Elavil side effects »
  • Pain and other pressure sensations 2%
  • Atypical sensations 1%
  • Paresthesia (all types) 1%
  • Sensation warm/cold 1%
  • Pain - location specified 1%
  • Malaise/fatigue 2%
  • Chest - pain/tightness/pressure and/or heaviness 1%
  • Neck/throat/jaw - pain/ tightness/pressure 2%
  • Other - pressure/tightness/ heaviness 1%
  • Vertigo 2%
More Imitrex side effects »
How it works
ElavilImitrex
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.Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.
Type of medication
ElavilImitrex
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ElavilImitrex
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
Used for
ElavilImitrex
Risk factors for serious side effects
ElavilImitrex
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • History of bipolar disorder
  • At risk for bipolar disorder
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Age 65 years or older
Detailed Elavil (amitriptyline) risks & warnings »
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
Detailed Imitrex (sumatriptan) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Pain
ElavilImitrex
  • Low doses work well to treat certain kinds of chronic pain. It can take 2 weeks to feel the full effects of the medication.
No pain related info.
Sleep
ElavilImitrex
  • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
  • Imitrex (Sumatriptan) can make you drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
Weight
ElavilImitrex
  • It's more likely to cause sleepiness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
ElavilImitrex
  • 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.
  • Comes in several forms. Ask your doctor if you should use the pill, nasal spray, patch, or injection.
  • A combination of forms can be used if symptoms do not improve.
  • The nasal spray and injectable forms work very quickly.
  • It's generally safe to use if you are pregnant.
  • Comes in a generic form, so it can be pretty cheap.
Downsides and risks
ElavilImitrex
  • 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.
  • The oral and nasal versions of Imitrex (Sumatriptan) have an unpleasant after-taste.
  • Does not prevent migraine headaches; it only treats them once they start.
  • Must wait 1 hour before using second injection.
  • Can cause rebound (more) headaches if Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is used too often.
  • Need to have your blood pressure checked often, especially if you're pregnant.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ElavilImitrex
  • 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.
  • Take it as soon as your headache starts.
  • If you use the nasal spray, be sure to blow your nose before using it.
  • If you use the patch, put it on a dry area free of scars, tattoos, or other cuts and scrapes. Be sure to press the button to activate it.
  • If you use the injection, you can use a second injection if you still have a headache after an hour. If you have symptoms 2 hours after the injection, switch to the pill version.
  • Imitrex (Sumatriptan) can make you drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
  • Lie down in a dark room after taking Imitrex (Sumatriptan) to help ease the pain.
Learn more
More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Elavil (amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ImitrexSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Imitrex (sumatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it