Compare Elavil vs. Imitrex

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

Elavil (Amitriptyline)

Prescription only

Imitrex (Sumatriptan)

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.

4.5/ 7 average rating with 134 reviewsforElavil
Treats migraine headaches.

Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.

5.3/ 7 average rating with 31 reviewsforImitrex
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.
  • 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
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
Price
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$4
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$12.4
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Reviews
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
31 
74%
think this treatment is worth it
68%
think this treatment works well
19%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Imitrex (Sumatriptan)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Elavil (Amitriptyline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
6possible side effects
  • Pain and other pressure sensations
    6%
  • Atypical sensations
    5%
  • Paresthesia (all types)
    3%
  • Sensation warm/cold
    3%
  • Pain - location specified
    2%
  • Malaise/fatigue
    2%
See more detailed side effects
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
  • Tightening of blood vessels (myocardial angina, ischemia, or infarction)

    History of heart problems

    ...and 5 more risk factors

  • Stroke

    History of heart problems

    ...and 5 more risk factors

  • Serotonin syndrome

    Patients taking SSRIs and SNRIs

  • High blood pressure

    History of high blood pressure

  • Seizures

    History of seizures

See more detailed risks and warnings