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.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.466101694915254Elavil
Reviews for Elavil (Amitriptyline)
52%
of people say Elavil (Amitriptyline) is worth it
34%
say it works well
23%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
77%
+25% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
73%
+39% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
15%
+8% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
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 4%
  • Paresthesia (all types) 3%
  • Atypical sensations 2%
  • Chest - pain/tightness/pressure and/or heaviness 1%
  • Pain - location specified 1%
  • Sensation warm/cold 1%
  • Other - pressure/tightness/ heaviness 1%
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
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Antimigraine
Triptan
Prescription only
Available as
ElavilImitrex
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
ElavilImitrex
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Elavil (Amitriptyline)The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
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
  • Age 65 years or older
Detailed Elavil (Amitriptyline) risks & warnings »
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
    • Patients taking SSRIs and SNRIs
    • History of high blood pressure
    • History of seizures
    Detailed Imitrex (Sumatriptan) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    ElavilImitrex
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    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.

    See the FDA package insert
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    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.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    • Low doses of Elavil (Amitriptyline) start working in 45 minutes to help you sleep better.
    • 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
    • It's more likely to cause sleepiness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
    • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
    No specific 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
    More about ImitrexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert