Compare Elavil vs. Lamictal

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

Elavil
(Amitriptyline)

Lamictal
(Lamotrigine)

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.Prevents seizures and stabilizes mood. Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is most useful for treating severe seizure disorders, and for bipolar disorder with more depression symptoms than manic symptoms. Just be careful to increase your dose slowly to avoid skin rash.
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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 Lamictal (Lamotrigine)
67%
+15% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
58%
+24% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
19%
+4% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
Side effects
ElavilLamictal

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

More about Elavil side effects »
  • Double vision 41%
  • Dizziness 27%
  • Lack of muscle coordination 18%
  • Blurred vision 15%
  • Nausea 14%
  • Vomiting 14%
  • Headache 10%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 4%
  • Incoordination 4%
More Lamictal side effects »
How it works
ElavilLamictal
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.Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is an antiepileptic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to calm nerve activity in the brain.
Type of medication
ElavilLamictal
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
AnticonvulsantPrescription only
Available as
ElavilLamictal
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
Used for (click to learn more)
ElavilLamictal
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 Lamictal (Lamotrigine)
Risk factors for serious side effects
ElavilLamictal
  • 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 depression
  • People also taking Depakote
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Increasing the dose too quickly
        • Taking birth control pills
        • Stopping Lamictal (Lamotrigine) suddenly
        Detailed Lamictal (Lamotrigine) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        ElavilLamictal
        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.
        • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
        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.
        No specific sleep-related info.
        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
        ElavilLamictal
        • 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.
        • Effective at lowering the frequency of seizures in people with epilepsy or Lennox-Gestaut syndrome. Typically used together with other medications for severe seizure disorders.
        • Works best for partial, tonic-clonic, and absence seizures.
        • A first-line treatment for bipolar disorder. Effective long-term treatment for stabilizing mood. Prevents both depressive and manic episodes, but the effect is greater for preventing depression.
        • Doesn't require routine blood tests.
        Downsides and risks
        ElavilLamictal
        • 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.
        • Can cause double vision, dizziness, sleepiness, and headache.
        • Has the risk of a rare but life-threatening rash.
        • Can make hormonal birth control less effective.
        • Might be less effective than other medicines for treating manic episodes (acute mania) in people with bipolar disorder.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        ElavilLamictal
        • 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.
        • Follow dose adjustments set by your doctor to minimize skin rash.
        • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
        • Report rash, blurry vision, fever, persistent headache, or neck stiffness to your doctor.
        • Makes hormonal birth control less effective.
        • Takes 4 to 6 weeks to feel full effects on mood.
        Learn more
        More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about LamictalSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert