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.
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 Lamictal
66%
-13% worse vs. Elavil
58%
-22% worse vs. Elavil
18%
-7% worse vs. Elavil
184 reviews
Have you used Lamictal (Lamotrigine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ElavilLamictal

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

More about Elavil side effects »
  • Neck pain 1%
  • Reaction aggravated (seizure exacerbation) 1%
  • Anorexia 1%
  • Arthralgia 2%
  • Concentration disturbance 1%
  • Amenorrhea 1%
  • Convulsion 2%
  • Irritability 1%
  • Speech disorder 3%
  • Pruritus 1%
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
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
ElavilLamictal
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
Used for
ElavilLamictal
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
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
Detailed Lamictal (Lamotrigine) 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.

Food
ElavilLamictal
No food related info.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
Pain
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.
No pain related info.
Sleep
ElavilLamictal
  • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
No sleep related info.
Weight
ElavilLamictal
  • 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
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
Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about LamictalSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Lamictal (Lamotrigine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it