Compare Elavil vs. Lidocaine

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

Elavil
(Amitriptyline)

Lidoderm
(Lidocaine)

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 nerve pain. Lidoderm (Lidocaine) patches work well by releasing a local anesthetic into the skin and relieving pain by targeting damaged nerves.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
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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

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Side effects
ElavilLidocaine

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

More about Elavil side effects »

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

More about Lidocaine side effects »
How it works
ElavilLidocaine
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.Lidoderm (Lidocaine) is a local anesthetic. It absorbs into your skin where it targets damaged nerves and relieves burning pain.
Type of medication
ElavilLidocaine
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Local anestheticPrescription only
Available as
ElavilLidocaine
  • Pill
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Jelly
  • Spray
  • Topical solution
  • Patch
Used for (click to learn more)
ElavilLidocaine
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 Lidoderm (Lidocaine)
Risk factors for serious side effects
ElavilLidocaine
  • 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 »
  • Use of heating pad on skin
  • Applying patch to red, irritated or broken skin
  • Leaving patch on for more than 12 hours
  • Using patch on a very large area
  • Older age and lower body weight
  • Liver disease
  • Allergy to numbing medications (local anesthetics)
  • Not disposing of Lidoderm (Lidocaine) correctly
  • Children and pets can reach medication
  • Not washing hands after touching or applying Lidoderm (Lidocaine)
  • Applying Lidoderm (Lidocaine) to warm skin
  • Covering patch with wrap or heating pad
  • History of heart problems
  • Using Lidoderm (Lidocaine) with drugs to treat irregular heartbeat
Detailed Lidoderm (Lidocaine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
ElavilLidocaine
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.
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
ElavilLidocaine
  • 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.
  • Lidoderm (Lidocaine) can treat pain better for people who can't take oral pain medications due to allergies or bad side effects.
  • Has been shown to relieve nerve pain due to shingles for up to 12 hours at a time.
  • Patches can be cut into smaller pieces to best fit the areas of skin they need to be used on.
Downsides and risks
ElavilLidocaine
  • 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 skin irritation after using it the first time, but for most people it's mild and goes away in a few minutes or hours.
  • Used patches contain enough medicine to be dangerous to children and pets, so store and dispose of the patches in a safe place out of their reach.
  • Might not be the best choice if you've had allergic reactions to numbing medications (local anesthetics) in the past.
  • Even though only small amounts of Lidoderm (Lidocaine) are absorbed into the body through the skin, if you're taking medications that treat arrhythmias, Lidoderm (Lidocaine) can affect how they work.
  • Patches shouldn't be left on for more than 12 hours, used on very large areas of skin, or covered with a heating pad.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ElavilLidocaine
  • 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.
  • Starts working with the first dose, but full effects can take longer.
  • Remove the protective lining on the patch before applying the patch to unbroken skin.
  • Leave the patch on for up to 12 hours during a 24 hour period.
  • You can cut the patches to create a custom fit for the area of skin you need to apply it to.
  • Don't place any tight wraps or heating pads over the patch while it's on.
  • Make sure not to touch your eyes after touching the patch. Always wash your hands after putting it on or taking it off.
Learn more
More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about LidocaineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert