Compare Elavil vs. Maxalt

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

Elavil
(amitriptyline)

Maxalt
(rizatriptan)

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. Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is great for relieving short migraines, but doesn't work as well for long-lasting headaches.
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 Maxalt
81%
-28% worse vs. Elavil
62%
-26% worse vs. Elavil
19%
-6% worse vs. Elavil
Have you used Maxalt (rizatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ElavilMaxalt

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

More about Elavil side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Maxalt side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Maxalt »
How it works
ElavilMaxalt
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.Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.
Type of medication
ElavilMaxalt
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ElavilMaxalt
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
Used for
ElavilMaxalt
Risk factors for serious side effects
ElavilMaxalt
  • 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 heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
Detailed Maxalt (rizatriptan) 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.

Pain
ElavilMaxalt
  • 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
ElavilMaxalt
  • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
No sleep related info.
Weight
ElavilMaxalt
  • 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
ElavilMaxalt
  • 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.
  • Triptans like Maxalt (Rizatriptan) are considered the first-choice treatment to relieve moderate to severe migraine-type headaches.
  • It can also be used to treat tension-type headaches.
  • Not all triptans work the same way for people, so you can try multiple ones to find the right medication for you.
  • You don't need to drink water with the orally disintegrating tablet for it to work, so this could be a good medication for people who can't keep water down when they have a migraine.
Downsides and risks
ElavilMaxalt
  • 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.
  • Maxalt (Rizatriptan) doesn’t prevent migraines or tension headaches, but only works once the headache starts.
  • It can cause rebound headaches if it’s used too often.
  • You need to wait at least 2 hours after your first dose to take a second dose.
  • May not be the best choice if you have long, drawn-out headaches. Ask your doctor about other triptans that can last longer than Maxalt (Rizatriptan).
  • Not a good choice if you have heart disease or if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ElavilMaxalt
  • 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 Maxalt (Rizatriptan) as soon as you feel you’re getting a headache or experience warning signs like being sensitive to light or sound.
  • If you're taking other medicines to control your headaches (like propranolol), the dose of Maxalt (Rizatriptan) will be different.
  • Let your doctor know if your headaches don’t go away after taking [name-common] or if you have more than 4 migraines per month.
  • It’s available in two different dosage forms, a tablet you take by mouth and an orally disintegrating tablet (Maxalt-MLT) you place on your tongue to let it dissolve.
  • Lie down in a dark room after taking Maxalt (Rizatriptan) to help ease pain. Ask your doctor about other medicines that can help prevent your headaches.
Learn more
More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Elavil (amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about MaxaltSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Maxalt (rizatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it