Compare Elavil vs. Neurontin

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

Elavil
(Amitriptyline)

Neurontin
(Gabapentin)

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 tingling and burning nerve pain. Neurontin (Gabapentin) is an old seizure disorder medicine that's now used to treat nerve-related pain caused by different conditions.
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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 Neurontin (Gabapentin)
57%
+5% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
39%
+5% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
19%
+4% vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
Side effects
ElavilNeurontin

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

More about Elavil side effects »
  • Dizziness 21%
  • Drowsiness 16%
  • Lack of muscle coordination 7%
  • Leg or ankle swelling 6%
  • Fatigue 6%
  • Hostility 5%
  • Involuntary eye movement 4%
  • Double vision 4%
  • Tremor 4%
  • Dry mouth 4%
More Neurontin side effects »
How it works
ElavilNeurontin
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.Neurontin (Gabapentin) is an antiepileptic and nerve pain reliever. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it has a similar structure to GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
Type of medication
ElavilNeurontin
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Anticonvulsant
GABA analog
Prescription only
Available as
ElavilNeurontin
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
Used for (click to learn more)
ElavilNeurontin
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 Neurontin (Gabapentin)
Risk factors for serious side effects
ElavilNeurontin
  • 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 »
    • Children ages 3 to 12
      • Taking with alcohol or drugs
      • Stopping Neurontin (Gabapentin) suddenly
      Detailed Neurontin (Gabapentin) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      ElavilNeurontin
      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.
      • You can't skip or miss doses since suddenly stopping Neurontin (Gabapentin) can cause seizures. This is even more likely if you drink alcohol, so it might not be the best medication for heavy drinkers.
      Food
      No specific food-related info.
      • Take the extended-release tablet with food.
      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.
      • Neurontin (Gabapentin) is likely to cause some side effects, including memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.
      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
      ElavilNeurontin
      • 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.
      • Originally used to treat epilepsy (partial seizures), but now it primarily treats neuropathic pain that's caused by nerve stimulation or damage.
      • Studies show it's most effective for nerve pain from diabetes, shingles, and fibromyalgia (a painful muscle condition).
      • It's available as a generic, so it's less expensive than similar medications.
      Downsides and risks
      ElavilNeurontin
      • 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.
      • Neurontin (Gabapentin) is likely to cause some side effects, including memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.
      • You can't skip or miss doses since suddenly stopping Neurontin (Gabapentin) can cause seizures. This is even more likely if you drink alcohol, so it might not be the best medication for heavy drinkers.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      ElavilNeurontin
      • 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.
      • Side effects are common, but usually manageable.
      • Don't drive while taking Neurontin (Gabapentin) until you know how the medication affects you.
      • Neurontin and generic forms of Gabapentin have the same ingredients as Gralise and Horizant, but are dosed differently. Make sure you know which form you're taking since they are used for different purposes.
      • Take the extended-release tablet with food.
      • Stop taking Neurontin (Gabapentin) slowly over at least one week to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
      Learn more
      More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about NeurontinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert