Compare Elavil vs. Propranolol

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

Elavil (Amitriptyline)

Prescription only

Inderal (Propranolol)

Prescription only
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.

4.5/ 7 average rating with 134 reviewsforElavil
Lowers blood pressure and controls heart rate.

Inderal (Propranolol) is good for treating many heart problems and other problems in the body, but it has more side effects than other beta blockers. You can't miss doses.

5.4/ 7 average rating with 61 reviewsforPropranolol
Upsides
  • 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.
  • A first-choice treatment to prevent chest pain (angina).
  • A first-choice treatment for heart failure, heart attack, heart valve disorders, and abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Also treats and prevents many non-heart problems, such as tremors, anxiety, migraines, and liver disease symptoms.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • Taking a beta blocker might make you feel more tired or out of breath during exercise or normal daily routines. This gets better for most people, but for some might not go away.
  • Has more side effects than some beta blockers because it crosses into the brain and central nervous system.
  • Not a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure according to the latest guidelines, except if you have heart failure or heart disease. As a second choice, your doctor might add it to medicines you're already taking if your blood pressure is still too high.
  • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar if you're diabetic.
  • You can't miss doses. Stopping Propranolol suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Price
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$4
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$9.99
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Reviews
134 
53%
think this treatment is worth it
36%
think this treatment works well
25%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?

Leave a review
61 
66%
think this treatment is worth it
62%
think this treatment works well
15%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Inderal (Propranolol)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Elavil (Amitriptyline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
3possible side effects
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Fatigue
    5%
  • Constipation
    3%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and warnings
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

    Age 24 years or younger

  • Mania

    History of bipolar disorder

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Heart problems

    History of cardiovascular disease

  • Low blood pressure

    Age 65 years or older

  • Anticholinergic effects

    Age 65 years or older

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Increased chest pain or risk of heart attack

    Suddenly stopping Inderal (Propranolol)

  • Increased risks during surgery

    Major surgery requiring anesthesia

  • Masked symptoms of low blood sugar

    Diabetes

  • Low blood pressure

    Concurrent use of non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers, digoxin or clonidine

See more detailed risks and warnings