Compare Elavil vs. Prozac

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

Elavil
(Amitriptyline)

Prozac
(Fluoxetine)

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.Improves mood and helps you relax. Prozac (Fluoxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It's more energizing than other antidepressants, but may not be the best choice for people who have trouble sleeping.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.48Elavil
Reviews for Elavil (Amitriptyline)
53%
of people (All ages) say Elavil (Amitriptyline) 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 Prozac (Fluoxetine)
62%
+9% better vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
40%
+4% better vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
16%
+9% better vs. Elavil (Amitriptyline)
1319 reviews
Have you used Prozac (Fluoxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ElavilProzac

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

More about Elavil side effects »
  • Nausea 13%
  • Headache 2%
  • Sleep difficulty 18%
  • Nervousness 5%
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Anxiety 6%
  • Diarrhea 4%
  • Muscle weakness 5%
  • Loss of appetite 7%
  • Dizziness 3%
More Prozac side effects »
How it works
ElavilProzac
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.Prozac (Fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
ElavilProzac
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
ElavilProzac
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Delayed release capsule
  • Liquid
Used for
ElavilProzac
Risk factors for serious side effects
ElavilProzac
  • 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 »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Prozac (Fluoxetine) suddenly
  • History of heart problems
  • History of liver problems
  • Drug interactions
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    Detailed Prozac (Fluoxetine) 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
    ElavilProzac
    No food related info.
    • Take in the morning with food to avoid side effects.
    Pain
    ElavilProzac
    • 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.
    Sex
    ElavilProzac
    No sex related info.
    • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
    Sleep
    ElavilProzac
    • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
    No sleep related info.
    Weight
    ElavilProzac
    • 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
    ElavilProzac
    • 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 relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
    • Lowers relapse rates of depression and bulimia nervosa.
    • Causes less sleepiness than other antidepressants.
    • It's more energizing than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have low energy.
    • It has been used to treat depression for a long time, so there's a lot of information available about how it works and how safe it is.
    • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
    Downsides and risks
    ElavilProzac
    • 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 sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
    • Can increase feelings of anxiety or cause headaches during the first few weeks of taking it. These effects should go away over time.
    • More likely than other antidepressants to interact with other medications you're taking.
    • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24.
    • 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.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    ElavilProzac
    • 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 in the morning with food to avoid side effects.
    • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
    • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
    • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
    Learn more
    More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about ProzacSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Prozac (Fluoxetine)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it