Compare Elavil vs. Tofranil

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

Elavil
(Amitriptyline)

Tofranil
(Imipramine Hydrochloride)

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.Coming soon.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.466101694915254Elavil
Reviews for Elavil (Amitriptyline)
52%
of people (All ages) say Elavil (Amitriptyline) is worth it
34%
say it works well
23%
say it's a big hassle
118 reviews
Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this drug. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Tofranil (Imipramine Hydrochloride)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ElavilTofranil

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 Tofranil side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Tofranil »
How it works
ElavilTofranil
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.Coming soon.
Type of medication
ElavilTofranil
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Coming soon.
Available as
ElavilTofranil
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
ElavilTofranil
  • Depression Nocturnal enuresis
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 Tofranil (Imipramine Hydrochloride)
Risk factors for serious side effects
ElavilTofranil
  • 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 »
Coming soon.
Pregnancy category
ElavilTofranil
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
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
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
ElavilTofranil
  • 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.
Coming soon.
Downsides and risks
ElavilTofranil
  • 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.
Coming soon.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ElavilTofranil
  • 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.
Coming soon.
Learn more
More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about TofranilSide effectsFDA package insert
Have you used Tofranil (Imipramine Hydrochloride)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it