Compare Elavil vs. Tofranil

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

Elavil (Amitriptyline)

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
Improves your mood and stops bedwetting in children.

Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) is one of the first choice medicines used to treat depression, but it can cause weight gain and sleepiness.

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.
  • Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) is part of the first choice of medicines used to treat depression.
  • Available in generic.
  • Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) is usually taken only once a day.
  • Available in 3 different strengths.
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.
  • Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) can lower your sex drive and cause more weight gain than other similar medicines for depression.
  • You might be more sensitive to the sun and have a higher risk for heat stroke while taking Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride).
  • If you have a history of heart conditions, your symptoms might get worse with Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride). Talk to your doctor to see if Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) is right for you.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
Price
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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

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Side effects
The Elavil (Amitriptyline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
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
  • Higher risk of suicide

    Under age 24

  • Heart problems

    History of heart disease

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Blood pressure changes

    High blood pressure

  • Higher risk of seizures

    History of seizures

  • Changes in metabolism

    History of diabetes

See more detailed risks and warnings