Compare Lamictal vs. Pamelor

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

Lamictal
(Lamotrigine)

Pamelor
(Nortriptyline)

Prevents seizures and stabilizes mood. Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is most useful for treating severe seizure disorders, and for bipolar disorder with more depression symptoms than manic symptoms. Just be careful to increase your dose slowly to avoid skin rash.Improves your mood. Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a good option for treating depression, especially for people who also have problems with persistent nerve pain.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.11Lamictal
Reviews for Lamictal
66%
of people (All ages) say Lamictal is worth it
58%
say it works well
18%
say it's a big hassle
184 reviews
Have you used Lamictal (Lamotrigine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Pamelor
79%
-13% worse vs. Lamictal
79%
-21% worse vs. Lamictal
21%
+3% better vs. Lamictal
Have you used Pamelor (Nortriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
LamictalPamelor
  • Neck pain 1%
  • Reaction aggravated (seizure exacerbation) 1%
  • Anorexia 1%
  • Arthralgia 2%
  • Concentration disturbance 1%
  • Amenorrhea 1%
  • Convulsion 2%
  • Irritability 1%
  • Speech disorder 3%
  • Pruritus 1%
More Lamictal side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Pamelor side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Pamelor »
How it works
LamictalPamelor
Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is an antiepileptic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to calm nerve activity in the brain.Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). It helps improve your mood by altering the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and other similar chemicals in your brain.
Type of medication
LamictalPamelor
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
LamictalPamelor
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
LamictalPamelor
Risk factors for serious side effects
LamictalPamelor
  • History of depression
  • People also taking Depakote
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Increasing the dose too quickly
  • Taking birth control pills
Detailed Lamictal (Lamotrigine) risks & warnings »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • History of heart disease
Detailed Pamelor (Nortriptyline) 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.

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.

Food
LamictalPamelor
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
  • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
Upsides and benefits
LamictalPamelor
  • Effective at lowering the frequency of seizures in people with epilepsy or Lennox-Gestaut syndrome. Typically used together with other medications for severe seizure disorders.
  • Works best for partial, tonic-clonic, and absence seizures.
  • A first-line treatment for bipolar disorder. Effective long-term treatment for stabilizing mood. Prevents both depressive and manic episodes, but the effect is greater for preventing depression.
  • Doesn't require routine blood tests.
  • Helpful with treating certain types of pain, like migraines or nerve-related pain.
  • Generally well tolerated and has fewer side effects than other medicines in the same class of drugs.
Downsides and risks
LamictalPamelor
  • Can cause double vision, dizziness, sleepiness, and headache.
  • Has the risk of a rare but life-threatening rash.
  • Can make hormonal birth control less effective.
  • Might be less effective than other medicines for treating manic episodes (acute mania) in people with bipolar disorder.
  • Side effects are usually manageable, but can be annoying.
  • Increases the risk of falls, especially when used in the elderly.
  • There's an increased chance of it causing heart problems, especially in people with a history of heart problems.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
LamictalPamelor
  • Follow dose adjustments set by your doctor to minimize skin rash.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
  • Report rash, blurry vision, fever, persistent headache, or neck stiffness to your doctor.
  • Makes hormonal birth control less effective.
  • Takes 4 to 6 weeks to feel full effects on mood.
  • Needs to be taken every day for 1 to 2 weeks to start feeling better, and for 6 to 8 weeks to see the full effect of the medication.
  • It's important to keep taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline) even when you feel your symptoms are getting better.
  • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
  • If you decide to stop taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline), work with your doctor to slowly get off this medicine to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
Learn more
More about LamictalSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Lamictal (Lamotrigine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about PamelorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Pamelor (Nortriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it