Compare Pamelor vs. Paxil

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

Pamelor
(Nortriptyline)

Paxil
(Paroxetine)

Improves your mood. Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a good option for treating depression, especially for people who also have problems with persistent nerve pain.Improves mood and helps you relax. Paxil (Paroxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety but it causes more weight gain, sleepiness, and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Paxil (Paroxetine)
52%
25% vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
39%
38% vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
23%
8% vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
Side effects
PamelorPaxil

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

FDA side effect reports for Pamelor »
  • Abnormal ejaculation† 27%
  • Ejaculatory disturbance 26%
  • Nausea 22%
  • Dry mouth 19%
  • Drowsiness 17%
  • Lower sex drive 11%
  • Diarrhea 11%
  • Sleep difficulty 11%
  • Constipation 10%
  • Decreased libido 10%
More Paxil side effects »
How it works
PamelorPaxil
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.Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
PamelorPaxil
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Available as
PamelorPaxil
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
PamelorPaxil
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 Pamelor (Nortriptyline)

After 4 weeks using Start and Paxil (Paroxetine), here’s how much better people feel.

Risk factors for serious side effects
PamelorPaxil
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • History of heart disease
  • Older age
  • Electrolyte imbalance
Detailed Pamelor (Nortriptyline) risks & warnings »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
      Detailed Paxil (Paroxetine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      PamelorPaxil
      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
      DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
      Food
      • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
      • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.
      • Can cause more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
      • Paxil (Paroxetine) can cause lower sex drive or difficulty having an orgasm. If the problem persists after the first 2 to 3 months, you can talk to your doctor about alternative antidepressants or performance-enhancing medications.
      Sleep
      • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3-5 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1-2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
      • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
      • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1 to 2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.
      • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
      • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
      Upsides and benefits
      PamelorPaxil
      • 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.
      • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
      • Lowers relapse rates of depression and anxiety disorders, including OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
      • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
      • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      Downsides and risks
      PamelorPaxil
      • 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.
      • Can cause more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
      • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
      • Can harm an unborn child, so you can't take it if you're pregnant.
      • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than age 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
      PamelorPaxil
      • 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.
      • If you decide to stop taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline), work with your doctor to slowly get off this medicine to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
      • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
      • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
      • 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.
      • The controlled-release (CR) tablet can cause less nausea than other forms.
      • Don’t crush, break, or chew the Paxil (Paroxetine) controlled-release tablet or the Pexeva film-coated tablets.
      • It’s best to take Paxil (Paroxetine) in the morning, except Brisdelle, which can be taken at bedtime.
      • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
      Learn more
      More about PamelorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert