Compare Pamelor vs. Tofranil

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

Pamelor
(nortriptyline)

Tofranil
(imipramine hydrochloride)

Improves your mood. Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a good option for treating depression, especially for people who also have problems with persistent nerve pain.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.47Pamelor
Reviews for Pamelor
79%
of people (All ages) say Pamelor is worth it
79%
say it works well
21%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Pamelor (nortriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
PamelorTofranil

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

FDA side effect reports for Pamelor »

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

More about Tofranil side effects »
How it works
PamelorTofranil
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.Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) is a tricyclic antidepressant. It raises the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, 2 chemicals that are known to regulate mood. It's not known exactly how Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) treats bedwetting.
Type of medication
PamelorTofranil
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
PamelorTofranil
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
PamelorTofranil
Risk factors for serious side effects
PamelorTofranil
  • 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 »
  • Under age 24
  • History of heart disease
  • Overactive thyroid
  • High blood pressure
  • History of seizures
Detailed Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

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.

Alcohol
PamelorTofranil
No alcohol related info.
  • Don't drink alcohol while taking Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride).
Food
PamelorTofranil
  • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
No food related info.
Sleep
PamelorTofranil
No sleep related info.
  • Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) can make you feel sleepy, so don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how it affects you.
Weight
PamelorTofranil
No weight related info.
  • Compared to other medicines for depression, Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) can make you more likely to gain weight and have changes in blood sugar. If you have diabetes, your doctor might need to change the doses of your medications to make sure your blood sugar stays controlled. Talk to your doctor to see if you should take another medicine besides Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride).
Upsides and benefits
PamelorTofranil
  • 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.
  • 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 and risks
PamelorTofranil
  • 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.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
PamelorTofranil
  • 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.
  • You might need to take Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) for a few weeks before you notice any changes in your mood.
  • Don't drink alcohol while taking Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride).
  • If you miss your bedtime dose, skip it and take your regular dose the next evening. Don't take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
  • You might be more sensitive to the sun while taking Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride). Make sure to drink plenty of liquids, wear sunscreen, or cover your skin if you'll be out in the sun.
  • Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) can make you feel sleepy, so don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how it affects you.
  • Don't stop taking Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) without talking to your doctor first.
Learn more
More about PamelorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Pamelor (nortriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about TofranilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it