Compare Pamelor vs. Vivactil

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

Pamelor
(nortriptyline)

Vivactil
(protriptyline)

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. Vivactil (protriptyline) is part of the first choice of medicines for depression, but it can cause problems with your heartbeat and change your sex drive.
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 Vivactil (protriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
PamelorVivactil

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

FDA side effect reports for Pamelor »

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

More about Vivactil side effects »
How it works
PamelorVivactil
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.Vivactil (protriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant. It regulates mood by raising the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.
Type of medication
PamelorVivactil
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
PamelorVivactil
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
PamelorVivactil
Risk factors for serious side effects
PamelorVivactil
  • 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
  • History of seizures
  • High blood pressure
Detailed Vivactil (protriptyline) 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.

Food
PamelorVivactil
  • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
No food related info.
Upsides and benefits
PamelorVivactil
  • 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.
  • Vivactil (protriptyline) is part of the first choice medicines for treating depression.
  • Compared to similar medicines, Vivactil (protriptyline) is less likely to make you feel sleepy.
  • Available in generic.
Downsides and risks
PamelorVivactil
  • 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.
  • Vivactil (protriptyline) can lower your sex drive more than some other similar medicines.
  • Because Vivactil (protriptyline) can cause dizziness, people age 65 and older need to take precautions when taking Vivactil (protriptyline).
  • Vivactil (protriptyline) can worsen heart conditions. If you have a history of heart problems, you may need to have regular testing for your heart.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
PamelorVivactil
  • 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.
  • Take Vivactil (protriptyline) at night since it can make you sleepy. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how your body reacts to it.
  • You might have to take Vivactil (protriptyline) for a few weeks before you notice any changes in your mood.
  • Vivactil (protriptyline) can make you more sensitive to the sun. Wear sunscreen or cover your skin if you're going to be out in the sun for a while.
  • Don't stop taking Vivactil (protriptyline) without talking to your doctor first.
  • Be very careful getting up if you've been sitting or lying down for a while since Vivactil (protriptyline) can make you feel dizzy.
Learn more
More about PamelorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Pamelor (nortriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about VivactilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Vivactil (protriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it