Compare Prozac vs. Elavil

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

Prozac
(fluoxetine)

Elavil
(amitriptyline)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Prozac (Fluoxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It's more energizing than other antidepressants, but may not be the best choice for people who have trouble sleeping.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.74Prozac
Reviews for Prozac
62%
of people (All ages) say Prozac is worth it
40%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
1319 reviews
Have you used Prozac (fluoxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Elavil
53%
+9% better vs. Prozac
36%
+4% better vs. Prozac
25%
+9% better vs. Prozac
134 reviews
Have you used Elavil (amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ProzacElavil
  • Nausea 13%
  • Headache 2%
  • Insomnia 18%
  • Nervousness 5%
  • Somnolence 7%
  • Anxiety 6%
  • Diarrhea 4%
  • Asthenia 5%
  • Anorexia 7%
  • Dizziness 3%
More Prozac side effects »

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

More about Elavil side effects »
How it works
ProzacElavil
Prozac (Fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Elavil (Amitriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It may change serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood and pain perception. It also has sedative effects.
Type of medication
ProzacElavil
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ProzacElavil
  • Pill
  • Delayed release capsule
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
ProzacElavil
Risk factors for serious side effects
ProzacElavil
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Prozac (Fluoxetine) suddenly
  • History of heart problems
  • History of liver problems
Detailed Prozac (fluoxetine) risks & warnings »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • History of bipolar disorder
  • At risk for bipolar disorder
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Age 65 years or older
Detailed Elavil (amitriptyline) 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.

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.

Food
ProzacElavil
  • Take in the morning with food to avoid side effects.
No food related info.
Pain
ProzacElavil
No pain related info.
  • Low doses work well to treat certain kinds of chronic pain. It can take 2 weeks to feel the full effects of the medication.
Sex
ProzacElavil
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
No sex related info.
Sleep
ProzacElavil
No sleep related info.
  • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
Weight
ProzacElavil
No weight related info.
  • It's more likely to cause sleepiness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
Upsides and benefits
ProzacElavil
  • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers relapse rates of depression and bulimia nervosa.
  • Causes less sleepiness than other antidepressants.
  • It's more energizing than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have low energy.
  • It has been used to treat depression for a long time, so there's a lot of information available about how it works and how safe it is.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
  • 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.
Downsides and risks
ProzacElavil
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Can increase feelings of anxiety or cause headaches during the first few weeks of taking it. These effects should go away over time.
  • More likely than other antidepressants to interact with other medications you're taking.
  • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 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.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ProzacElavil
  • Take in the morning with food to avoid side effects.
  • 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.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
  • Take at bedtime to avoid some of its side effects.
  • Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and weight gain.
  • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
Learn more
More about ProzacSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Prozac (fluoxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ElavilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Elavil (amitriptyline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it