Compare Tofranil vs. Effexor

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

Tofranil
(imipramine hydrochloride)

Effexor
(venlafaxine)

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.Improves mood and helps you relax. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It may work when other antidepressants haven't, but it's more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Effexor
62%
-62% worse vs. Tofranil
51%
-51% worse vs. Tofranil
23%
+23% better vs. Tofranil
577 reviews
Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
TofranilEffexor

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

More about Tofranil side effects »
  • Nausea 26%
  • Headache 1%
  • Somnolence 14%
  • Dry mouth 11%
  • Dizziness 11%
  • Insomnia 8%
  • Abnormal Ejaculation 16%
  • Constipation 8%
  • Nervousness 17%
  • Asthenia 14%
More Effexor side effects »
How it works
TofranilEffexor
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.Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.
Type of medication
TofranilEffexor
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
TofranilEffexor
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for
TofranilEffexor
Risk factors for serious side effects
TofranilEffexor
  • Under age 24
  • History of heart disease
  • Overactive thyroid
  • High blood pressure
  • History of seizures
Detailed Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) risks & warnings »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
Detailed Effexor (venlafaxine) 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.

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.

Alcohol
TofranilEffexor
  • Don't drink alcohol while taking Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride).
No alcohol related info.
Sex
TofranilEffexor
No sex related info.
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
Sleep
TofranilEffexor
  • Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride) can make you feel sleepy, so don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how it affects you.
No sleep related info.
Weight
TofranilEffexor
  • 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).
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
TofranilEffexor
  • 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.
  • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
  • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
  • Might work when other antidepressants haven't worked since it affects two chemicals in the brain that impact your mood. Many other antidepressants affect only serotonin, but not norepinephrine too.
Downsides and risks
TofranilEffexor
  • 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.
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Not the best option for people with high blood pressure.
  • Overdosing on this medication could be fatal.
  • It's more likely to cause nausea and vomiting or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants. Also causes more sleepiness than others.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
TofranilEffexor
  • 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.
  • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
  • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
  • Extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole. If you can’t swallow pills, open the capsule, sprinkle it on a spoonful of applesauce and then swallow it without chewing.
  • 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 TofranilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Tofranil (imipramine hydrochloride)?
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More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?
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