Compare Zoloft vs. Elavil

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

Zoloft (sertraline)

Prescription only

Elavil (Amitriptyline)

Prescription only
Improves mood and helps you relax.

Zoloft (sertraline) is good for treating depression and anxiety, but it can interact with many medicines.

3.5/ 5 average rating with 1472 reviewsforZoloft
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.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 134 reviewsforElavil
Upsides
  • One of the more effective and better tolerated antidepressants in its class.
  • Causes less sleepiness than other antidepressants.
  • Available as a generic, which is cheaper.
  • Best choice among antidepressants if you are pregnant.
  • 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
  • Takes at least 1 to 2 weeks to kick in and can take up to 12 weeks for maximum effect.
  • Can cause low sex drive, an inability to orgasm or ejaculate, and minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds).
  • Is more likely to cause diarrhea compared to other antidepressants.
  • Interacts with lots of other medicines.
  • You may need to try out several different antidepressants before you find the 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
1472 reviews so far
59%
saidit'sworth it
41%
saiditworked well
15%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Zoloft (sertraline)?

Leave a review
134 reviews so far
53%
saidit'sworth it
36%
saiditworked well
25%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Elavil (Amitriptyline)?

Leave a review
Side effects
15possible side effects
  • Nausea
    26%
  • Diarrhea
    18%
  • Dry mouth
    16%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    16%
  • Drowsiness
    13%
  • Dizziness
    12%
  • Tremor
    11%
  • Fatigue
    11%
  • More sweating
    8%
  • Constipation
    8%
  • Ejaculation failure
    7%
  • Upset stomach
    6%
  • Agitation
    6%
  • Loss of appetite
    3%
  • Stomach pain
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Elavil (Amitriptyline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • Age 24 years or younger
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Taking other medicines that affect serotonin levels
  • Mania
    • Personal history of bipolar disorder
    • Family history for bipolar disorder
  • Withdrawal
    • Stopping Zoloft (sertraline) suddenly
  • Increased bleeding
    • Taking blood thinners
  • Low sodium levels in the blood
    • Older people
    • Taking diuretic medicines
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • Age 24 years or younger
  • Mania
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
  • Heart problems
    • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Low blood pressure
    • Age 65 years or older
  • Anticholinergic effects
    • Age 65 years or older
See more detailed risks and warnings