Compare Elavil vs. doxepin

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

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Elavil (amitriptyline)

Prescription only

doxepin

Prescription only
Improves mood.

Elavil (amitriptyline) regulates mood and treats nerve pain, but has more side effects than alternatives.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 134 reviewsforElavil
Treats depression and anxiety.

doxepin can treat depression and anxiety, but it's not a first choice medication because of its many side effects.

Upsides
  • Elavil (amitriptyline) works well to treat nerve pain and is non-habit forming.
  • doxepin has been consistently shown to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • doxepin has been used to treat depression for over forty years.
Downsides
  • Elavil (amitriptyline) has more bothersome side effects than other antidepressants.
  • doxepin can make you very sleepy. Try taking it at bedtime if you need to be alert during the day.
  • You shouldn't drink alcohol with doxepin. It can worsen side effects like drowsiness.
  • You have to take it daily, especially if you are feeling better, for the medicine to do its job.
  • It can have more side effects than other antidepressants, like weight gain and increased appetite, decreased libido, and sleepiness.
  • It's not unusual for people to try different antidepressants until they find one that works for them.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
134 reviews so far
53%
saidit'sworth it
36%
saiditworked well
25%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Elavil (amitriptyline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The doxepin 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
  • Mania
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
  • Heart problems
    • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Dizziness and falls
    • Age 65 years or older
    • Taking medicines to control blood pressure
  • Dehydration
    • Age 65 years or older
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • Age 24 years or under
  • Unmasking of bipolar disorder
    • Bipolar disorder
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Taking MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
  • Heart problems
    • History of heart disease
    • Adults over 65
    • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Sleepiness
    • Adults 65 years or older
    • Taking other medicines that cause drowsiness (antihistamines, sleep medications, narcotic pain medications)
    • Alcohol
  • Dizziness and falls
    • Age 65 years or older
See more detailed risks and warnings