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Elavil vs. Pamelor

Reviewed on 3/22/2019

Are Elavil and Pamelor the Same Thing?

Elavil (amitryptiline) and Pamelor (nortriptyline HCl) are tricyclic antidepressants used to treat depression.

Elavil is also used to treat mood disorders, nerve pain, eating disorder, anxiety, and panic disorders.

The brand name Elavil is no longer available in the U.S. It is available as a generic.

Side effects of Pamelor and Elavil that are similar include blurred vision, urinary retention, dry mouth, constipation, weight changes, dizziness, and unpleasant taste in mouth or changes in taste.

Side effects of Pamelor that are different from Elavil include fast heart rate, tingly feeling, weakness, lack of coordination, nausea, ringing in your ears, breast swelling (in men or women), decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.

Side effects of Elavil that are different from Pamelor include drowsiness, headache, or increased hunger.

Both Pamelor and Elavil may interact with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing (alcohol, antihistamines, sleeping pills, narcotics, muscle relaxers, or medicines for anxiety or seizures), antidepressants, cimetidine, terbinafine, allergy or cough-and-cold products that contain decongestants or ingredients that cause drowsiness, or heart rhythm medications.

Pamelor may also interact with reserpine, St. John's wort, medications to treat mental illness, bladder or urinary medicines, bronchodilators, medications for Parkinson's disease; medications to treat excess stomach acid, stomach ulcer, motion sickness, or irritable bowel syndrome; decongestants, diet pills, stimulants.

Elavil may also interact with arbutamine, disulfiram, thyroid supplements, other drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (antiplatelet drugs, aspirin and other NSAIDs, blood thinners), anticholinergics, drugs to treat high blood pressure, MAO inhibitors, cisapride, pimozide, macrolide antibiotics, isoniazid, phenothiazines, or theophylline.

Do not stop using Pamelor or Elavil suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Elavil?

Common side effects of Elavil include:

  • drowsiness,
  • dry mouth,
  • dizziness,
  • blurred vision,
  • constipation,
  • weight gain,
  • trouble urinating,
  • headache,
  • increased hunger, and
  • changes in taste.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Pamelor?

Common side effects of Pamelor include:

  • fast heart rate,
  • blurred vision,
  • urinary retention,
  • dry mouth,
  • constipation,
  • weight gain or loss,
  • dizziness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension),
  • tingly feeling,
  • weakness,
  • lack of coordination,
  • unpleasant taste,
  • nausea,
  • ringing in your ears,
  • breast swelling (in men or women),
  • decreased sex drive,
  • impotence, or
  • difficulty having an orgasm.

What Is Elavil?

Elavil (amitryptiline) is a tricyclic antidepressant used to treat depression and mood disorders. Elavil may also be used to treat other conditions including nerve pain, eating disorder, anxiety, and panic disorder. The brand name Elavil is no longer available in the U.S.

What Is Pamelor?

Pamelor (nortriptyline HCl) is an antidepressant that is used to treat mental/mood problems such as depression.

SLIDESHOW

Learn to Spot Depression: Symptoms, Warning Signs, Medication See Slideshow

What Drugs Interact With Elavil?

Elavil may also interact with MAO inhibitors, arbutamine, disulfiram, thyroid supplements, other drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (antiplatelet drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], blood thinners), anticholinergic drugs, and certain drugs for high blood pressure.

What Drugs Interact With Pamelor?

Pamelor may interact with narcotic pain medicines.

Pamelor may also interact with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing (sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, or medicines for anxiety, depression, or seizures), bupropion, cimetidine, reserpine, St. John's wort, terbinafine, other antidepressant or medication to treat mental illness, bladder or urinary medicines, bronchodilators, cold or allergy medicines that contain an antihistamine, medications for Parkinson's disease; medications to treat excess stomach acid, stomach ulcer, motion sickness, or irritable bowel syndrome; decongestants, diet pills, stimulants, or heart rhythm medications.

Do not stop using Pamelor suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

How Should Elavil Be Taken?

Elavil is taken by mouth in tablet form. The medication may take up to four weeks to take full effect.

How Should Pamelor Be Taken?

Pamelor is administered orally in the form of capsules or liquid. Lower than usual dosages are recommended for elderly patients and adolescents.

QUESTION

Depression is a(n) __________ . See Answer
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Any drug information published on RxList.com regarding general drug information, drug side effects, drug usage, dosage, and more are sourced from the original drug documentation found in its FDA drug monograph.

Drug information found in the drug comparisons published on RxList.com is primarily sourced from the FDA drug information. The drug comparison information found in this article does not contain any data from clinical trials with human participants or animals performed by any of the drug manufacturers comparing the drugs.

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References

FDA. Elavil Product Information.
https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=cb986e14-d618-4021-91d7-599e038d9d39
FDA. Pamelor Drug Information.
https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm088671.pdf
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