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All about: Modafinil

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Generic name: Modafinil
Brand names: Provigil

Why is Modafinil prescribed?

Provigil is a stimulant drug used to treat unusually sleepy people who have been diagnosed with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome, or shift work sleep disorder. You should be diagnosed with one of these sleep disorders before taking Provigil, since sleepiness can be a symptom of other medical conditions.

Most important fact about Modafinil

Provigil will not cure any sleep disorder; it merely treats the symptom of sleepiness. This medication should not be used in place of getting enough sleep. You should follow your doctor's advice about maintaining good sleep habits.

Provigil, like other stimulants, has the potential for abuse. It can alter your mood, perception, thinking, and feelings, providing an artificial "lift" and potentially leading to a certain degree of dependence (although discontinuation of the drug does not produce physical withdrawal symptoms). Make a point of taking only the prescribed dose: Never increase the dose or take additional doses.

How should you take Modafinil?

Food does not reduce the effectiveness of Modafinil. However, it will delay the onset of action by approximately 1 hour.

--If you miss a dose...

Take it as soon as possible. If you don't remember until the next day, skip the dose you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take a double dose.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Provigil.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Anxiety, depression, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, infection, loss of appetite, loss of muscle strength, lung problems, nausea, nervousness, prickling or tingling feeling, runny nose, sore throat

Why should Modafinil not be prescribed?

If Provigil gives you an allergic reaction, you'll need to avoid it.

Special warnings about Modafinil

If you have high blood pressure, liver or kidney problems, or a history of psychosis or drug abuse, use Provigil with caution. Be sure your doctor knows your medical history before you begin Modafinil.

Provigil should be avoided by people with certain types of heart disease such as mitral valve prolapse. If you've ever had a heart problem, be sure to check with the doctor before using Modafinil.

Provigil may impair your judgment, thinking, or motor skills. You should not drive a car or operate hazardous machinery until you know how Modafinil affects you.

Oral and implantable contraceptives are less effective while you are taking Provigil. You should use an additional method of contraception while you are taking Provigil and for one month after discontinuing Modafinil.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Modafinil

The effect of combining Provigil with alcohol has not been studied. It's considered wise to avoid alcohol while taking the drug.

If Provigil is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Provigil with any of the following:

Antidepressants such as Effexor, Elavil, Pamelor, Paxil, Prozac, and Tofranil
Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
Clomipramine (Anafranil)
Cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
Diazepam (Valium)
Itraconazole (Sporanox)
Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
MAO inhibitors such as the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate
Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
Oral contraceptives and hormonal implants
Phenytoin (Dilantin)
Propranolol (Inderal)
Rifampin (Rifater)
Theophylline (Theo-Dur)
Warfarin (Coumadin)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The possibility of harmful effects during pregnancy has not been ruled out. If you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. Provigil is recommended during pregnancy only if the need for therapy outweighs the potential risk.

It is not known whether Provigil appears in breast milk. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding an infant. Nursing mothers should use Provigil with caution and only when clearly needed.

Recommended dosage


The usual dose of Provigil is 200 milligrams taken as a single dose in the morning.


Not for children under 16.


People over 65 may need a lower dose if they have liver or kidney disease, which reduce the body's ability to metabolize Modafinil.


Any medication taken in excess can cause symptoms of overdose. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical treatment immediately.

  • Symptoms of Provigil overdose may include:
    Aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety, confusion, diarrhea, fluttering heartbeat, insomnia, irritability, nausea, nervousness, sleep disturbances, slow blood clotting, tremor

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