1 What is Provigil?

Brand: Provigil

Generic: Modafinil

Provigil is a prescription drug used to help people suffering from narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), or obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS).

This drug does not cure the said conditions; it only works on the symptoms and as long as you continue taking it.

2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start Provigil, speak with your doctor about what you need to know. The risks and benefits the medicine offer must be weighed.

For Provigil, you and your doctor must consider the following:


If you have any unusual reaction to any medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about it. Additionally, disclose other types of allergies - foods, preservatives, animals, or dyes, if there are any. Read the package ingredients carefully and make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients.


Safety and efficacy of modafinil use in children 17 years old and younger have not been established.


No appropriate age-related studies performed in the geriatric population. Nevertheless, age-specific problems are not expected to stop the medicine’s usefulness in the elderly. When giving modafinil to elderly patients, utmost care must be considered since they are more prone to age-related diseases.


It is not sure if there are adequate studies done in pregnant women or if animal studies showing adverse effects are available.


Although there are no adequate studies in lactating mothers that determine potential risk in an infant when breastfeeding, the benefits should be weighed against the risks before taking this medication.

Drug Interactions.

Some drugs have adverse effects when used together. Make sure to inform your doctor about other drugs you are taking, so that alterations and precautions will be made if necessary. Before using modafinil, talk to your doctor about possible interactions if you are taking other medications.

It is also important to inform your doctor if you are smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol since these may interact with the drug’s effectiveness. Inform your doctor about any drug you are using, prescription or nonprescription, as well as vitamin and herbal supplement.

Other Medical Problems.

If you have other health problems, the use of this medicine may be affected. Inform your doctor about your other medical problems, particularly, alcohol abuse, drug dependence or abuse, angina, heart attack, depression, hypertension, mania, psychosis, heart disease of any kind, and liver disease.

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Provigil requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. Never take less or more than the exact dosage prescribed. This drug may become habit-forming if you do not follow your doctor’s instructions.

Provigil is not to be used for occasional sleepiness that is not diagnosed as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or SWSD. It is not to be used as a replacement of getting enough sleep. Your doctor may advise you on how to have good sleeping habits.

Patients with sleep apnea who utilize a continuous airway pressure machine at night should continue using this machine with the right dosage of this drug. Modafinil must be taken at the same time each day; talk to your doctor first before changing the time of day you take this drug. It can be taken with or without meals.


Follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to dosage. The following information is only for the average dosage of this drug. The number of doses, the number of hours between doses, and how long you will take this drug depend on your health condition, your progress, and how well you react to this medicine.

For OSAHS or narcolepsy in adults and teens 17 years and older, the initial dose is 200 milligrams an hour before you begin working. The doctor will determine use and dosage if the patient is younger than 17.

Missed dose.

Take the missed dose as soon as possible. In case it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one and follow your regular dosing schedule. Never take double doses.


Keep the medicine in an airtight container at normal room temperature. Keep it away from direct light, heat, and moisture. Do not let it freeze. Keep the medicine out of children’s reach. Throw away any outdated medicine or medicine that are not in use.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Provigil, there are some precautions you must take. Regular visits to your doctor are important in order to keep track on your progress and check if the medicine is working properly. Checking your blood pressure more often while using this drug may be required.

If you become pregnant while taking this medicine, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may suggest joining a pregnancy registry for women taking modafinil. Taking this medicine can sometimes cause serious skin reactions.

If you experience peeling, blistering, or loosening of the skin, severe acne, red skin lesions, severe skin rash, skin sores or ulcers, or fevers and chills while using this medicine, stop intake and see your doctor immediately.

Using this medicine may cause you to suffer from anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction, which can be life-threatening. Anaphylaxis is an emergency situation that needs immediate medical attention.

Stop intake and call your doctor immediately if you experience breathing difficulties, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, skin rash, itching, and hives, or swelling of the face, mouth, or hands. The allergic reaction can be so severe that it affects multiple body organs, such as the liver, heart, or blood cells.

If you have experience pain or discomfort on the chest, chills, and fevers, headache, rash, unusual tiredness, stomach pain, unusual bruising or bleeding, yellowing of the eyes or skin or  passing dark urine, check with your doctor immediately.

If you have been taking this drug for a few weeks without improvement, do not attempt to increase the dose. Inform your doctor instead. Birth control methods like pills, shots, implants, IUD, patches, or vaginal rings may not work properly on patients taking modafinil.

Use another form of birth control while using this drug and for one more month after the last dose. Other effective birth control methods are condoms, contraceptive foams or jellies, and diaphragms.

Taking this drug may cause drowsiness, dizziness, thinking and movement difficulties, or trouble seeing clearly. Before you drive, use machines, or do activities that require you to be alert or well-coordinated, make sure how this medicine affects you.

If you are having anxiety, aggressive behavior, depression, mania, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and other mental issues while using this medicine, stop intake and consult your doctor.

If you are taking modafinil in large doses or for a long time, and you think you have become physically or mentally dependent on it, consult your doctor. Signs of modafinil dependence include:

  • A strong urge or need to take the medicine.
  • A need to take increasing doses to get the effects you want.
  • You  get withdrawal side effects when you try to stop using the medicine.

You must limit your alcohol intake while using modafinil. If you have been using the medicine for a long period of time or are taking this in large doses, do not stop intake without consulting your doctor.

You may have to reduce the amount of intake gradually before stopping it completely. Do not take other medications, including prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins, or herbal supplements, without your doctor’s advice.

5 Potential Side Effects

While not all people taking Provigil may suffer from these side effects, you may need to call your doctor if any of these are present:

  • Black, Tarry stools
  • Vision changes like blurry vision
  • Chills or Fever
  • Dizziness or Fainting
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Rapidly changing moods
  • Uncontrolled movements of the face, mouth, or tongue
  • Sore throat
  • Trembling or Shaking
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Mental depression
  • Clumsiness or Unsteadiness
  • Problems with memory
  • Trouble in urinating
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

The following are symptoms of overdose, if you are experiencing any of these, get emergency medical attention:

  • Fast or Pounding heartbeat
  • Agitation or Excitement
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Trouble with sleeping

Some of the side effects may take place and may not need special medical attention and usually go away as the body adjusts to the medicine during treatment.

Some patients may experience other side effects not listed above. If you want to report side effects, you may do so by calling the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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