PDR Health


What is Provigil?

Provigil (modafinil) is a medication that promotes wakefulness. It is thought to work by altering the natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain.

Provigil is used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or shift work sleep disorder.

Provigil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Health Benefits of Provigil

While Provigil is most commonly used to treat narcolepsy, it has also been found to be effective in treating a number of other conditions. These include:

– Sleep apnea

– Shift work sleep disorder


– Depression

– Multiple sclerosis

– Parkinson’s disease

– fatigue associated with cancer chemotherapy

Side Effects of Provigil

The most common side effects of Provigil include:




trouble sleeping (insomnia),



provigil may cause false positive results on some urine drug screens. If you provide a urine sample for drug screening, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking modafinil.


Very rare (<0.01%): Blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, or flaking of the skin

Frequency not reported: Allergic skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis

If you experience any of the following side effects, call your doctor immediately:

– Aggression

– hallucinations

– thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself

– chest pain or irregular heartbeat

– swelling in your legs or ankles

– shortness of breath

– yellowing of your skin or eyes

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.

Dosage of Provigil

The usual recommended dose of Provigil is 200 mg once daily.

For people with narcolepsy or OSA, the recommended dose is 200 mg taken orally once a day as a single dose in the morning.

For people with SWD, the recommended dose is 400 mg taken orally once a day as a single dose 1 hour prior to the start of their work shift.

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to modafinil or armodafinil (Nuvigil).

To make sure modafinil is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

– depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts;

– kidney disease;

– high blood pressure, heart disease, or history of heart attack;

– a seizure;

– mental illness; or

– abuse or dependence on alcohol, drugs, or nicotine.

Modafinil is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether modafinil passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Do not give this medication to anyone younger than 18 years old without the advice of a doctor.

Interactions with Provigil

Modafinil can interact with other medications. Tell your doctor all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you use. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

– antidepressants such as citalopram (Celexa), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax), paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva), or sertraline (Zoloft);

– birth control pills;

– clozapine (FazaClo);

– cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);

– digoxin (Lanoxin);

– mefloquine (Lariam);

– midazolam (Versed); or

– rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane).

Mechanism of Action

The exact mechanism of action of Provigil is unknown. It is thought to work by modulating the neurotransmitters (chemicals that nerves use to communicate with each other) in the brain.

Provigil is a schedule IV controlled substance because it has been shown to have the potential for abuse and dependence.

Provigil should be used only as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.


Modafinil is rapidly absorbed after oral administration. Bioavailability of modafinil tablets is about 80%.

Modafinil is metabolized by the liver via CYP3A4 isoenzyme and excreted in urine as modafinil acid. The elimination half-life of modafinil after multiple doses is about 15 hours.

Alternatives to Provigil

There are many alternative medications to Provigil. These include other wakefulness-promoting agents such as armodafinil (Nuvigil) and caffeine.

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.