Sleep Home > Nuvigil

Nuvigil is a medication that is often prescribed to help people with certain sleep disorders stay awake. Specifically, it is used to treat excessive sleepiness due to sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and shift work sleep disorder. Nuvigil comes in tablet form and is generally taken by mouth once daily. Potential side effects of the drug include dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, and insomnia.

What Is Nuvigil?

Nuvigil™ (armodafinil) is a prescription medication used to help people stay awake and alert. More specifically, the drug is approved to treat people with excessive sleepiness due to the following sleep disorders:
  • Sleep apnea (known medically as obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome or OSAHS)
  • Narcolepsy
  • Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), a problem in people who work night shifts or who frequently change between day and night work shifts.
(Click Nuvigil Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Nuvigil?

It is manufactured by Cephalon, Inc.

How Does It Work?

At this time, it is not known exactly how Nuvigil works to promote wakefulness. It does not work like other stimulants. Nuvigil does affect certain brain chemicals, but this does not seem to be the way the drug works, since blocking Nuvigil's effect on such chemicals does not stop it from working.
Nuvigil is chemically similar to Provigil® (modafinil), another drug approved for the same uses. Provigil contains two different forms of the modafinil molecule, while Nuvigil contains just one (the longer-acting form).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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