Sleep Home > Provigil Abuse

With controlled substances like Provigil, abuse and addiction are potential dangers. Provigil is a CNS stimulant that can produce feelings of euphoria, which may cause people to abuse it for the "high" it provides. Since Provigil abuse or addiction can be quite serious, you should seek medical attention if you feel that you are using the drug more often than needed or for illegitimate purposes.

Provigil Drug Abuse: An Overview

Provigil® (modafinil) is a prescription medicine used to help people stay awake. Specifically, it is approved to treat people with excessive sleepiness due to the following:
  • Narcolepsy
  • Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), a problem in people who work night shifts or who frequently change between day and night work shifts
  • Sleep apnea.
Provigil is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused.

Research on Provigil Abuse

Animal studies suggest that Provigil may be abused. In studies, monkeys that were previously accustomed to giving themselves cocaine also gave themselves Provigil when given the opportunity. This is a good indication that Provigil is "reinforcing," meaning that it provides feelings or effects that encourage its repeated use.
Before a medication is approved, special studies are done to see if there is any indication that the medication has the potential to be abused. Since animal studies suggested that Provigil has abuse potential, the drug was also studied in human subjects with a history of drug abuse. This study showed that Provigil produced effects (such as euphoria) similar to methylphenidate (more commonly known as Ritalin®), a commonly abused stimulant.
Often, drugs that can be abused also cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped. However, no Provigil withdrawal symptoms were noted during studies. It is important to note that these studies involved people who were appropriately taking Provigil for a legitimate medical reason. It is possible that withdrawal may occur in people taking the medicine inappropriately.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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