Sleep Home > Provigil Warnings and Precautions
Before starting Provigil, warnings and precautions for the drug should be discussed with your healthcare provider to ensure safe treatment. Provigil may not be safe for people with certain medical conditions (like heart problems or high blood pressure), so tell your healthcare provider about all existing conditions before taking Provigil. Warnings and precautions also extend to people who are allergic to any components of the medication.
- Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any heart condition or problem
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Provigil include the following:
- In rare cases, Provigil can cause a life-threatening side effect known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Because this problem starts out with a rash, contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any unexplained rash while taking the drug. Because it is impossible to know if the rash will develop into Stevens-Johnson syndrome, your healthcare provider may recommend that you stop taking Provigil.
- The medication can cause severe allergic reactions. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, itching, wheezing or difficulty breathing, or swelling of the lips, mouth, or throat.
- Even though Provigil helps people stay awake, it usually is not completely effective at eliminating sleepiness. This can cause problems while driving or operating heavy machinery.
- Provigil is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused. If you feel the need to take more of the drug than prescribed or for a non-medical reason, please discuss this with your healthcare provider honestly and openly. These may be signs that you might have a problem with Provigil abuse or dependence.
- Some people have experienced psychiatric symptoms (such as anxiety, depression, hallucinations, or suicidal thoughts) while taking Provigil. Be sure to watch for these side effects. It may be wise to ask someone you trust to watch you carefully for such symptoms, as you may not notice them yourself.
- You should have an accurate and definite diagnosis of narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, or shift worker sleep disorder before taking Provigil. Many other conditions and sleep disorders can cause excessive sleepiness, so tests may be necessary in order to accurately diagnose your condition.
- When given to people with obstructive sleep apnea, Provigil should not be used without appropriate sleep apnea treatment (such as continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP). Provigil only improves daytime sleepiness; it has no effect on the actual sleep apnea.
- The medication may not be safe for people with heart problems or high blood pressure. If you have such problems, check with your healthcare provider before taking Provigil.
- Provigil can interact with a number of different medications (see Provigil Drug Interactions). It is important to note that the medication can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills, patches, and rings, possibly increasing the risk of pregnancy.
- If you have kidney or liver problems, your body may not handle Provigil as well as it should. You may need a lower dosage and, in some cases, the drug may not be recommended.
- It is not known if it is safe to drink alcohol while taking Provigil. Until more information is available, you should avoid alcohol (or at least limit your alcohol intake) while taking the drug.
- Provigil is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Provigil and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if Provigil passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Provigil and Breastfeeding). It is important to understand that the HIV virus can be transmitted through breast milk and that breastfeeding is usually not recommended in women with HIV or AIDS.