Sleep Home > Provigil

Provigil is a medication that is used for treating excessive sleepiness. It is specifically used to help people with sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or shift work sleep disorder stay awake. Provigil, which is available by prescription, comes in tablet form and is generally taken once a day. Side effects that have been reported with the drug include nausea, anxiety, headache, and insomnia.

What Is Provigil?

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
  • Sleep apnea (known medically as obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome or OSAHS)
  • Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), a problem in people who work night shifts or who frequently change between day and night work shifts.
     
(Click Provigil Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes Provigil?

It is made by Cephalon, Inc.
 

How Does It Work?

At this time, it is not known exactly how Provigil works to promote wakefulness. It does not work like other stimulants. The medication is known to affect certain brain chemicals, but this does not seem to be the way that the drug works, since blocking Provigil's effect on such chemicals does not stop it from working.
 

When and How to Take Provigil

General considerations for when and how to take it include the following:
 
  • The medication comes in tablet form. It is usually taken by mouth once a day.
     
  • You can take it with or without food. If the medicine seems to bother your stomach, try taking it with food.
     
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
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