Doctors prescribe modafinil, sold under the brand name Provigil, to improve wakefulness in adults who are experiencing excessive sleepiness as a result of obstructive sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorder, or narcolepsy.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Buy Generic Provigil for the treatment of narcolepsy in 1998, and the agency approved its use for shift work sleep disorder and obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea in 2003.

Researchers are not sure exactly how modafinil promotes wakefulness. One theory is that it may increase dopamine levels in the brain by inhibiting reuptake of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that moderates the way chemical signals move from one nerve cell to another.

Provigil is made by Cephalon, Inc. in two strengths, 100 mg, and 200 mg. Various manufacturers, including Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and Par Pharmaceutical Companies make the generic form. (Teva’s version of modafinil is actually brand-name Provigil that has been repackaged and sold as a generic.)

Cephalon Inc., which is now owned by Teva, won a court case that resulted in the dismissal of claims that it conspired with the makers of generics to delay cheaper versions of Provigil.

Modafinil enhances short-term memory allowing users to stay awake for long periods of time. It is sometimes used for performance enhancement by military pilots and soldiers during combat situations, and some now call it a “super drug”. Its off-label uses have contributed to an ongoing debate on how far to push the human body through the use of drugs.

What Are the Key Things I Need to Know About Modafinil (Provigil)?

Modafinil is a federally controlled substance and should be used only as directed. Store it in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. It is against the law to sell or give modafinil to another person.

The drug is not approved for use in children for any medical condition, and it’s unknown whether it’s safe or works in children under the age of 17.

For those who have obstructive sleep apnea, modafinil is used in conjunction with other medical treatments. It will not cure this or other sleep disorders, but it can help the sleepiness created by these conditions. It may not stop all your sleepiness, however, and it’s not a substitute for getting proper rest.

Modafinil can lead to serious side effects, including a serious rash or an allergic reaction affecting your liver or blood cells. These side effects may be life threatening and may require hospital treatment. You should stop taking the drug right away and call your doctor if you develop a skin rash, hives, sores in your mouth, blisters, peeling, or yellowing of your skin or eyes, trouble swallowing or breathing, dark urine or fever.

Don’t take modafinil if you are allergic to armodafinil (Nuvigil), lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, croscarmellose sodium, povidone and magnesium stearate.

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Is There Anything Special I Should Discuss with My Doctor Before Taking Modafinil (Provigil)?

It’s important for people to talk to their doctors about all their health conditions before starting this medication, such as whether they have a history of mental health problems, including psychosis. Make sure your doctor is aware of any heart problems or if you have had a heart attack, have high blood pressure, liver or kidney illness, a history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction, or if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. It is unknown whether the drug will pass into breast milk.

Be sure to tell the doctor about any and all medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. In addition, if you are using hormonal birth control, you could have a higher chance of getting pregnant while on this medication, and one month after stopping it.