Is Prescription Pep Pill Nuvigil Worth The Side Effects?

If you listen to the radio enough, you’ve probably heard the ads for Nuvigil (aka armodafinil), a prescription stimulant being heavily marketed toward shift workers as a way to stay alert and awake on the job. But our curious siblings at Consumer Reports Health wanted to know if it really is the cure for “Shift Work Disorder.”

CR Health first considers the possible side-effects of the drug. On the Nuvigil site, there is a warning that users could have a life-threatening allergic reaction. And then after listing the standard “headache, nausea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping,” the site also mentions “chest pain, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, mania, thoughts of suicide, aggression, or other mental problems.”

Then there’s the cost. A bottle of Nuvigil will run you up to $300 for a one month supply. The patent for Nuvigil’s predecessor Provigil will soon run out, meaning other companies will be able to sell less pricey versions of that drug. CR Health hypothesizes that this could be one of the reasons behind the advertising push.

While Nuvigil and Provigil have been prescribed for off-label uses like depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or jet-lag, CR Health says in this new AdWatch video that there is some scientific evidence saying that neither drug offers any more benefit to shift workers than a strong cup of coffee.

Can Nuvigil help you get through the night shift? [Consumer Reports Health]


Edit Your Comment

  1. tsdguy says:

    I had Provil prescribed for me to combat sleep apnea related tiredness. For me it provided zero benefit – I was no more alert with our without the drug. However, what it did decrease was my need for sleep. With a low dose, I could stay awake for 24 hours straight. I tried a moderate dose and I didn’t sleep for 2 days. I’m not a student so I can’t say that I could study longer – obviously just being awake doesn’t mean one is able to perform mental tasks better or longer.

    It was an interesting effect but didn’t help any with my alertness or concentration. This only improved when I started taking Adderall – couldn’t stay away any longer but my concentration and mental efficiency was significantly higher while the drug was active. Way too addictive to take regularly so I only use it when absolutely necessary.

    • aloria says:

      Yep. Adderall and Provigil work in very different ways. Provigil, as I understand it, tricks your body into wanting less sleep. Adderall stimulates brain activity to make you more alert.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      So you have sleep apnea and they prescribed a medication? What kind do you have that they didn’t instead prescribe a C/BIPAP?

      CPAP quite literally changed my life. For the better. :P

      • FatLynn says:

        If you have central or complex apnea, they often treat it with a stimulant in addition to CPAP/VPAP/BIPAP.

        Alternatively, a stimulant may be used while the VPAP is being fine-tuned. Some people need the quick fix to function because it can takes weeks of sleep tests to get it right.

        • commenterofsize says:

          Provigil is not a stimulant.

          • Kerrchung says:

            Looks like a stimulant to me… you know something we don’t?

            “In addition to its wake-promoting effects and ability to increase locomotor activity in animals, modafinil produces psychoactive and euphoric effects, alterations in mood, perception, thinking, and feelings typical of other CNS stimulants in humans.” -RXlist

      • Thespian says:

        How long does it take to get used to sleeping with that thing? I’m getting one soon, and kind of concerned about it.

  2. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    A friend took this and compared it to crack. Not that she’d had any experience with crack, but that basically it kept her UP. And so she kept going. Stuff’s crazy.

  3. aloria says:

    As someone who can actually get SLEEPIER off a cup of coffee and adderall (psychostimulants,) let me just chime in that Pro/Nuvigil (analeptics) is NOT the next level up for “oh, this espresso isn’t doing it for me.”

    • magnetic says:

      If you’re getting a sedative effect from stimulants, you’re an exception and can’t really speak to the effectiveness of stimulants in general.

    • webweazel says:

      “As someone who can actually get SLEEPIER off a cup of coffee”
      Weird. I thought I was the only freak of nature in this regard. Now, if I consume LARGE amounts of caffeine, like with a pill, I get zingy, but sips of soda or coffee do make me drowsy.

      (OOPS. Stuck this comment in the wrong spot earlier. My bad.)

  4. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    For the life of me I can’t find a link, but I recently read an article about how companies first come up with a disorder, then market a pill to help people cope with the “disorder” they’ve made up. This sounds like that.

    • bee8boo8bop8 says:

      I’ve read that too. Basically, Provigil was developed for narcolepsy and given an extended period of patent protection, which the FDA does to encourage companies to develop drugs for very rare disorders. It was after that they the company started quietly informing doctors of potential off label uses of the drug, and it’s use has continued to grow.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      You’re pretty close. So let’s say you’ve been taking a pill like Provigil/modafinil for awhile, paying the inflated copays. Then it goes generic, so now you can get it for a lot less. Good times! But not so much for the drug manufacturers. So they do two things: 1. invent new, similar drugs (armodafinil), usually based on the chemistry of the patent-expired drug; 2. come up with new indications for the drug, so they have a new market, one that doesn’t realize that the old drug works just as well for one-tenth the price.

      My experiences with Provigil (prescribed for sleep apnea drowsiness) are that it makes you need less sleep. It only makes you more alert to a point, and that point sometimes isn’t as alert as you’d like to be. A small (half) dose can help you function when exhausted, and larger doses can leave you jittery and anxious feeling. All in all, it’s not a life-changer, but can be helpful in certain situations. It’s not as much fun as amphetamines, and just a bit better than caffeine at keeping you awake. It’s available in Mexico, as is everything else, but it’s considered a controlled substance, even though it’s not speed and it has been shown in studies to have a low potential for abuse and addiction.

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        Yep, he’s exactly right. Wellbutrin and Prozac were repackaged for PMS symptoms; nothing else was changed. Just an example…

    • John Agar says:

      You can thank Listerine for that. They invented Halitosis.

  5. BuddhaLite says:

    I took Provigil for a few months and it was awesome. I had never been that productive before or after.

  6. ArcanaJ says:

    Ok, so the side effects could leave you an aggressive, nauseated, manic-depressive who takes damage from being alive, but hey! You’ll be awake at work!

  7. Bohemian says:

    The cure for shift worker disorder is sleep and a regular schedule. Duh. Please send me $300 a month each plz. I have come to the conclusion that some of the utterly bizarre behavior I see out of people in public is due to various prescription drugs they are on. I have to believe that people are not normally that spacey, stupid or erratic on their own.

    • Sky75 says:

      Have you ever worked nights? It’s not that easy. People are awake and loud during the day. My apartment complex used to do landscaping work (mowing, leaf blowing, etc.) once a day from 8am-noon and it was so loud. Ear plugs, blacked out windows, and other measures only take you so far – sometimes you just can’t sleep during the day.

      • aloria says:

        This. Plus, when the rest of the world does its business between 9-5, sometimes you have to skip out on some sleep to get things done like see a doctor, visit the post office, go shopping, etc.

        • Clumber says:

          absolfuckinglutely. I worked the grave shift several years ago (10ish maybe) for a few years and it is NOT just moving your sleep around. Not only is daytime much noisier & brighter overall, but people- including friends and family (perhaps especially friends and family) think they can ask you for favors since you’re home during the day, drop by, call, and so on.

          Previous to the grave shift I was one of those annoying people who could easily fall asleep anytime I needed to. I don’t know how much was due to the odd shift and how much to turning 30 (since they were concurrent) but after that shift I have had insomnia problems on and off. Would I have taken a pill for it? No, probably not. Upon hearing it was being called a medical problem I probably would have rebelled and done more to fix my behavior or even quit that shift. I am not anti-med, but when there are other non-prescription adjustments that are known effective, I do balk at medicating.

          I feel for the grave shifters, bigtime. Take care of yourselves.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      I’m sure all of someone’s multiple employers would be happy to accommodate that need, even going so far as to coordinate their scheduling.

    • magnetic says:

      People taking rx drugs aren’t really “normal.” They’re either sick or under the care of incompetent doctors.

    • ludwigk says:

      That’s not an option for 3rd shift workers. Please try again. Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t do anything to improve these individuals’ lives even though we can? Don’t be a jerk.

      • OnePumpChump says:

        People who didn’t have my opportunities, didn’t avoid the calamities I have avoided, and don’t live the kind of life that I live are not my concern. Let them eat shit.

  8. JulesNoctambule says:

    Didn’t that used to be called speed?

    • aloria says:

      Adderall is essentially speed. It’s pure amphetamine.

      • arallyn says:

        Adderall is easy to abuse (a lot easier when someone has the instant release medication), and it has some of the salts of what makes Speed, but it’s half racemic amphetamines, which has a much more toned-down effect than Speed itself.

        Fun fact: You can get methamphetamine prescribed to you as medication in the US. It’s called Desoxyn. So forget Nuvigil and its evergreen patent profit push, just take meth!

  9. willowannelyra says:

    I have narcolepsy. I tried “a cup of coffee”. I fell asleep at my desk. I tried “several cups of coffee”. I still fell asleep at my desk. I was finally diagnosed and prescribed nuvigil. I no longer fall asleep at my desk. When provigil goes generic I will likely ask about switching. Right now provigil is on my new insurance’s “formulary” list and nuvigil is not, but the price difference is not great enough to warrant another trip in to the doctor. If I did not have insurance, I would have to stick with the coffee and falling asleep solution,as it is expensive.

  10. FatLynn says:

    My bf took it for narcolepsy, and the side effects were so bad, he stopped after about two days.

    That said, it affects different people differently, and for some narcoleptics, it’s a godsend. I’m just not sure that “shift differential fatigue” warrants the same level of treatment.

  11. Sky75 says:

    I used to work nights and tried Provigil, and it was AWESOME. I was awake, alert, happy, and productive – stayed up all night, went to the gym, got more accomplished at work than I ever have before. I kind of wish I still worked nights so I could keep taking it, but I hear the happiness side effect fades after a while.

    I have a friend who still takes it to treat narcolepsy – he literally cannot function without it.

  12. Verdi says:

    I was prescribed Nuvigil for narcolepsy, and I’ve been really happy with it. I don’t feel tired and I am not compelled to nap. Getting adjusted to it was a struggle- at first it was very intense, and I think that’s what people experience when they take it recreationally. Now I just don’t feel tired or drowsy, which is a huge improvement. From my point of view it is completely different from caffeine, which made me feel on edge and only half-awake, even in large doses. It does not feel similar to ritalin, either, in that it doesn’t accelerate your mind.

    It is ridiculously expensive, and obviously YMMV. I’m not sure about work shift disorder, but for narcolepsy it seems to work as advertised.

  13. Nick says:

    I’ve taken provigil, and I know a few people who regularly take nuvigil (as a daily prescription). They’re both good at keeping people awake. I’ve also tried other stimulants (adderall) but they made me jumpy. The effect of these drugs is to make you feel “awake” and is limited to the part of the brain that controls sleep. Caffeine and other stimulants work on your entire nervous system and give you the shaky, jittery side effects.

  14. crazydavythe1st says:

    I take Provigil. I always laugh at all the crazy media stories about how it will become “the next superdrug among students” or the like.

    I think people misunderstand it. If you try to use it to stay up, you’ll actually be fairly mentally alert but you’re still going to feel physically exhausted. It’s a really strange effect if you’re not used to it. Where Provigil shines is what happens when you take it and you get a good night sleep. It basically removes the whole “I don’t really feel like doing anything today” feeling. Science saying it is no better than coffee is meaningless, because it really isn’t about boosting energy – it’s about making the sleep process more efficent so you feel great after four or five hours. I tried Nuvigil, but it didn’t seem to work as well despite what the science behind it would suggest.

    Side effects are a pain though. I get the headaches and I also get the I-forgot-what-the-fancy-scientific-term-is “skin feels like bugs are crawling on it” feeling on occasion.

  15. volock says:

    I take it for my narcolepsy. Side effect wise it’s very similar to Provigil (which I plan to switch back to when the patent expires, but for now with the discount card I got from the manufacturer it’s cheaper).

    Also I’d like to clarify that Nuvigil / Provigil isn’t like speed at all. Instead of actually dumping some for of stimulant into your blood stream, it simply blocks the re-uptake mechanism of the things in your blood that naturally control your sleepiness, along with the the re-uptake of other stimulants. SO it doesn’t give you a wired, extra-alert or any feeling like that, but instead simply makes it harder to sleep, though if combined with other stimulants amplifies their effect.

    Also for those of us with narcolepsy pills like this are a god-send. I can’t function without these or some kind of stimulant (I’d literally fall asleep during almost any activity, even with 18-20 hours of sleep a day). There is an advantage to these over adderall or other stimulants like that, in that you don’t have as much of a crash when it wears off, nor some of the side effects from them.

  16. kamiikoneko says:

    I have the best cure for people who can’t make it through their shift normally or experience fatigue:

    Buck up.


    • Kate of Lokys says:

      At a low point in my life, the only job I could get was working the midnight shift at the local Tim Hortons (a prominent Canadian chain of coffee/donut shops). The manager swore up and down that I would only have to work nights for a month, *maybe* two months at most, then she would switch me to day shift, so between that promise and my rather urgent desire to come up with rent money, I agreed.

      The first couple of months weren’t so bad. I was a 19 year old kid used to staying up until 3am playing computer games, so working an 11pm-7am shift five days a week wasn’t that different, at first. By the third month, though, I was worn out. I devoted eight hours during the day to sleeping, or at least trying to, but it was extremely difficult to get proper *rest* during that time. It was noisy – traffic right outside my window, kids playing next door, lawnmowers and motorcycles and the guy across the street repairing a car in his driveway. Worse, it was *hot* – I used to have to pull on a cotton t-shirt, jump in a cold shower, then lie on a towel on my bed, because the moisture evaporating from my skin was the only thing that kept me cool enough to fall asleep. (Of course, an hour later, I’d just wake up again).

      In the fourth month, I started drinking coffee during my shift to stay awake. I didn’t like coffee, in fact I hated the stuff, but since I had never made a habit of drinking it, even a medium cup gave me enough of a jolt to keep going. A couple of weeks later, I needed a large. When even that stopped doing the trick, I invented the Night Shift Special: an extra-large cup of coffee with two Earl Grey tea bags steeped in it, with two shots of sugar and a generous dollop of chocolate milk. It was unspeakably foul, but if I drank one at about midnight and another at 4am, I had enough energy to keep going until the end of my shift. Usually.

      By the fifth month, I was *begging* my manager to transfer me to day shift. I was perpetually tired, I seldom slept for more than 3-4 hours in any given day, and the shift itself was mind-numbingly boring: I was the only person in the store, so I had nobody to talk to aside from any drunk customers who might wander in at 3am. I wasn’t allowed to bring in a book or anything else to do, because by god, they were paying me to work, not to loaf around… but all the work I could usefully do could be done within an hour, aside from a couple of specific things that I wasn’t allowed to do until a certain hour anyway (like throwing away the old donuts). I couldn’t even put on music, because the store had a commercial satellite radio subscription that piped through speakers, and oh boy let me tell you how fun it was to listen to the ~100 songs on the Christmas playlist over and over every night from October until December!

      Want to know how I got off the midnight shift, eventually, after nine soul-crushing months of perpetual fatigue and irritability? I fell asleep during my shift. I had been leaning against the front counter, dumbly watching the second hand sweep slowly around the clock on the wall; the next thing I saw was a customer leaning over me, shaking me by the shoulder, saying “Hey, ma’am, are you alright?” The event was recorded on the store’s security camera, so the following day I was called in to the manager’s office to get a lecture from her and the store’s owner. The manager wanted to fire me, until I asked her to show the owner my employment file with my monthly written requests to be transferred off the midnight shift onto a day or evening shift because I *could not sleep during the day*. Once the owner saw those, I got my transfer, and I’ve never worked nights again.

      Some people can handle working nights. Some people flat-out can’t. Some people can manage it for a few months before their bodies just crash. By the end of my nine months working midnights, I was drinking half a dozen extra-large coffees every night, popping Foosh energy mints like they were candy, and trying to sleep with earplugs on in a blacked-out room with two pillows and a thick wool blanket plugging the window, and I *still* just could not physically handle it.

      And your helpful suggestion to address an issue like that is “buck up?”

      Fuck off.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Your comment is stupid and useless.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Plus – where the hell are all these insane commenters coming from lately.

      Seems like every week a few “must always blame the OP” commenters disappear, only to be replaced by even more of the same type.

  17. TBGBoodler says:

    My favorite commercial is the one for the stop-smoking drug Chantix, which “works by blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain.” (You’re supposed to start taking it before you actually quit smoking, I guess to lessen the pleasantness of smoking to a degree.)

    The commercial then goes on to describe an incredibly long list of possible side effects, all of which are withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking… irritability, crankiness, weight gain, etc.”

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Yup. My favorite “side effect” is in the Viagra/Cialis ads where they mention “delayed back pain.” I don’t think that’s the drug that’s causing that…

  18. energynotsaved says:

    You would be surprised by how many of your medical doctors, nurses and support staff are taking this stuff every day. In my previous life, we had the sample drawer that was visited by a couple of docs daily. Speed freaks. Not a comforting fact!

  19. physics2010 says:

    1) There are only a small chance of the major side effects
    2) Completely different from caffeine
    3) If a small dose keeps you awake for 24 hours straight you didn’t need it in the first place. If you don’t need a good 2 hour nap in the middle of the day without it, you don’t need it.
    4) Yes it has potential for abuse. You can go with very little sleep for about three days before you run yourself into the ground.

  20. sn1per420 says:

    I prefer teamosil to keep me happy at work.

  21. jasw says:

    My girlfriend has a script for Pro/Nuvigil for her narcolepsy. It didn’t do much for her besides giving her constant, terrible headaches. I may of popped one of two once during a finals week and it kept me alert but my body felt exhausted.

  22. EllenRose says:

    I’ve used both Provigil and Nuvigil. The Provigil worked fine for months and months. I slept; I woke; I was awake when I was awake. These days, neither of them do much for me, and do terrible things to my wallet. But they do let me be more reliably awake when I need it.

  23. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    “Shift Work Disorder”. Please tell me you’re just kidding me. Medical syndrome discovery by the Marketing department. Seriously?!

  24. commenterofsize says:

    I’m so happy with Provigil, it’s unlikely I’d want to switch to something else.

    It’s not a pep pill – it’s an “ability to function” pill.

    I have not-quite-severe sleep apnea. In addition to my CPAP machine, I take Provigil. It doesn’t make me need less sleep. In fact, I’ve inadvertently taken Provigil at bedtime, but because I was physically tired, I slept quite well.

    If I forget to take it in the morning, I know within about two hours. I get cobwebby and lethargic.

    Consumerist, you’re doing a disservice by calling such medications a “prescription pep pill,” which kind of suggests it’s just some different kind of stimulant.

  25. zjgz says:

    I’ve been taking nuvigil and provigil since I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. The first time I took it I felt very awake and motivated. It didn’t feel anything like caffeine though, it felt like I was naturally awake. But after a while, it didn’t really make me feel awake, just prevented me from sleeping during the day. I don’t really take much of it now since it doesn’t do much if I take it for a week, but it was much better than the alternative which are stimulants like adderall.

  26. Mamudoon says:

    Does anyone know if Provigil would be good for medication-induced fatigue? I have to take some meds every day that can be very sedating (I need them to live, so not taking them isn’t really an option), and I’ve often wondered if Provigil would be useful. Not that I’d be especially excited about adding another medication to my daily pillbox, but feeling sleepy all the time kinda sucks. Caffeine makes me nauseous and never helped wake me up, and I don’t want to be like a jumpy speed freak, either.

    I know, I know, “see a doctor,” but I’m curious about first-hand experiences.

    • golddog says:

      Short answer, yes. Depends though on what you’re already taking and for what, and if Provigil is contraindicated. Assuming it’s not and you don’t get headaches as a side effect, you need a doc willing to phrase the ICD-9 diagnosis right so your insurance will pay for it. It *will* combat the sedative “I should just go lay on the couch” effects some meds can have and make it so you actually have some motivation (quite alot actually) and can concentrate on tasks for long periods of time. YMMV, and I’m not in any way qualified to have just written this post.

  27. magnetic says:

    I’ve always figured that the really horrible side-effects of sleep-related drugs occur when they don’t work, and if you’re not sleeping enough, you want to kill yourself. If even nuvigil can’t help me, I may as well end it now.

  28. CookiePuss says:

    They used to have this awesome non-prescription herb called ephedra that provided a nice “kick” which would in turn have you lose a few lbs. $10 for a bottle of 100 pills. Then the FDA banned it.

    Buy hey, no worries. You can get this alternative stimulant for $300/month and even get to hallucinate! Thanks FDA.

  29. originalread says:

    I have taken Provigil for years now for narcolepsy. Yes, it is not a pep pill. Without it, I can not function at all. With it, I am still physically fatigued but mentally, I am very sharp. The amount of work and the technical detail I can produce sometimes amazes me.

    Nuvigil was a crock. My “new” doctor said I had to use it as Provigil was being discontinued. That doctor is now my “old” doctor. I called BS and got my primary care to refil my Provigil. Nuvigil gave me the worst headaches and made me nervious.

    • CyGuy says:

      If your old doctor literally told you provigil was being discontinued you should report him to the state medical board. He is clearly putting the perks he is getting from BigPharma ahead of the health of his patients and should be disciplined or kicked out of the profession entirely.

  30. golddog says:

    Efficacy aside, this family of drugs is an amazing story of wringing every last drop of profit out of patent law. Before there was Provigil, there was Amateurvigil (I forget the real name). Wait for patent protection to expire, announce Provigil and get generic protection extension. Provigil’s patent is about to expire? Flip *one* molecule around, call it Nuvigil and protect Provigil a little longer from generic infringement.

    Somebody out there must think it’s worth the side effects b/c if it’s not covered by insurance the cheapest you can find it (pre Nuvigil) is ~$200-250 for 3000mg.

    • wagnerism says:

      Yes, Nuvigil is just enough of a change to get a new patent. Cephalon sued the generics manufacturers when the Provigil patent was about to expire, but somehow ended up paying the generics manufacturers to NOT produce Provigil. Meanwhile, it is costing me over $3 per pill to pay for that agreement as Cephalon jacked up the price. The presription assistance program is shut down and Cephalon is trying to push its users to Nuvigil before their agreement with the generics manufacturers expires.

      There’s a class action lawsuit pending. It is going nowhere and relief will only come when generics are manufactured. The lawyers will get millions, the insurance companies will (rightfully) get some reimbursement and I’ll get a coupon for $5 off a $100 order on the Cephalon bling/schwag logo merchandise website.

    • wagnerism says:

      Yes, Nuvigil is just enough of a change to get a new patent. Cephalon sued the generics manufacturers when the Provigil patent was about to expire, but somehow ended up paying the generics manufacturers to NOT produce Provigil. Meanwhile, it is costing me over $3 per pill to pay for that agreement as Cephalon jacked up the price. The presription assistance program is shut down and Cephalon is trying to push its users to Nuvigil before their agreement with the generics manufacturers expires.

      There’s a class action lawsuit pending. It is going nowhere and relief will only come when generics are manufactured. The lawyers will get millions, the insurance companies will (rightfully) get some reimbursement and I’ll get a coupon for $5 off a $100 order on the Cephalon bling/schwag logo merchandise website.

  31. tookiebird says:

    it’s fine. no problems here. best treatment yet for my ADD and clinical depression. before provigil (its predecessor), it was hard for me to even hold a job and now I’m doing great. just saying.

  32. maynurd says:

    I always get a kick out of seeing advertisements for perscription drugs on TV. It’s like we are just supposed to walk into the doctor’s office and as for this or that drug cause we saw it on TV. The list of side effects sounds worse than what the drug is supposed to treat. The disclaimers for the drugs take up half of the ad time and are spoken so fast that they are hard to understand fully. Any printed information that is displayed is shown so small and so briefly that you can’t read it.

  33. Plasmafox says:

    The cure for “shift work disorder” is better pay, shorter shifts(which means more workers which means more jobs), and a society that doesn’t revolve around grinding. Work treadmill, debt treadmill, parenting treadmill, everything set up to produce the least effective outcomes for the person stuck in them via the greatest possible effort on their part, to the great profit of a select few.

    And if you can’t perform these roles, you just need a pill to make you, and if you don’t want to because it’s horrible, you’re crazy and there’s a pill for that too.

    • Plasmafox says:

      Oh, and the pills sometimes make you kill yourself.

      But that’s OK. There’s always more cattle to take your place.

  34. webweazel says:

    “As someone who can actually get SLEEPIER off a cup of coffee”
    Weird. I thought I was the only freak of nature in this regard. Now, if I consume LARGE amounts of caffeine, like with a pill, I get zingy, but sips of soda or coffee do make me drowsy.

  35. TheSurlyOne says:

    I started taking Provigil about three years ago to help deal with daytime sleepiness and the other effects of sleep apnea. In May 2009, my doctor said that he was switching all of his patients to a new drug (from the same maker) called Nuvigil. The drug company, Cephalon, was providing a card to get a $50 discount off of the copayment for 12 months. They have extended it indefinitely and I am still getting the $50 off after 17 months. I pay $28 per month for my 250mg daily dose. It really seems to help without making me feel wound up or jittery, just alert and not foggy.

  36. shorashen says:

    I’ve taken both. The difference? Nuvigil makes you feel like you’re going to have a heart attack. Provigil doesn’t. I’d take Provigil over Nuvigil, anyday. Especially if it’s generic!

  37. J-Mac says:

    I was prescribed Provigil a few years ago for sleep apnea related hypersomnia and it was a miracle drug for me. I’ve taken it ever since. I don’t know about the off-label benefits though I suspect that it is overkill and mainly just an added revenue maker for Cephalon. However lately they have more than tripled the price of Provigil in an attempt to force patients to change to Nuvigil. But Nuvigil does indeed have side-effects that are troublesome.

    What is really nasty is that Provigil came off patent about three years ago. Since then three generic manufacturers have made a generic version of it. Cephalon bought one of those companies and paid off the other two to keep the generics off the market.

    Isn’t capitalism wonderful?


  38. MWDR says:

    I started Provigil around 2003 for Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatique Syndrome. I tried everything (over the counter) that said would give you energy. Nothing worked. I fought this relentless fatique for 7 yrs before I went on the provigil. Watching a t.v. show, I heard a lady say her dr was giving her a med for narcolepsy for her fatique. I spoke to dr next day and I can’t tell you how much better my quality of life has been since. The unfortunate thing is Provigil is very expensive ( between $550.00 & $600.00 monthly). If you have no insurance, you best be rich.
    Bottom line, anyone who is suffering from Chronic Fatique Syndrome, talk to your Dr. I don’t like hearing about all these negative side effects as I have not experienced ANY. Good Luck

  39. musicmaker says:

    First of all, Nuvigil is nothing like a cup of coffee. I was suffering from severe fatigue, spending most of my days yawning due to a diagnosed neurological problem that gives me relapses that include extreme fatigue. I could drink 3 cups of coffee and still be exhuasted. Nuvigil is not caffeine. By taking Nuvigil, I am alert and able to do my job, exercise, and even watch my diet as it curbs your appetite. The downside is that I get mild headaches later in the afternoon. But, for me it has been a life safer. Somebody compared it to crack. That’s ridiculous. There is nothing addictive about it and truly helps those of us who suffer from severe fatigue due to medical conditions.