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Provigil

Provigil is the branded version of the drug Modafinil which is used to treat Narcolepsy in adults. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that affects the neurological system, making the brain unable to regulate sleeping and waking patterns. This often results in excessive sleepiness, sleep attacks (falling asleep without warning and at inappropriate times), and sudden bouts of muscle weakness called Cataplexy. Provigil is often prescribed to people who suffer from these symptoms as it helps to reduce their sleep attacks and fatigue.


PIL last review date: 25/11/2019

See Provigil Patient Information Leaflet


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Provigil

Provigil is the branded version of the drug Modafinil which is used to treat Narcolepsy in adults. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that affects the neurological system, making the brain unable to regulate sleeping and waking patterns. This often results in excessive sleepiness, sleep attacks (falling asleep without warning and at inappropriate times), and sudden bouts of muscle weakness called Cataplexy. Provigil is often prescribed to people who suffer from these symptoms as it helps to reduce their sleep attacks and fatigue.


PIL last review date: 25/11/2019

See Provigil Patient Information Leaflet


Details

How does Provigil work?

The way in which Provigil works in the body isn’t yet fully understood. However what we do know is that Narcolepsy patients often report feeling less tired and suffering from fewer sleep attacks when taking the drug. Provigil is a type of psychoanaleptic, so it’s understood that the drug works by stimulating a part of the central nervous system, although the exact mechanism has not yet been uncovered. There are several theories surrounding how Provigil works, one being that it stimulates certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are associated with sleep and wake cycles, whilst other theories introduce the idea that the drug encourages the release of dopamine.

Can Provigil cure Narcolepsy?

Unfortunately, Provigil cannot cure Narcolepsy. As it stands at the moment, there’s no known cure for the condition, only medications that can help patients to manage their situation and reduce their symptoms. However, medicines that are currently available for the treatment of Narcolepsy such as Provigil are often reported to significantly improve quality of life for those who take them.

Who can take Provigil?

Provigil is intended for use by adults aged 18 and above who suffer from the sleep disorder Narcolepsy.

You should NOT take Provigil if you:

  • Are allergic to any of the ingredients in this medicine
  • Have an irregular heartbeat
  • Have uncontrolled, moderate to severe high blood pressure

Speak to your doctor before taking Provigil if you:

  • Have heart problems or high blood pressure
  • Have ever had depression, anxiety, low mood, psychosis, mania or bipolar disorder
  • Have kidney or liver problems
  • Have had a drug or alcohol problem in the past

There are also a number of medications that can interact with Provigil, so it’s important to tell your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medication if you are, or have recently taken any of these so that they can advise you. A list of these medications can be found in the Provigil patient information leaflet.

How do you take Provigil?

Always take Provigil exactly as you have been instructed by your doctor. If you are unsure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Provigil tablets should be swallowed whole with water. The dosage instructions are:

Adults

The recommended starting daily dose is 200 mg. The total daily dose may be taken as a single dose in the morning or as two doses, 100mg in the morning and 100mg at midday.

Elderly patients (over 65)

The recommended dose is 100 mg a day. If you have no kidney or liver problems, your doctor may increase your dose.

Adults with severe kidney and liver problems

The recommended dose is 100 mg a day. Your doctor will review your treatment regularly to ensure that it is right for you.

Is Provigil available in the UK?

Yes, Provigil can be obtained in the UK with a valid prescription. These are available both on the NHS and through private services.

Provigil Side Effects

As with any medicine, Provigil has been known to cause a number of side effects in some people. You should stop taking this medication and seek medical assistance immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Sudden difficulty breathing, wheeziness, or your face, mouth or nose begins to swell
  • You notice a skin rash or itching (especially if it affects your whole body)
  • You feel any changes in your mental health and wellbeing

Common side effects that have been associated with Provigil include:

Headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, extreme tiredness or difficulty sleeping, awareness of your heartbeat (which may be faster than normal), chest pain, flushing, dry mouth, loss of appetite, feeling sick, stomach pain, indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation, weakness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, blurred vision, abnormal blood test results showing how your liver is working and irritability.

The Provigil patient information leaflet also contains a list of less common side effects that can be caused by this medication. If you experience any side effects when taking this drug, discuss these with your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.

Dosage instructions
The recommended starting daily dose is 200 mg. The total daily dose may be taken as a single dose in the morning or as two doses, one in the morning and one at noon.