Nuvigil – Armodafinil

Nuvigil (generic name Armodafinil) is a drug that comes in a tablet form and is taken orally. It is a non-amphetamine drug prescribed to improve wakefulness in adults who encounter excessive sleepiness due to narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, jet lag or obstructive sleep apnea.

The manufacturer of Nuvigil is exploring clinical studies to evaluate the use of Nuvigil for ADHD, brain injuries that cause excessive sleepiness, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia symptoms.

Nuvigil belongs to a class of medications known as wakefulness-promoting agents. It works by changing specific natural substances in the area of the brain that controls sleep and alertness.

There is a risk of abuse with the Nuvigil drug. Nuvigil abuse ranges from snorting the medication to get a euphoric high, to the use of Nuvigil to aid studying, work or weight loss. With an abuse of Nuvigil there is an increased risk of dependency and withdraw symptoms.

Taking Nuvigil

It is important that once you begin taking Nuvigil drug that you continue to take it at the same time each day. If you have shifts at different times of the day, discuss this with your physician before making any changes yourself. If you happen to miss a dose, do not take it later. Just skip the missed dose, and go on with your regular schedule.

Most of the time, people using Nuvigil take it twice daily. Narcoleptics typically take it in the morning, while those with shift work sleep disorder are told to take it about an hour before their shifts begin.

Nuvigil vs. Provigil

Nuvigil is manufactured by the drug company Cephalon, who is also the manufacturer of Provigil, another wakefulness drug. The patent on Provigil is expected to run out in 2012, after which time less expensive generic versions will become available. There will be no generic forms of Nuvigil available until the patent expires in 2023.
Cephalon has marketed Nuvigil as a longer acting version of Provigil and encouraged people who take Provigil to switch to Nuvigil as they have stated that Nuvigil is longer acting than Provigil. This claim has not been proven through any clinical studies.

Nuvigil Warnings and Precautions

Because Nuvigil can be a habit-forming drug, it is important that you take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not increase your dosage, or change the time of day that you take it, and do not take it more often than prescribed. Nuvigil is not prescribed for children for any condition. Nuvigil is used to treat excessive sleepiness and promote alertness while you are awake but is not a substitute for getting normal restorative sleep.

Nuvigil Side Effects

Some of the side effects of Nuvigil include:

  • Allergic reactions such as hives, rash, swelling of the mouth, itching
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, increased urination
  • Depression, anxiety, hallucinations
  • High blood pressure, chest pain
  • Migraines, headaches
  • Heart palpitations

For more information about how Nuvigil (armodafinil) can help to treat narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder, and to see if this is a medication that is right for you, you should consult with your doctor.

Further resources:

nuvigil.com
nlm.nih.gov

Essential further reading:

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