Provigil side effects

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Provigil side effects
Provigil side effects

Provigil is the brand name for the drug Modafinil. Modafinil is basically an analeptic drug produced by Cephalon and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating the following conditions:

  • Narcolepsy or chronic sleep disturbances
  • Shift work sleep disorder
  • Excessive sleepiness in daytime related to obstructive sleep apnea

Provigil is actually a wakefulness-improving agent to be administered orally. The chemical name of Modafinil is 2-[(diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl]acetamide. Its molecular formula is C15H15NO2S, while molecular weight is 273.35.

Modafinil brings about increase in monoamines release, especially the catecholamines norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Modafinil is also known to cause elevation in hypothalamic histamine levels.

In U.S.A, Modafinil has been approved only in the treatment of the above mentioned disorders associated with sleep. The drug's popular off-label uses include alleviating general fatigue not associated with sleeplessness, like in treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder - ADHD, as well as an add-on to anti-depressants. Other off-label use has been in treating sedation as well as fatigue in spastic cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Modafinil is also known to cause improvement in excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with primary biliary cirrhosis. In normal, healthy individuals, Modafinil causes mood elevation. Militaries in many countries make use of Modafinil when troops experience sleep deprivation.

Side effects are common to any drug and Provigil (modafinil) is no exception. However, the thing to note is that not all patients treated with Provigil experience the side effects. It is seen that majority of the individuals tolerate this drug pretty well. Side effects, if at all they occur, are minor in 80% cases, requiring little treatment by your doctor or sometimes needing no treatment at all.

Common side effects associated with Provigil

Clinical studies with Provigil have been conducted and side effects which take place have been documented. These are compared with side effects that take place with a different group not taking Provigil. This technique has helped to explore the different side effects that may occur, their frequency, and how these side effects compare to individuals not on the medicine.

The commonly reported side effects with the percentage occurrence are given below:

  • Headaches in 34% of people
  • Nausea in 11%
  • Nervousness in 7%
  • Stuffy or runny nose in 7%
  • Back pain in 6%
  • Diarrhea in 6%
  • Indigestion in 5%
  • Dizziness in 5%
  • Insomnia in 5%

Other common side effects of Provigil which occurs in 1% to 4% people are:

  • Fever and chills or flu-like symptoms
  • Dry mouth and thirst
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Hot flashes
  • Constipation
  • Numbness, tingling and unusual symptoms
  • Drowsiness
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Mouth ulcers or sores
  • Water retention
  • Tremor
  • Vertigo
  • Sweating
  • Nosebleeds
  • Genital herpes
  • Vision problems

Serious and less common side effects of Provigil

There are certain side effects associated with the usage of Provigil which occur infrequently and can be serious requiring immediate attention. Some of the less common and serious side effects of Provigil include:

  • Depression, anxiety, confusion, hallucinations and other psychological or emotional changes.
  • High blood pressure, chest pain and rapid heart beat rate (tachycardia).
  • Heart palpitations or feelings of rapid or forceful beating heart.
  • Abnormal muscle movements or muscle spasms
  • Traces of blood in urine
  • Constant feeling of wanting to increase the dose of Provigil or consume it frequently - a sign of drug abuse/dependence
  • Signs of allergic conditions like rash, hives, swelling in the mouth/throat or itching, along with wheezing and difficulty in breathing.

Provigil may also bring about a rare, very dangerous adverse effect known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). This condition begins with a kind of rash, but may soon transform itself to be a life-threatening condition associated with loss of great portions of the skin causing disfigurement or sometimes even death. Thus any symptom of unexplained rash should be immediately reported to the doctor while you are taking Provigil. In majority of these types of cases, the doctor usually will ask you to stop taking Provigil.

Provigil overdose requires immediate medical attention. The effects associated with Provigil overdose vary and are dependent on the amount of overdose, whether it had been taken in combination with other medications, food, alcohol or stimulants.

Some individuals may experience a few or none of the above side effects with regard to Provigil use. Unfortunately it is difficult to pin pointedly tell whether a particular side effect (such as nausea) is the result of Provigil use or not. Do make sure to tell your doctor if you experience some unusual feeling after taking Provigil. Whether this is an actual side effect or not, will be rightly diagnosed by your doctor and will be treated accordingly.