Provigil and weight loss

ProvigilProvigil Abuse Provigil and weight loss Provigil side effects
Provigil and weight loss
Provigil and weight loss

Provigil is a drug used for promoting wakefulness and is meant for oral administration. The generic name of this drug is Modafinil and the chemical name is 2-[(diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl]acetamide. The molecular weight of Modafinil is 273.35 while the chemical formula is C15H15NO2S.

Modafinil is a whitish crystalline powder, which is practically almost insoluble in cyclohexane and water. The main composition of Provigil is 100 or 200 mg of Modafinil along with these inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, lactose, pregelatinized starch, povidone, croscarmellose sodium, and magnesium stearate.

Provigil (Modafinil) is a medicine mainly used in the treatment of sleep disorders like narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder and obstructive sleep apnea. Provigil works like a stimulant and has similar composition like several other products used for weight loss. The main use of Provigil is to bring in wakefulness and prevent excessive daytime sleepiness. It is seen that patients being treated with Provigil have reported weight loss, though its use as a weight loss medication is still in experimental stage. Till September 2009, the FDA has not given approval for Provigil to be used in the treatment of obesity. You must consult your personal healthcare provider in order to determine the suitability of the drug to treat your condition of obesity, since Provigil for bringing about weight loss is its off-label use.

How does Provigil bring about weight loss?

Provigil increases alertness by releasing more of monoamines like catecholamines norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. It acts effectively for two hours after ingestion. Side effects may range from extreme allergic reactions to drying of mouth, sore throat, runny nose, numbness and tingling. Provigil also is known to reduce food intake too, thus contributing to weight loss. Since Provigil does not act in a similar manner like amphetamines, there is decrease in your appetite without any increase in heart rate.

Another theory is that since one of the side effects associated with Provigil intake is nausea and vomiting, automatically food is thrown up after meals, thus resulting in weight loss. However this is not a very healthy technique of losing weight.

If you are seriously planning on taking Provigil in order to lose weight, the cost may amount to $250 to $350 per month. Insurance companies will cover a part of the expense of any drug provided the drug has met with FDA's approval. Since Provigil's use for weight loss has been an off-label one, there is high likelihood of insurance companies not paying for the expenses.


It is better not to continue using Provigil for prolonged periods. Certain cardiovascular as well as neurological problems may take place, along with increased blood pressure, rise in insulin levels and heart rate. The drug should also be avoided in pregnancy, as far as practicable. It can only be used in pregnancy provided the benefits far outweigh the associated risks. Do pay heed to your health care provider's suggestions if you have hypertension, are pregnant, or have been taking herbal supplements and other types of prescription drugs. Provigil should ideally be avoided in individuals with a history of liver or kidney problems. Since Provigil can affect the efficacy of contraceptive pills, you need to adopt a non-hormonal technique of contraception while you are on Provigil. Provigil must be avoided while you are breast feeding as Provigil may pass into the milk and cause harm to the baby. The drug must not be taken by individuals below the age of 16.

The common symptoms associated with the use of Provigil include nausea, headache, nervousness, diarrhea, rhinitis, back pain, insomnia, dyspepsia and dizziness.

Overdose of Provigil may result in agitation, insomnia, anxiety, aggressiveness, irritability, confusion, tremor, nausea, diarrhea and such other symptoms. Cases of overdose involving Provigil with other drugs have resulted in fatality.

Provigil may also cause serious rash or allergic reactions. Discontinue the use of Provigil and give a call to your doctor immediately if you notice these symptoms:

  • Hives, rash, mouth sores, skin blisters or peeling skin
  • There is swelling of the eyes, lips, throat, tongue and overall face
  • Breathing difficulty and trouble swallowing
  • Voice hoarseness

The decision whether the drug should be at all used for the purpose of bringing about weight loss or not, should be taken after considering the above mentioned possible side effects. The main use of Provigil is for promoting wakefulness, and the drug is approved by FDA for this purpose only. Whether the drug should be given in patients with morbid obesity or not, is absolutely dependent on the patient's specific condition and the doctor's judgment. If the probable benefits associated with weight loss in the particular patient far outweigh the possible side effects, then only Provigil should be administered. But care should be taken to prevent prolonged use of this drug, as this might give rise to habit formation, which can be harmful in the long run.