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My Experience with Provigil

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Last night, I road tested this new “stay-awake” drug, whose generic name is modafinil.

At 11:30 p.m. or so, my usual bedtime, I dropped a 100 mg tablet (it comes as scored 100 mg or 200 mg tablets). Then, I continued with my reading and writing.

Long story short: this is a GREAT drug. It works.

I was awake, felt normal, no weirdness like with coffee – rapid heartbeat, sweatiness, jitteriness, none of that. I felt like I normally do during the day.

At around 6 a.m. today, I decided to call it a night. I got into bed, picked up my book, and read for about 20 minutes until I felt sleepy. I woke up this afternoon at 12:30 p.m., without any hangover, headache, or other residual.

Mind you, the drug’s expensive: I paid $52 cash – insurance won’t cover this one – at my local pharmacy for 10 pills. Online, I’ve seen it for $4 a pill, but they’ll charge you for shipping so it’s probably a wash. Highly recommended.

Man, do I wish I’d had this drug when I was an intern, up all night working 30 straight hours.

I took the remaining 9 pills and put them in my car’s glove compartment. No more fighting to stay awake and not crash and die when I’m trying to get home from a long trip.

But remember, it’s banned by the ruling body of international track and field: Kelli White lost her gold medal from last year’s world championships because she took it.

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  • RJ

    Luckily, you and I are not Olympic atheletes. 😉

  • BB

    But doc, doesn’t prudence dictate caution regarding long term affects? Unless of course you have a Dr. Jekyll complex. Are there any studies?

  • BB

    Guess not.

  • steven

    i agree provigil is a good drug. however i do not recommend doing more than 100mg at a time. perhaps you could take another 100mg later on in the day…but 200mg is just too much to do at once. of course you can do what ever the hell you want…luckily my insurance pays for it.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Joe, very interesting and always best to get a first-hand report.

    The NY Times had a story on this recently and they agreed that it works very well, perhaps too well in that because it has few or no side effects, some people who use it on an ongoing basis just decide they don’t really need all that much sleep, period, and that can have very negative consequences for the body, especially over time.

  • Elaine

    I have been taking this medicine for years. I work shift work. It does not replace sleep. If I’m working on the night shift and have not had enough sleep, it is very difficult to stay awake with or without the medication. The difference the medication makes is being able to not only stay awake but stay alert during my shifts and conferences. I am still able to take short power naps as needed.With the medication I no longer sleep 12-16 H/day.

  • Bill

    I will be starting 12-hour rotating shifts in a couple of weeks. I have secured my bottle of provigil and am ready for the night shift!

    I have tested 100 mg. during a recent visit by family. I took the provigil at 4:00 pm and was easily able to stay awake until 1:00 am and be quite alert and sociable. (Normal bedtime is 9:30)

    Anyone else work 12 hour rotating and using provigil? What is your experience?

  • Christopher Rose

    I’m interested in trying modafinil instead of the massive amounts of coffe I’ve been drinking lately. One little pill versus five mugs of Americano? Hmmm.

  • Autumn

    I have been taking Provigil for several years for management of fatigue related to Multiple Sclerosis. I take 200 mg in the morning so that I can make it through the day and not be crashed on the sofa by 4:00 in the afternoon when my daughter comes home from school and needs me. Prior to Provigil, I wasn’t even able to cook an evening meal for my family, and forget meaningful interaction with anyone!
    I have found, however, that over time, the effect lessens. I started out on 100 mg and as my body built up toleration I was increased to 200 mg. Now, I get only mild relief and have to supplement with caffeine in the form of coffee or tea around 3:00 in the afternoon. Given the expense, $50.00 per 30 tablets AFTER my insurance pays it’s part, I’m probably going to go off of it, at least for awhile. Maybe my body will respond better after a break. In the meantime, a pot of java is a lot cheaper and works just as well.

  • karen

    i love provigil. i have chronic depression and have tried every med there is to try. therapy, even e.c.t, nothing helped. i was at the bottom of a very dark hole for a very long time, then my doctor prescribed provigil and i don’t want to die every day. i get out of bed and function. i love provigil and am so grateful that it found me

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    Stay away from the drug and stick with the coffee. It’s not a bad drug and is good for narcolepsy – unless the other medicines you take make you sleep! We had to spend NIS 826 (about €150) a month for the modafinil in Israel for the while my wife took the drug. Then the committee that authorized import of the drug fron overseas just didn’t meet one month – the month we needed the idiots to. And imbued with the Jewish work ethic, they didn’t meet for a second month…

    So I taught my wife to drink coffee. We spend NIS 60 (€11) a month on coffee, both for her (as a medicine) and for me as a beverage. You do the math…

  • Jennifer

    I started on Provigil about 4 months ago, rigorous school demands to keep up with. 300 every morning, more in a 24 hour time if I have to. Despite everything in medical literature that says it has little appetite suppresant action, I’ve lost a lot of weight. No caffeine jitters and no cranked out feeling like Ritalin. The only downside so far was a definite withdrawal when supply ran out, and having to pee like crazy when the dosage gets into higher amounts. Yeah, it is a wonder drug.

  • Ron

    I was diagnosed with MS 18 months ago, vision, fatigue leg issues. I have been on Provigil for 4 days now, started with 200mg dose in the AM, it was a little intense so I’ve been cutting the pills in half. My fatigue is gone. I drive for a living, and while I still get an occasional bout of the yawns, the drop-dead feeling of dragging my body around while trying to function is gone.

  • f

    I jus got a script for this, Im hoping that it will be a good subsitute for adderall.

  • Gregorio Mariani

    I’m going to mix it with my adderall tonight because I can’t dose more than once with the adderall. If I die this will have been my last communication with the earth. THe homework on my desk doesn’t really count because it’s more of a communication with demons from the underworld.

  • geecheeboy

    Uncle Sleepy here. Born sleepy. My mom says she had to wake me to feed me as an infant. Always asleep. Frequently slept all weekend as a teenager, and would go to sleep in the shower. Drove my dad to anger and violence every morning. As an adult, my little nieces have named me Uncle Sleepy. I can sleep anywhere, movies, airports, even dentist chair. My wife thinks I don’t love her and I am avoiding my miserable life. Not so. In my case, it is NOT a symptom of depression. My doc recommends this Provigilant, and the stories sure sound like the answer to a prayer I didn’t know I uttered. I thought I was just lazy. I got a 10 day trial prescrip, and damn, I am the guy who says “I dont feel anything.” I dunnon. I feel confused. Not more alert. I feel completely out of gas by 5, more so now with Provig. When it gets dark, i am spent. So for 2 days I have doubled the doseage (200mg x2) once in morning, another after lunch. I don’t “feel” anything but after 2 days, simply seem a little more awake. Is that what I am supposed to feel? Simply awake? Not more focused, not sharper, not “alert” just awake? Maybe I need to pony up the cash and buy more for a longer trial. And buy stock in the company if it works.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Uncle Sleepy,

    Have yourself checked for narcolepsy. It could well be that that is the reason your saw so many zzzz’s.

    Provigil is the medicine of choice for this disorder, but it is an expensive solution. If you can afford it, by all means use it. But don’t be the guinea pig who raises his dosage so high that he finally does feel side effects.

  • Aimee

    Hi Uncle Sleepy!
    I was pretty much in the same situation as you – sleepy all the time and could sleep anywhere. As a kid, I would have to ask my parents if I could go to bed. If we were out somewhere, I would lay down in the booth at the restaurant or if we were at someone’s house I would find a dark corner and take a nap. It has gotten worse as I have gotten older (I am 31 now). I had even taken naps while I was at work. My body seems to know that whenI am driving, it needs to stay awake, but if someone else is driving, I can only stay awake for about 20-30 minutes before I pass out.

    I have had two sleep studies done, including one for narcolepsy. I do not go through REM sleep when I nap during the day so I am not diagnosed as narcoloeptic. The doctor did believe that because I have many “arousals” during the night and may wake up for several hours at a time, I have given myself, if you will, “conditioned insomnia”. We worked to prepare a sleep regimen and I had a sleep journal and that seemed to help with my sleep during the night, but I never seemed to recover during the day. I have also had my thyroid tested and have been tested for diabetes (family history). Those tests came out fine. I have been diagnosed with ideopathic hyperinsomnolensce. Basically it means that they do not know why I am tired all the time, as they are unable to find any physical ailment that would cause my sleepiness.

    I have been taking Provigil (100mg/day) for about a year and I LOVE it. My doctor initially tried to put me on anti-depressants (not because I was depressed, just for the brain chemical thing) and I refused. Then she told me about Provigil and we decided to try it for a week, then two weeks, etc to see how I felt. It does not give me a “buzz” or anything like that, but I definitely am more awake. I have not yet felt like I need to crash and take a nap (but if I miss a day, then I definitely notice a difference). I drove to Colorado this summer and only once did I fall asleep during the trip (don’t worry, I was the passenger at this point). I take it every day about 6am and notice that about 5:30pm or so I will start to get tired again. I can definitely feel when it is no longer in my system, but if I stay moving and active then I don’t feel like I need to sleep. However, if I sit on the couch to watch TV, I almost always fall asleep.

    Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and to stay positive, you’ll either find your reason or you will find something that works…

  • tink

    An FYI regarding high cost of meds: There’s a certain “warehouse club” retailer (I’m not gonna mention any names, but it begins with a ‘C’ and ends with an ‘O’) that hands down has the best prices in town when it comes to filling prescriptions. You don’t have to have a membership to make use of their pharmacy and they will make the call to transfer scripts to their location for you. 411 can give you a direct number to the pharmacy in your local…test drive this info for yourself. Take any one of your current meds, call them and ask for pricing…they’ll give it to you over the phone. I’ve found that I can save anywhere from 50-80% depending on what’s been prescribed.

  • jay

    :-0 (===========3

  • Waldo

    I often drive for eighteen hours straight and am thinking about using Provigil but am unsure as to what dosage I should take.

  • Amy

    I have been taken Provigil for Bipolar Disorder for about 7 years now, 200 mg twice a day. It is the only thing that originally was keeping me alert through all the other medications I have to take, but then we realized that it was the Provigil itself that was helping with the bipolar. Many other psychiatrists besides mine have noted this effect. Besides not feeling out of control all the time, I am very proud to say that in many ways Provigil has given me a chance at a somewhat normal life: I am working at the job I thought I would never be able to do again because of the medications I have to take, I can drive to that job — even in the dark — and I can basically get things done. The trains run on time again. The only problems? Some small side effects: a little shakiness, but only if I don’t eat a protein and carb mini-meal with dosage, and the cost, especially if my insurance plan switches over and decides to drop coverage again, which would force me to get mail-order modafinil from overseas at a rate of several hundred dollars a month. Still, in reading over the litanies of just the people on this site and in perusing some of the research that is out there — and seeing that Cephalon has jacked the price 28% since March ’08 — I think something needs to be done to make this drug more widely available in generic form to the people who medically need it. It has so many important applications, and could change so many lives. Any ideas where to start?

  • paul

    i am thinking about taking long does it take this drug to work and does alcohol affect the performance of this drug?

  • Carol

    I called Costco. It cost $257.16 for 30 Provigil 100 mgs. Not cheap.

  • Carol

    In addition, I have not had such good luck with Provigil. It worked great for the first 4-5 days, then…nothing. I couldn’t believe that I had developed an immunity to this drug so fast! I tried it again a week later and it worked some but not like the first time. Again, within a day or two, nothing. What a disappointment! I’d try it again as i have a Rx, but I don’t want to spent all that money.

  • Mindie

    I just got approval from my insurance to take Provigil. I’ll start it tomororw and I’m looking forward to it. I’m like Uncle Sleepy, I can sleep anywhere. When others think of the weekends as days to get out and run around I think of them as days I can sleep in. I had to get preauthorization for this medication because it costs over $750 for 60 pills. I pay $50 which is still a lot. I’m also bipolar, been this way all my life but finally disagnoised about 4 years ago with bipolar 2. We spent the better part of 4 years putting me to sleep in hopes of helping keep me awake. Dr. finally decided to give Nuvigil a try but insurance wouldn’t accept it, they finally did this one. I’m also going in for another sleep study. He’s got me on 200mgs twice a day in the morning, so one when I first wake up and one more no later then 11am so I’ll keep it by my bed with a bottle of water for when I first wake up. Wish me luck, I’m sick of being sleepy all the time! I yawn constantly and people think they are boring me. That’s not true! I’m just tired!

  • geecheeboy

    Uncle Sleepy here again. I tried it for a couple of months but don’t take it anymore. I didn’t really get any benefit. What works best for me is a consistent sleep schedule, and planning my days. I don’t take anything for any condition at this point.

  • Darrell

    I have MS and extreme fatigue is one of the worst syptoms. I have taken Provigil 100mg/day in the past for about a year and it worked wonderfully. I came off it for about a year to see if I could tolerate it. Well, I started again and this is my second day. Again I am taking 100mg/day. It is now 1:00 am and I’m not able to sleep. I’ve taken a sleep aid, but it is not working. I went 24 hrs yesterday with No sleep and have gone all day with no sleep yesterday. So, here it is 1:00 Monday morning and the last sleep I had was Friday night for about 8 hrs. I don’t know why it is different this time around with the Provigil, but I think I will try 100mg every other day or every 2 days to see if that will help me get into a regular sleep pattern.

  • Mark

    I just started taking Provigil 100/day two weeks ago. Let me tell you, it made me lethargic for a few days. I started taking it at night, much better

  • Mark

    Forget the post above, I was talking about another drug, sorry. Provigil worked good for me when I started, but you do build a tolerance to it.

  • Rick

    Anyone ever tried Adipex(amphetamine type drug) then gone to Provigil for increased energy levels? As would be expected Adipex is instant and great but you need more and more,, I’ve been on Provigil 200mg a day for 3 days now and can’t really tell much as to extra energy levels. Maybe it takes time to adjust but I just wondered if anyone had gone from one to the other like I have and what your experience was?

  • Elizabeth

    I was diagnosed with MS in 2005 and, like many others, fatigue is my worst enemy. My husband likes to say that sleeping is my hobby. I am so sick and tired of being this tired ALL the time. My doctor gave me Provigial a couple of years ago and I tried it once but I think it kept me up at night, so I stopped. Today’s fatigue is worse than usual, so I decided to try it again. I took it 4 hours ago and am ready to pass out right here at the keyboard. This does not sound normal…

  • Alex

    Do NOT mix adderall and provigil they end up making you awake but your brain wont think as well. Kinda like foggy brain kind of feeling.

  • Pesta Yawakeil

    “communication with demons from the underworld.”
    Lol @ Gregorio

  • sue h

    I took modifinil and this is what happened 14th November 2010 8am I took 1 x 100mg tablet modafinil.
    Hot flush from neck to feet
    Skin hyper sensitive burning
    Stomach cramp
    Sweating but cold.
    Rapid breathing.

    Paramedics arrived 9.30am Given gas and air at home taken to hospital had morphine which stopped the spasms and pain, had blood test, had trouble breathing Used ecg monitor. I had 2 xrays they said they were looking for a blood clot. Given medication as the morphine would soon wear off. Home 5pm
    Sickness started then. every hr for 5 hrs. back and arms painful.
    Next 4 days power migraine unable to have light on eyes, and noise. Whole body in pain.
    9 days now and am still in pain in shoulders and arms, and light calf spasms.

  • Lisa

    I’ve been taking Provigil for almost 8 years now. I started at 100mg, but gradually went up to 300mg which works great for me. I have idiopathic hypersomnnia (same symptoms as narcolepsy, but doesn’t fit the clinical diagnosis for narcolepsy because my REM sleep was normal).

    No generic available until the patent runs out and I’m always fighting my insurance to pay for it.
    I had a headache for the first week I was on it, decreased appetite for a few weeks, but since then nothing.
    I can stop taking it with no withdrawal and it keeps me from napping at work etc.

    I do love this drug and just wished it worked as well for everyone as it does for me!

  • K.U

    Well i am an Indian. Here 10 tablets cost only
    Rs.81. That is 1.6 usd.

  • Ed

    Actually provigil is known as “Alertec” in Canada and is not that cheap but can awaken the dead.

  • steveg

    I have run out of this med a number of times and the withdrawl was HORRIBLE. Very dizzy, my body felt electric, gas,gas, gas,slept and slept. [Personal contact info deleted]