What is Nuvigil Uses, warnings & interactions
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Nuvigil (armodafinil) is a C-IV controlled substance that is manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2007 to improve wakefulness in adults with excessive daytime sleepiness from sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. Nuvigil is not approved to treat pediatric patients under 18 years of age.
If your doctor has prescribed Nuvigil to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Nuvigil is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Nuvigil used for?
Nuvigil is FDA-approved to improve wakefulness in adult patients with excessive sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), narcolepsy, or shift work sleep disorder (SWD).
How does Nuvigil work?
The exact mechanism of action of Nuvigil is not fully known. It is thought to affect areas in the brain such as the hippocampus, thalamus, and amygdala which may help regulate wakefulness and alertness. Nuvigil has a wake-promoting activity that is similar to sympathomimetic agents such as amphetamine and methylphenidate. It is also an indirect dopamine receptor agonist.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Nuvigil?
- 50 mg tablet
- 150 mg tablet
- 200 mg tablet
- 250 mg tablet
Before taking Nuvigil
Before taking Nuvigil, make sure your doctor is aware of your medical conditions, including:
- History of mental health problems such as psychosis or thoughts of suicide
- Heart problems such as high blood pressure
- Previous heart attack
- Liver or kidney impairment
- History of substance abuse or addiction
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Nuvigil
- You should read the Full Prescribing Information, Instructions for Use, and Medication Guide that comes with Nuvigil.
- Take this medication exactly as your doctor prescribes it to you. Do not change your dose or stop taking Nuvigil without discussing it with them first.
- If you are taking Nuvigil for narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea, you will usually take it once every morning. For shift work sleep disorder, you will take it around 1 hour before your work shift. Nuvigil can be taken with or without food.
- If you miss a dose of Nuvigil, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to your usual bedtime. If you don’t want to be awake for several hours, skip the missed dose and wait until the next day to take it at its usual time.
- If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine at night, continue using this machine while on Nuvigil.
- Store Nuvigil at room temperature between 68° to 77°F (20° to 25°C), out of the reach of children.
You should not use Nuvigil if you have a known allergy to modafinil, armodafinil, or any inactive ingredients in this product.
- Severe, possibly life-threatening rashes, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome have occurred with the use of Nuvigil. This medication should be stopped immediately if a drug-related rash occurs.
- Use Nuvigil with caution in patients with a history of mental health problems such as depression, mania, or psychosis. Discontinue this medication if new or worsening psychiatric symptoms develop.
- Your doctor may increase monitoring for adverse effects if you have heart disease while on Nuvigil.
- Nuvigil can decrease the effectiveness of steroidal contraceptives. You should use an alternative form of birth control while on this medication and for 1 month after stopping treatment.
What drugs should not be taken with Nuvigil?
The use of Nuvigil with other medications can change how they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. You should ask your doctor if any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may cause drug interactions with Nuvigil, including:
- Hormonal birth control pills, patches, or vaginal rings
- MAO inhibitors
What are some possible side effects of Nuvigil?
Some common side effects of Nuvigil include:
- Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth
Nuvigil can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Serious, life-threatening allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and trouble breathing)
- Increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Severe and possibly fatal skin rash
- Heart problems such as chest pain, arrhythmias, and increased heart rate
- Worsening mental health disorders such as depression, mania, or psychosis
- Mouth sores including blisters and ulcers
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible adverse effects you experience while taking Nuvigil. You can report your adverse effects to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088 or visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your doctor can prescribe other medications if Nuvigil is not right for you. Some alternative FDA-approved or off-label treatment options include:
Can you take Nuvigil while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Based on animal data, Nuvigil may cause fetal harm. There is a pregnancy registry that monitors outcomes in pregnant women using Nuvigil. You can find more information about the registry by visiting www.nuvigilpregnancyregistry.com or by calling 1-866-404-4106. While there is no data on whether Nuvigil is found in human milk, modafinil was found in rat milk. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Does Nuvigil cause withdrawal symptoms?
While it is not common, stopping Nuvigil suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms. These can include mild symptoms such as sleepiness as well as reduced energy levels and alertness. Withdrawal symptoms are more likely to occur if you have been taking Nuvigil for a long time or at high doses.
Is Nuvigil a stimulant?
Yes, Nuvigil is considered a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is similar to Provigil (modafinil).
How do Nuvigil and Provigil compare?
Both of these medications are stimulants used to improve wakefulness in patients with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and shift work disorder (SWD). They are both taken once a day to treat these conditions but at different doses. They both have similar side effects and drug interactions. Nuvigil and Provigil have never been directly compared in a clinical study but they are similarly effective in improving wakefulness based on clinical trials used to get FDA approved.
How quickly does Nuvigil work?
While food can affect how fast your body absorbs Nuvigil, it should take between 2 to 4 hours to start working.
How much does Nuvigil cost?
Currently, there is a generic Nuvigil available on the market. The average cost of #30 generic Nuvigil 250mg tablets is almost $450. However, you can save on brand-name drugs like Nuvigil through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.