Nuvigil vs Provigil For Narcolepsy: How They Are Similar and Different?

Sleep Disorder is a common problem faced by each and every person in the world. There are certain medications that help you to feel more awake. But if you are finding the best medications to overcome sleep disorder. There are two medications such as Nuvigil and Provigil. Both drugs are used to improve sleep disorders in adults. Nuvigil and Provigil boost brain activity to stimulate the brain parts that are involved in sleep. These medications treat both Narcolepsy and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. So today we will briefly analyze a Nuvigil vs Provigil comparison.

Difference Between Nuvigil vs Provigil Medicines:

Nuvigil and Provigil drugs help in managing sleepiness and various sleep-related disorders.

Let’s discuss the differences based on the usages, dose, and dosages, and side effects of both these medications.

Overview of Nuvigil Drug

Nuvigil contains the active ingredient, Armodafinil. It is an FDA-approved brand-name prescription medication.

This medicine works in the patient’s brain by enhancing the release of certain neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters play an important role in controlling wakefulness and attention. By increasing their release, armodafinil the active ingredient in Nuvigil, promotes wakefulness and helps patients stay awake and alert during the day.

Nuvigil interacts with some medications like propranolol, sedatives, antidepressants, antibiotics, cyclosporine, etc.

Overview of Provigil Drug

Provigil is also an FDA-approved brand-name prescription drug, which contains Modafinil as its active ingredient. It is also classified as a wakefulness-promoting agent and is used to increase wakefulness and decrease sleepiness during the day.

Provigil drug acts by enhancing the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Although, modafinil is a racemic compound, meaning it contains equal amounts of two mirror-image molecules (enantiomers) known as R-modafinil and S-modafinil. It is believed that the R-enantiomer is primarily responsible for modafinil’s wakefulness-promoting effects, similar to armodafinil.

Provigil also interacts with a few drugs such as theophylline (Theo-24), diazepam (Valium), desipramine (Norpramin), phenytoin (Dilantin, rifampin (Rifadin), itraconazole (Sporanox) and many other.

Uses: Nuvigil vs Provigil Drug

Uses of Nuvigil Medicine

Nuvigil helps in treatments for people with sleep problems due to shift work-like disorder and is used to treat excessive sleepiness in individuals who have problems staying awake due to various sleep-related disorders.

  • Narcolepsy –

It is a sleep disorder where the brain can’t lose the ability to sleep or stay awake. Patients who are experiencing narcolepsy may feel rested after waking, but then feel very sleepy throughout much of the day.

It is also prescribed off-label for other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and fatigue related to multiple sclerosis (MS).

Uses of Provigil Medicine

It is also used in the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, OSA, and SWD.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – It is a most common sleep-related breathing disorder i.e., a patient having OSA repeatedly stops and starts breathing while sleeping. In OSA condition, it blocks a part or all of the patient’s supper airways while they sleep. Patients diaphragm and chest muscles have to work harder to open the airways and pull air into the lungs. Their breath can become very shallow or the patient may even breathe briefly.
  • Shift Work Disorder (SWD) – It is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that commonly affects individuals who are working in non-traditionally hours outside the regular 9 am to 5 pm workday, While any shift worker can develop primary effects employers with night, early morning, or rotating shifts. The symptoms of SWD are insomnia and excessive sleepiness.

It is commonly prescribed off-label for conditions similar to Nuvigil, including ADHD, depression, and fatigue.

Dose and Dosages of Nuvigil

Nuvigil medicine is available in the oral tablet form and its available strengths are:

  • 50 mg
  • 150 mg
  • 200mg
  • 250 mg

The dosage of Nuvigil varies depending on the indications. The starting dose for narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea is 150 mg which the patient takes once in the morning daily.

The 150 mg dose is also recommended for managing the SWD, the doctor or physician may prescribe the dosage according to the individual response and tolerability.

Dose and Dosages of Provigil

This medicine comes in oral tablet form and available in two strengths that are:

Same way, the dosage of Provigil varies depending on the indication. The starting dose for OSA and narcolepsy is 200 mg daily in the morning. And, for treating SWD, the suggested dose is also 200 mg taken at least 60 minutes before the start of the work shift.

In a similar way Nuvigil, the dosage are adjusted or based on patients response and tolerability.

Side effects: Nuvigil vs Provigil

Nuvigil Side Effects

  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Trouble breathing
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills

Provigil Side Effects

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble in urinating
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Precautions for Provigil and Nuvigil Medicine:

  • After consuming Nuvigil or Provigil drugs, one should avoid driving or performing heavy tasks like operating machinery.
  • Patients are advised to notify their physician if experience any severe adverse effects, which require immediate medical help.
  • While taking these drugs, don’t consume alcohol. It can worsen or intensify the symptoms of the above-mentioned disorders.
  • Do not share individualized dosages with other patients, even with similar symptoms. As every individual has a different tolerance level and metabolism.
  • It is good to pregnant women to take this medicine


In Conclusion, we have seen that both medicines are effective in treating various sleep-related problems such as narcolepsy, Obstructive Sleep apnea, etc in people. They are almost similar but differ based on some factors. It is very important to cure these disorders as they can affect people’s day-to-day life. The differences may not be enough discussed in this blog. So, if a patient suffers from any sleep-related problem then it is important to consult with the doctor immediately.

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