Nuvigil – Everything You Need to Know

What is Nuvigil?

Nuvigil (armodafinil) is a wakefulness-promoting agent used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. Nuvigil is available as a generic drug. Armodafinil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide. There are no quick fixes for these sleep problems with Nuvigil. You will likely need to take this medication for several weeks before noticing the full effects.

Nuvigil is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It works by promoting wakefulness and reducing the desire to sleep.

Nuvigil is not for use in treating tiredness or drowsiness that is not caused by a sleep disorder.

Nuvigil may be habit-forming and should be used only by the prescribed person.

Nuvigil should never be given to another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

Nuvigil is available as an oral tablet. Nuvigil is usually taken once a day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or longer than recommended.

How does Nuvigil Work?

Nuvigil works by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with wakefulness and alertness. Armodafinil also has a weak inhibitory effect on the norepinephrine and serotonin transporters. The exact mechanism of action of armodafinil is unknown.

Nuvigil Uses

Nuvigil treats excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and sleep apnea.

Narcolepsy is a condition that causes you to fall asleep suddenly and unexpectedly.

Shift work sleep disorder is a condition that causes you to have trouble sleeping when you are working odd hours or rotating shifts.

Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for short periods during sleep.

Nuvigil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of armodafinil (Nuvigil)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, difficult breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking armodafinil and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Headache with chest pain and severe dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fast or pounding heartbeats
  • Skin rash, hives, sores in your mouth, or blistering and peeling skin

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • New or worsening mental depression;
  • Mood changes including aggression, hostility, anxiety, panic attacks;
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that are not there);
  • Thoughts of suicide; or
  • An extreme increase in activity and talking (mania).

Armodafinil can decrease or increase the activity of enzymes in the liver that metabolize other drugs. Taking armodafinil with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.


Before taking armodafinil, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it, to modafinil (Provigil), or if you have any other allergies. 

This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. 

Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: 

liver disease, kidney disease, a certain blood disorder (porphyria), mental/mood problems (such as depression, mania), personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs/alcohol. Armodafinil may make you dizzy or drowsy. 

  • Drinking alcohol can make you more dizzy or drowsy. 
  • Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. 
  • Avoid other dangerous activities until you know how this medicine will affect you. 
  • To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. 
  • Armodafinil is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old. 

Modafinil (Provigil), another medication similar to armodafinil, has been associated with congenital disabilities in some babies of mothers who were taking modafinil while pregnant.

  • It is not known if armodafinil also causes these defects. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • It is unknown if armodafinil passes into breast milk. 
  • Armodafinil may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control such as pills, patches, or rings. This could cause pregnancy. 
  • Use a barrier method of birth control (such as a condom or diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while using this medication and for at least 1 month after your last dose. 
  • Armodafinil may interfere with certain lab tests (including urine drug screening). 

Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are using armodafinil.


Many drugs can interact with armodafinil. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using during your treatment with armodafinil, especially:

  • A blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);
  • Insulin or oral diabetes medicine;
  • An antibiotic such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin), or telithromycin (Ketek);
  • Antifungal medication such as itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Extina, Ketozole, Nizoral, Xolegel);
  • Heart rhythm medicine such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), quinidine (Cardioquin, Quinidex, Quin-Release), or sotalol (Betapace);
  • HIV/AIDS medicine such as atazanavir (Reyataz), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir, Kaletra), or saquinavir (Invirase).

Other drugs may interact with armodafinil, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Overdose Nuvigil

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canadian residents can call a provincial poison control center. Overdose symptoms may include fast/irregular heartbeat, severe shaking (tremors), and seizures.


Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.


Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. See packaging for details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

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