Tell me about your experiences with Modafinal

I’m thinking of going on Modafinil, and I’m curious about your [anecdotal] experience with it.

edit: I have low energy and poor concentration and I respond very badly to amphetamines.

I’ll see a specialist tomorrow.

I found that it did increase my energy and wakefulness and concentration. But I also felt irritated and tense all day long, especially if someone had interrupted my concentration. It felt like amphetamine but without that laser-like clarity that makes it worth the side effects. Later, when I’d been fully rested and reviewed my work done under Modafinil, I found it riddled with errors and severely constrained in innovation and originality.

I can see why it’s useful for its original intended purpose, which is to help military personnel stay awake while pulling a double shift of night watch or whatever. But to help me have both energy and deep concentration, it just doesn’t get me close enough to justify feeling tense and pissed off all day.

I can’t provide information about prolonged use, but I did try modafinil—it was being hyped as such a wonder drug a few years ago and I was curious. I found that for a couple of hours it felt speed-like, but that wore off rather quickly. I also found myself doing really stupid things all day, like putting my (full) water bottle into the recycling bin and walking all the way downstairs with my shoes and a pair of underwear instead of socks. When I concentrated on work, though (some dry and not particularly creative writing) I was able to focus on it without being as distracted as I normally am. This came at the price of a low-grade headache in my temples that lasted most of the day, even after taking some ibuprofen.

I’ve heard it can raise blood pressure. I didn’t notice much effect on my heart rate, and although I didn’t have much appetite, when I did eat I was able to eat normally. Trying to eat on other stimulants in the past was like trying to force myself to consume a plate of wet sand. I’ve never been a huge fan of stimulants, but (despite the mild stimulant effect) this felt more to me like an antidepressant than a recreational drug. I guess I can see how it could be abused, but I had no desire to redose, and didn’t have much trouble sleeping at night (I had taken it first thing in the morning).

A relative of mine was recently prescribed modafinil for chronic fatigue. It’s incredibly expensive even for generic, and she had to fight with the insurance company to get them to cover it. (I’ve read that many of them are reluctant to cover it now for diagnoses other than narcolepsy and MS.) Just out of curiosity I checked the price of it through my own insurance, and even with their discount, generic modafinil would be over $250 a month out of pocket. Interestingly, they instead had the brand name “Nuvigil” (armodafinil) on formulary for a copay of $50/month—a newer and apparently even more expensive drug. I’m guessing they’re in cahoots with the manufacturer (Cephalon), or maybe they’re getting discounts to push it instead of the generic.

It did so little for me that I actually have a load lying around. As VT says, there was a very vague speed like feeling but basically there was no point in taking it - it certainly didn’t improve my performance in anything.

Caveat the following with: I have MS and am on a cocktail of 5 meds.
I was up and running on four of them, titrated to the right dosage–and then I started ProVigil.

I have been on it for 6 years due to fatigue from MS. 100 mg in the a.m.

It just feels “normal” now, but the first week (or two?) I felt really “speedy”. Also, colors looked brighter–including red traffic lights at night seemed so bright they hurt.

Having said that, I am very sensitive to CNS drugs of any kind.

If you have any history of LVH, this drug will intensify the symptoms–and probably will make your EKG worse.

They tried to put me on a new XXX-Vigil (I cannot remember the name, sorry, but is was maybe Nu-Vigil?), switching me from Provigil–but that stuff was like super speed and I wound up in the ER with arrythmia.

Withdrawls…I could go no more than 3 days and then I would get loopy. Really bad–like…cannot function bad. This is bad because since it is a S4 drug, they will likely only give you a 30 day supply at a time–and the Pharms. are suspicious of anyone that requests an “emergency” refill for a week, especially since I live in a college town. My PharmD. told me kids take it to help them study.

The good news is that I think it is coming off patent in August (October?) of this year so the cost will be going down significantly.

As of now, I can function normally all day. I have a friend who is on 150 mg Provigil for MS fatigue as well and it prevented him from having to take a nap every day. It seems to be the drug of choice for MS fatigue.

Any other questions, just ask here or PM me.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so useful to a student like me then, but I’ll still it’s the only ADHD drug I have yet to have a bad reaction to, and any reduction in my tiredness should help.

I’m a tad overweight, so appetite suppression isn’t a downside for me, I guess I should take it early in the morning so it doesn’t effect my sleep.

Yes, the Australian health service only subsidises it for narcolepcy and even then, only when cheaper drugs have failed. At best I’ll be able to get it on a private script, with no subsidisation, basically I’ll have a choice of paying $160 a month for the lowest dose or gamble on drugs from an overseas online pharmacy. Still, it’s legal to import small quantities for personal use, so at least I’m in a better position than people in the USA

Maybe you have to have a tiredness disorder to get most of benefits

That’s great news about it coming off patent, hopefully the drug will become a lot more accessable. I don’t have any heart problems, but my psychiarist warned me there is a risk of mania or hypomania if I take them. :eek:

I am glad the drugs worked for you. Other than withdrawals, did you get any other persistant bad symptoms? Anyway, I’ll take your advice and stay clear of Nuvigil.

Students like to abuse it? I am at the top university in Australia, so it looks like I’ll be able to add drug dealing to my rap sheet[/JK]

I take Nuvigil (armodafanil, which I understand to be a slightly modified form of the same chemical compound) as an “adjunct” to my antidepressant therapy—that is, I will take it until I run out of my current bottle, since my insurance company requires a co-pay of $90 per month. It’s been helpful to me and gives me enough energy to stay up a normalish 16 hours a day. On the rare days I don’t take it I will have to go to sleep after about 12 hours of lying around like a damp rag. It does help with focus a bit but not significantly so. I’ve been taking either Provigil or Nuvigil for at least 3 years; my insurance company told me I had to switch to Nuvigil at one point, so apparently it’s slightly cheaper than Provigil.

It does cause some symptoms of muscle tension, especially in my jaw and tongue. At the very beginning it made me yawn prodigiously. I don’t have any issues with blood pressure or heart rate or feeling “speedy.” If you have insomnia issues, I suspect it could exacerbate those. IMO the biggest argument drawback is the cost and the insistance by insurance companies that anything other than narcolepsy or MS is an “off-label” use. At least in the US there is no generic available yet, AFAIK. It’s also a Schedule IV controlled substance, so there might be some restrictions imposed on prescribing. For instance, I have to go to my MD’s office to get the physical prescription and then send it in to my pharmacy. He is not allowed to call in or fax the prescription.

ETA: Damn, that’s good news about it coming off patent, phxjcc! I would so love to keep taking one or the other.

To answer your Q?
NO, I have had no persistent bad symptoms.

Off patent date that I was referring to was for the US. I read it in Consumer Reports magazine. I don’t know the status in OZ.

Understand that I am am not slamming students re:Provigil–just parroting what my Pharmacist told me.

I’ve used both modafinil (Provigil) and armodafinil (? the brand name is Nuvigil, it’s like the left-handed subset of Provigil). Nuvigil worked better for me, especially given the dosage recommendations (once daily, vs. once first thing in the morning and once in early afternoon).

In my case, I’ve got sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, both of which are adequately managed (CPAP for apnea plus Requip for the RLS). Despite those being adequately treated, I’m far more zoned out during the days than one would expect, even when I’ve gotten “adequate” sleep quantity.

So I had a 24-hour sleep study, and it was found that I fell asleep much sooner than would have been expected. Not to the point where I’d be considered narcoleptic, and I’ve never had “sleep attacks” like you hear of narcoleptics having. So the official term is “Excessive Daytime Sleepiness”.

First drug tried was Nuvigil. They had me ease into the dosage, with blood pressure checks to make sure it wasn’t causing problems (I have hypertension, for which I take medication). Fortunately no issues there. The first night I took it, I had HORRIBLE insomnia. That passed, fortunately. I only took it for a week or so, because I got sick and didn’t want to be on anything extraneous (plus was on prednisone, figured the combination would really mess with my blood sugar). I got over the illness (bronchitis / asthma flare), as we were on vacation.

For most of a week, I got 8-9 hours of sleep a night and was still dragging. On the day we left for home, I went back on the Nuvigil because we had a long drive.

And scared the CRAP out of myself. I felt GOOD. I don’t mean “high” or anything, but the feeling was so unfamiliar that it genuinely scared me. I was driving, and I kept asking my husband if he saw anything concerning in my behavior: I was afraid that the medication might be affecting me in some way that made me do risky stuff. He assured me that no, I was not doing anything worrisome. I wound up driving all day (usually we switch every hour or two).

I was actually worried that, though I wasn’t truly “high”, that “I feel GOOD” would prove to be dangerously compelling. Nuvigil doesn’t have the same abuse potential as a stimulant does, but there is some risk there. Luckily, I had such a lousy night’s sleep that night (first time taking it in a week or so, see above) that it served as very effective negative reinforcement :p.

Unfortunately, my insurance coverage for Nuvigil isn’t all that great, it’s off-formulary. They’ll pay a larger percentage of the cost for Provigil, so it’s a bit cheaper, and I’m now tweaking the dosage of that.

I don’t think it works quite as well; for example, on a similar trip this year, with similar adequate sleep, I wasn’t nearly as alert for the drive back. Plus compliance is a real issue, I tend to forget the mid-day dose.

It is, however, better than nothing. If I’m short on sleep, it can turn me from scary, stumbling zombie into merely “very very tired”. If I’ve had adequate sleep, it can turn me from “very very tired” into just “pretty tired”. It does NOT turn me into “wow, so this is what well-rested feels like”.

And, I still crash, hard, late afternoons. I’ve actually got a small quantity of Ritalin of all things, to try taking a half-tablet around 3 PM to get me through the drive home. I haven’t tried that yet for a number of reasons (primary being that they suggested I try it at home for the first time, when I didn’t have to drive, to see how it affected me).

I may decide to bite the bullet and go back with Nuvigil at the next visit since overall I think it works slightly better.

Insomnia is one noted side effect of both of these. Except for the first night (or perhaps two) when I restart after taking some time away from it, this isn’t an issue for me. I’m less likely to NEED a nap during the afternoon but I could probably still manage one, most days. Blood pressure issues, ditto: the only times my BP has elevated when taking it, there were other reasons for it to be up. Addiction / dependence: as noted, less likely than with amphetamines. I usually take a half dose (or none at all) on the weekends, sometimes even miss during the week, and I’ve never noticed any problems.

Medication interactions: I looked it up at the time (since I’m on a number of other meds) and there were few worries there. I changed the timing of one medication (Prilosec) so I wasn’t downing them both at the same time; whatever the warning was I don’t recall, as it seems to be gone now.

Really? They’ve been able to call / fax mine in for me in the past.

There may well be some extra restrictions on how long the scrip is good for - e.g. 6 months vs. 2 years. I’ve run into that with Sonata (sleep medication) that I keep around for occasional use; I can’t get refills past the prescription date + 6.


Of course, your doctor’s office might have a different and more restrictive policy, but it’s not a legal requirement.

I didn’t say it was a legal matter. I think it’s my health insurance company’s policy or that of their pharmacy. I wanted the OP to be aware prescribing protocol might be an issue. It’s a problem for me because my doctor only visits my area one day a week, so getting in to see him within the proper interval is pretty dicey.