Some companies create products that help you become more productive, some create products that entertain you, while others—like Nuvigil—are created simply to help you stay awake.
Before you start giggling, consider the fact that, according to the Nuvigil website, as many as 1 in 4 of the 15 million Americans who work outside of a traditional 9-5 schedule suffer from Shift Work Disorder (SWD), while millions more suffer from other types of Excessive Sleepiness (ES) disorders, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy. But if you’re tired (no pun intended) of feeling the effects of these disorders, Nuvigil (armodafinil) claims to be an FDA approved prescription medication that can help improve your wakefulness.
How Nuvigil Might Help You
Think that Nuvigil’s primary benefit is helping you to remain awake? If so, you’d be right. However, according to the company, there are numerous secondary benefits that this vigilance-promoting prescription drug can help you achieve, including:
- Improved focus and functioning, especially while at work
- Boosted mood
- Improved symptoms related to heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, type 2 diabetes, and even bariatric conditions.
- Help losing weight and achieving a normalized BMI
- Reduced irritability and improved social relationships
Despite these benefits, Nuvigil is claimed to not affect your ability to sleep when the time comes (less than 2% experienced this problem in clinical trials).
However, the manufacturer claims that Nuvigil has been proven to be effective in clinical trials by using the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). During these trials, patients who took Nuvigil are claimed to have experienced significant improvement in wakefulness throughout their shifts compared to patients taking a sugar pill (placebo).
How is Nuvigil Taken?
Nuvigil is available in 50mg, 150mg, and 250mg tablets, and your doctor will prescribe the necessary dosage based on your specific symptoms.
With this in mind, if you suffer from excessive sleepiness due to treated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it’s recommended that you take 1 dose every morning. For those suffering from shift work disorder (SWD), it’s recommend that you take your dose about 1 hour before beginning your shift.
Is Nuvigil Expensive?
Like any other medications, what you’ll ultimately pay for Nuvigil can vary widely, and is primarily dependent on the type of health insurance you have.
However, you can obtain a free trial of Nuvigil by filling out an online questionnaire or by calling the company directly at 800-896-5855. In addition, if you have limited resources, you may be able to obtain Nuvigil reimbursement assistance.
With this said, without insurance or resource assistance, we found one review claiming that Nuvigil is priced at $8-$9 per pill.
Customer Feedback About Nuvigil
Nuvigil has been available for several years, and was available before under the name Provigil, which is a slightly different formulation.
With this said, online reviews regarding Nuvigil seem to be more positive than negative, with many patients having described it as “life changing.”
However, some of the most common patient complaints related to Nuvigil (and its active ingredient armodafinil) are severe headaches, nausea, changes in vision, increased heart rate, and jitteriness. In addition, numerous patients claimed that Nuvigil’s effectiveness decreased with continued use, with some experiencing this reduction in just a few days. Also, because Nuvigil is classified as a stimulant, keep in mind that it may reduce your appetite.
If You’re Thinking About Taking Nuvigil, What Considerations Should You Keep in Mind?
Even though numerous patients have claimed that Nuvigil has changed their lives, don’t get too excited just yet. Instead, carefully consider the following:
Expectations & Side Effects
First, it’s important to note that Nuvigil was not developed to treat any excessive sleepiness disorders; only their side effects. Because of this, you should expect to use this medication in conjunction with your other current medical treatments, and that your symptoms will likely recur once you stop taking Nuvigil.
In addition, although Nuvigil’s (armodafinil’s) most common side effects are headache, nausea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other side effects that you should strongly keep in mind. These include a serious rash or other allergic reaction that may affect parts of your body such as your liver or blood cells, and may result in hospitalization and be life-threatening. In addition, you may also develop hives, sores in your mouth, blisters, swelling, peeling, or yellowing of the skin or eyes, trouble swallowing or breathing, dark urine, or fever.
As with any other medication you’re thinking about taking, the first thing you should do is speak with your physician.
Nuvigil is Serious Business
Nuvigil is not just a prescription; it’s also a federally controlled substance [C-IV] because it has the potential to be abused or lead to dependence. In layman’s terms, Nuvigil (and its active ingredient armodafinil) is a stimulant that has the potential to become habit-forming, and as a result it may not be an ideal long-term solution.
However, even if it didn’t have the potential for being abused, as we noted above, it seems that numerous patients have reported decreased effectiveness the more they used Nuvigil—even within just a few days. Considering both of these points, it’s very likely that you’ll have to stop taking Nuvigil at some point and then resume using it after a several-month hiatus.
If you’re thinking about taking Nuvigil, be sure to consult with your physician first. However, even if your doctor gives you the green light, keep in mind that you may experience some side effects (whether mild or severe), and that armodafinil doesn’t represent a long-term solution to excessive sleepiness.