ADHD Medication and Treatment Reviews


Brand name: Provigil

What is Modafinil?

Modafinil (Brand name: Provigil) is a wakefulness-promoting prescription drug that reduces the extreme sleepiness that accompanies sleep disorders including narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work disorder (SWD). It is sometimes used off-label to treat symptoms of ADHD in adults 18 years of age and older. This use is not approved by the FDA, but some research has shown improvement in ADHD symptoms when compared to a placebo. According to the FDA, modafinil is a federally controlled substance (C-IV) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. The safety and effectiveness for children has not been established.

Armodafanil (Nuvigil) is a drug similar to modafinil that could potentially have similar effects, but its impact on ADHD in adults has not yet been studied.

How to Use Modafinil

Before starting or refilling a modafinil prescription, read the medication guide included with your pills, as it may be updated with new information.

This guide should not replace a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.

Dosage for Modafinil

As with all medications, follow your modafinil prescription instructions exactly. If a patient experiences upset stomach as a side effect, this medication can be taken with food.

Tablets are available in 100mg and 200mg dosages.

The recommended dosage is 200mg, taken orally, once daily in the morning (or just prior to beginning work for people with SWD). A reduced dose is recommended for elderly patients and patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication, as the use of modafinil with alcohol has not been studied.

Side Effects Associated with Modafinil

The most common side effects of modafinil are as follows: headache, back pain, nausea, nervousness, stuffy nose, diarrhea, feeling anxious, trouble sleeping, dizziness, and upset stomach.

Other serious side effects include: a serious rash or allergic reaction including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome; rapid swelling beneath the skin; new mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, and thoughts of suicide; and symptoms of a heart problem including chest pain, abnormal heartbeat, and trouble breathing. In rare cases, modafinil can create a multi-organ hypersensitivity reaction, which can be life-threatening. Stop taking modafinil and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these serious side effects.

Taking modafinil may impair your ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart or blood pressure problems. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems have experienced cardiac arrest while taking modafinil. Stimulants, like modafinil, can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you experience warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking modafinil.

Also disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of psychosis, depression, or mania. Modafinil may create new or exacerbate existing mania, delusions, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, and aggression. Call your doctor immediately if you experience new or worsening mental health symptoms including depression or mania.

Elderly or debilitated patients with impaired hepatic or renal function should use caution and be observed closely when taking modafinil.

Stimulants like modafinil have a low potential for abuse and addiction. It is a “Schedule IV drug,” a designation that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses for drugs with a low potential for abuse. Other Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. People with a history of drug abuse should use caution when using this medication. Taking the medication exactly as prescribed can reduce potential for abuse.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions Associated with Modafinil

Store modafinil in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your modafinil prescription with anyone, even another person with ADHD. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

You should not take modafinil if you have any of the following conditions: allergy or hypersensitivity to modafinil, armodafinil or any of the ingredients in modafinil medications.

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Modafinil with your doctor. Animal studies indicate a potential risk of fetal harm. It is not known if modafinil is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

The safety of Modafinil for children under age 17 has not been established.

Interactions Associated with Modafinil

Before taking Modafinil, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor.

Use caution when taking modafinil concurrently with MAOIs. Certain illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and MDMA/ecstasy can interact with modafinil.

Modafinil can decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control including pills, shots, patches, vaginal rings, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) – while taking modafinil, and for one month after stopping modafinil. Talk to your doctor about the birth control choices that can reduce the risk of becoming pregnant while taking modafinil.

Modafinil can increase the speed at which certain medications are processed by your body, which could decrease their effectiveness.  Examples of medications that could be affected include: cyclosporine.

Modafinil can increase concentrations of certain medications in the body, including omeprazole, phenytoin and diazepam.

Caffeine can increase the side effects of modafinil.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking modafinil before having any surgery or laboratory tests. The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.


9 Modafinil Comments & Reviews

  1. Reviewing for Adult.
    Have tried various brands of Modifinil after reading lots of open media about it.
    I found that the effects kick in within about 60-90minutes, and when i first started taking it i felt a surge of good mood, i felt happy and positive. I did not find huge improvements in terms of focus or reduction of ADD related symptoms, however there were minor improvements. I found in squashed my appetite completely for about 7hours. The key benefit i found was no drop in afternoon energy, i worked solidly all day ( no more focused, just no tiredness).
    The evenings i had taken it were obvious to my partner as i was more talkative and didnt settle as quickly as normal (16hours after ingestion) and probably took 45mins to go to sleep compared to the normal 5-10.
    The day after, if you do not take another the following day, I struggled a lot with focus, comprehension and drive. It would be almost to say by taking the medication you had borrowed the energy from the next day, and then have to go through it without.
    I limited myself to only taking Modifinil twice a week at that point, the days i needed to get more done. However that being said, after 4-6months of this pattern the effects of good mood etc are much less potent and i have therefore stopped taking it all together.

  2. I’m using Modafinil (legally prescribed and bought at a pharmacy in Germany) for 4 months already.
    They do come in 100 and 200mg pills. At first I kept “half” of a pill dosage daily excluding weekends to see, what it does.
    Now I’m on 100mg 5/7 days pattern.
    I don’t have any trouble sleeping (naturally one have to remember to take care of proper sleep preparation – no overeating nor late screen reading (eBook reader is fine, tablet – not so, not even with “blue light limiting” apps).
    I don’t see any food/eating problems (again – I cook myself and eat really healthy things I really like).
    Back pain (?) – I have it naturally – too little exercise daily so I’m not connecting it with Modafinil. If I remember to stretch and massage some points on my body there is no pain at all.
    Other things negative – none.

    How is it affecting me in the positive sense?
    I’m awake. Really awake. No need for a coffee (I’m more yerba and matcha enthusiast). Senses are kind of sharper (not placebo but also normally achievable if you know how to focus).
    So in general – it is working as it supposed to.
    Will it work for you? Under one condition – if you know how to do things without Modafinil it will help you further. If you are seeking some wonder drug, that will take you away from browsing internet, mindless hours at fb/yt etc. you are in deep trouble – it will actually make you to dive into wasting your time more aggressively as you would wish in your deepest fears.

    Modafinil is an enhancer – if you have good habits you will benefit from it. If your life is about wasting time you are going to do it on a new, higher level. So better avoid it.

  3. I have been taking 200mg Modafinil daily 5-7 days a week in the early morning for just over 12years. I have been prescribed it for day time sleepyness/narcolepsy as I was commuting and falling asleep while driving. And other issues with falling asleep. So in that sense it has litteraly been a life saver.

    But I have found it treats my ADD as equally well. It has helped me perform better in my career where I otherwise would have been distracted and gone off track and struggle to complete assignments. Provigil has had a profoundly positive impact on my quality of life and ability to provide for my family.

    I have experienced many of the positive side affects of the medication, improved memory, ability to focus, more driven. The negative side affects have been negligble.

    There was a time my Dr recommended that I change to Nuvugil in 2009, which I didn’t understand because modafinil was working well, but I tried it. On the surface it seemed similar, but over a period of several months depression snuck up on me, which I have never before experienced, and don’t have a history of. It literally took me months to figure out that my uncharacteristic negative attitude was actually depression and caused by changing my medication. This caused some radical life changing decisions to take place in regards to career and family. I was able to get things back on track after changing back to modafinil.

    I later realized that the timing of my Drs recommendation came at the end of the patent period for provigil. So generic options of modafinil where now available, reducing profits for the pharma. The company that held the patent on provigil came out with Nuvigil with a new patent. I speculate that the Dr was incentivised to have his provigil patients move to Nuvigil. Lesson learned.

    I have never tried medication for treatment of my ADD, but Modafinil for treatment of ADD has been very positive for me, to the point I am more concerned about treating my ADD with it. The benefits of treating my narcolepsy are a positive side affect. Don’t get me wrong, I need to treat my narcolepsy, it’s not good to fall asleep driving, or when you are in boardroom meetings.

    I do drink alcohol regularly, and at times heavily. I haven’t noticed any problems on interactions. I am 6’2 250lbs 42 yo and am in relatively good health. Been taking since I was 30.

    One negative thing that is more behavioral on my part is that I started early on taking zolpidem in the evenings to help me go to sleep. I now have a dependency on zolpidem that I need to resolve. Looking back, I feel I could have corrected my sleeping by other means and behaviorial choices. So just be careful you don’t go down that path.

    As Marcin stated above, it isn’t going to magicaly make you focus on the things you should be focused on, you need to make choices on what to focus on. But it sure helps clear up thoughts considerably and allow you to focus, be more creative, understand complex problems and contribute to teams. And otherwise actively participate in life around you and minimizing ADD distractions. It may even enhance the positive characteristics that come along with ADD.

  4. Been taking this for like 8 days. I agree what was said that it can make you dive in to your bad habbits even more. Now Im wasting more time on the internet. But i think it helps with focus a little. Not a miracle drug. today for instance i didnt take it and I dont feel so sharp, I feel like it was said as I borrowed the energy from today by taking yesterdays dose . I dont know if i will continue to take it because i dont like not being sharp. Positive side is that it has little abuse potential, even though it can be addictive. I am a recovering addict and i loved to do stimulants so i have to be careful. I dont mean to be the bearer of bad news. but there is a study that said that it slows reaction time and decreases creativity. I noticed this the first time i took it, when my mom asked me a simple math question and I was expecting to be super-sharp (which would happen if i’d taken ritalin for instance) and I was super slow, I was baffled. I was expecting to be quick to have the answer and i didn’t know it. I also took it one day that i happened to play soccer on and noticed i was slower in my movements.

  5. Very good for unmotivated types, like myself. Decreased appreciate, but need to drink plenty of water. Prefer over the stimulants, as they can be addicting, and made me want to take more than prescribed.Oversll,I’m very happy I found this medication.

  6. Recently i have been diagnosed with adult adhd(age 28 yrs), Iam from India, I have been prescribed inspiral(methylphenidate) 10mg,modafinil 100 mg. For five days i have to take one inspiral and 1/2 modafinil tablet, thereafter inspiral twice a day and 1 modafinil. Can any expert tell me whether i have been given right medication or not. I want to come out of it ASAP. Also guide me how to cope with it to manage further life.

  7. My ADD (cocurrent anxiety) lay hidden under the trauma of child abuse and later PTSD for 61 years. When I did start treatment Ritalin super charged my rumination and in response my doctor raised my SSRI medication.

    That combo ended badly.

    Mirtazapine replaced Zoloft and I spent the next year titrating Ritalin downward toward doses of 2.5mg four times a day. While concentration and focuss improved the benefit was lost to rumination on past trauma which continued to spiral out of control.

    Then in March this year I tried 50mg of Modafinil. Within 12 hours the mind bending rumination ceased. Yes it was almost that cut and dry.

    Go figure!

    Over the following months including with professional help I gradually began to re establish trust in myself and others. Soon after I started and maintain a regular exercise regime. Next I put a list in my pocket of words associated with joy which I refer to regularly. Soon I discovered that the agony of writing had turned on its head into a joyful and coherent pursuit. More recently expressing gratitude has become another healthy habit along a return to church where I express that gratitude with like minded others. All this culminated last week in a game changer decision that altered how my mind reacts to Ritalin.

    I resolutely resolved that it is NOT the ‘boogey man’ waiting behind the next life event – but God. Now if you grew up with monsters you’ll appreciate how one might fall into a fearful mind set – I certainly had and it impacted my life in many negative ways.

    On a hunch I tried Ritalin again. I tried it for three days – more than enough to trigger fear. Other than my back feeling like it was on fire I found myself fear free and focussed. That said, for me modafinil is a smooth shiraz whereas ritalin is more like rot gut whisky – both can chill me but one leaves a monster hang over!

    Satisfied that how I think can alter how medication helps or hinders I have returned to my daily 50mg of Modafinil.

    Or as I affectionately call it – MOD

  8. In my experience, Modafinil (Provigil) is the best medication i’ve tried for treating my ADD. I am 42 years old, and was diagnosed ADD at 15 years old. Over the years, i’ve tried a hand full of medications for treating it. I always ended up going back to adderall because it really did work the best for me. There were still cons though… ie. Tolerance build up, the drop off when the medication wore off. I’d have to go off it periodically, and i was left struggling with Adult ADD at those times. At times i’d also feel the Adderall could be too harsh on my system, which is another reason i’d take breaks.
    Then my Dr prescribed Provigil 2 times a day. It had all the benefits i got with Adderall and none of pitfalls. It was a win / win situation! Then I changed my health insurance plan, and the Dr who prescribed me the Provigil, no longer took my insurance. The new Dr i’m seeing for about a year now, won’t prescribe Provigil to me because it isn’t FDA approved for ADD. Still trying to find a Dr who will. 😏

  9. For me, Modafinil is a useful tool that I can pick up or put down, with far fewer risks than amphetamines.

    I started taking Modafinil 100 or 200 mg, as needed, a couple of years ago — before I was formally diagnosed with ADHD. I reviewed the medical research, as well as the ‘grey’ literature online. I deliberately searched for critical reports, formal and informal, and found very few. I did, however, find a lot of suprisingly useful guidance in the informal realm (blogs, comments, magazine articles, etc.). Normally, with a background in science and science communication, I would go straight to the peer-reviewed work, but there appears to be so little of it on Modafinil and ADHD. Unfortunately, articles on WebMD, ADDitude, and others are only of limited practical value. (There are some silly pieces on Modafinil out there, but plenty that is well-informed and useful.)

    Once I was fairly sure it was safe and had found a reputable company, I ordered a batch of about 300 tablets. (I live in Australia where Modafinil is illegal to buy without a prescription, but buying it in from from an overseas company is not unlawful.) I’ve found it very useful indeed, and am still working my way through my first batch after nearly two years.

    Since then, I was formally diagnosed and prescribed Dexamphetamine and Clonidine by my psychiatrist. We discussed Modafinil briefly. I was transparent and she indicated that, because amphetamines have stronger data she’s more comfortable prescribing them, which is fair enough. I had previously tried a week’s worth of Ritalin give by a friend and hated it (jaw clenching, awful neck and shoulder pain, etc.), so we didn’t go down that route.

    Dex started out OK-ish: I played around with doses and settled on 40 mg/day in two doses, followed by Clonidine at evenings. That seemed to go fine for a month or so, but wasn’t really doing much that I could see. My productivity improved somewhat, but I was still distracted very easily. After a few weeks, I found the up-and-down of Dex harder and harder to take. The come-down is very unpleasant and remembering to take the next dose is tricky. (I have ADHD, after all!) I was getting irritable, depressed, confused, and very anxious. The anxiety was crippling and the confusion is downright counterproductive! I felt very few benefits, beyond better concentration for an hour or two, but it made my mood and energy highly unpredictable through the day. Clonidine didn’t seem to do much other than calming me a little.

    Modafinil isn’t without limitations and drawbacks. For instance, I find it can sometimes make me more anxious if I’m already feeling nervy, or if I had had too much coffee, but was nothing as bad as the Dex. And I’ve learnt to minimize the anxiety risk if I just halve the dose (to 100 mg/day), avoid coffee (or take it with L-Theanine), go for a twenty-minute walk, or just don’t take it if I feel stressed that day. Taking it with Clonidine also seems to cut out the anxiety. (I first searched for any risks associated with Clonidine and polypharmacy and found none.)

    Importantly, I have never, ever felt any come-down or rebound effects from Modafinil. It’s not addictive, at all, which is a HUGE plus. A few people do become dependent, but I suspect there are other factors at work in those cases, which are rare in any case. I have never felt the need to take Modafinil every day, unless I was trying to push through a really big piece of work. Even then I would take no more than 400 mg in 24 hours, after which no more for at least a few days if not weeks. (I got a headache after taking too much once, so the upper limit of my optimal dosage is pretty clear.) A few times, I’ve found myself a little like I was on hyperdrive, but nothing I couldn’t deal with with a little self-awareness. It’s taken some practice to work out the timing so I get to sleep at night: one dose lasts 12–14 hours, so it’s important to take it early in the day. (It cannot replace sleep!) Otherwise, I’ve had very few problems with it. And, because I have it imported, the cost per dose is fairly low.

    So, now, I’ve started take Modafinil again. This time, I’m using it *with* the minimal Clonidine dose twice a day, so no anxiety so far (two weeks and counting). While the peer-reviewed literature doesn’t seem to recognize the problem of tolerance, experienced users will tell you to take regular breaks to reset your metabolism. For me, I’m trying 200 mg/day no more than 5 days a week, with Clonidine twice a day. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll also discuss it with my psychiatrist the next time we meet. I’m willing to give the amphetamines another go, but confess I am scared off by their high potential for addiction. For now, the Modafinil is proving more helpful, with far fewer side effects, and zero addiction risk.

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