|Type of medicine||Stimulant|
|Used for||Daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy in adults|
Narcolepsy is a long-term problem that affects your sleep. You feel excessively tired during the daytime but have disturbed night time sleep. You can also have sleep attacks where you fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day without any warning.
Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, modafinil can help to control your symptoms. Modafinil works by stimulating the central nervous system to increase your alertness and reduce excessive sleepiness during the day.
Before taking modafinil
Before taking modafinil make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver, kidney or heart problems.
- If you have high blood pressure or chest pains.
- If you have mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, psychosis or mania.
- If you have ever had a problem with drug or alcohol misuse.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take modafinil
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Take modafinil exactly as your doctor has told you.
- You may take modafinil before or after food. Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water.
- Take modafinil at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
- If you forget to take a dose, do not worry, just take the next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored. You may need to have your blood pressure and heart rate checked regularly.
- Modafinil may cause blurred vision or dizziness in some people and therefore it may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. Sleepiness associated with your condition will also affect your ability to perform these tasks, so do not drive without discussing it first with your doctor.
- Important: Hormonal contraceptives, including oral contraceptive pills, implants, IUDs (intra-uterine devices) and contraceptive patches, may be less effective when used with modafinil. Speak to your doctor about which contraceptive methods are suitable for you while you are taking modafinil and for the two months after you finish taking it.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking modafinil.
Can modafinil cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sugar-free sweets|
|Feeling sick, indigestion, stomach ache||Eat little and often. Stick to simple or bland foods - avoid rich and spicy foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink 6-8 glasses of water each day|
|Dizziness, blurred vision, tiredness||Make sure your reactions are normal before doing anything which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert|
|Flushing, loss of appetite, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, confusion or confused thinking, chest pain, fast heartbeat, numbness or tingling||Speak to your doctor if any of these continue or become troublesome|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
Important: If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking modafinil and contact your doctor for advice straight away:
- A severe rash or blistering of the skin.
- Sudden wheeziness, difficulty in breathing, or any swelling of your face mouth or throat.
- Suicidal thoughts, or thoughts about harming yourself.
How to store modafinil
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Provigil® 100 mg Tablets, Provigil 200 mg Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Provigil® 100 mg Tablets, Provigil 200 mg Tablets, Cephalon (UK) Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2011.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.