Why is this medication prescribed?
Modafinil is used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy (a condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness) or shift work sleep disorder (sleepiness during scheduled waking hours and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during scheduled sleeping hours in people who work at night or on rotating shifts). Modafinil is also used along with breathing devices or other treatments to prevent excessive sleepiness caused by obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS; a sleep disorder in which the patient briefly stops breathing or breathes shallowly many times during sleep and therefore doesn’t get enough restful sleep). Modafinil is in a class of medications called wakefulness promoting agents. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the area of the brain that controls sleep and wakefulness.
How should this medicine be used?
Modafinil comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. If you are taking modafinil to treat narcolepsy or OSAHS, you will probably take it in the morning. If you are taking modafinil to treat shift work sleep disorder, you will probably take it 1 hour before the beginning of your work shift. Take modafinil at the same time every day. Do not change the time of day that you take modafinil without talking to your doctor. Talk to your doctor if your work shift does not begin at the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take modafinil exactly as directed.
Modafinil may be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
Modafinil may decrease your sleepiness, but it will not cure your sleep disorder. Continue to take modafinil even if you feel well-rested. Do not stop taking modafinil without talking to your doctor.
Modafinil should not be used in place of getting enough sleep. Follow your doctor’s advice about good sleep habits. Continue to use any breathing devices or other treatments that your doctor has prescribed to treat your condition, especially if you have OSAHS.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking modafinil,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to modafinil, armodafinil (Nuvigil), or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); certain antidepressants such as amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil); certain antifungals such as itraconazole (Sporanox) and ketoconazole (Nizoral); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); diazepam (Valium); certain medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, and phenytoin (Dilantin); monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate); propranolol (Inderal); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); and triazolam (Halcion). Many other medications may also interact with modafinil, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, use or have ever used street drugs, or have overused prescription medications, especially stimulants. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, or other heart problems after taking a stimulant, and if you have or have ever had high blood pressure; a heart attack; chest pain; a mental illness such as depression, mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood), or psychosis (difficulty thinking clearly, communicating, understanding reality, and behaving appropriately); or heart, liver, or kidney disease.
- you should know that modafinil may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, rings, implants, injections, and intrauterine devices). Use another form of birth control while taking modafinil and for 1 month after you stop taking it. Talk to your doctor about types of birth control that will work for you during and after your treatment with modafinil.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking modafinil, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking modafinil.
- you should know that modafinil may affect your judgment or thinking and may not completely relieve the sleepiness caused by your disorder. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. If you avoided driving and other dangerous activities because of your sleep disorder, do not start performing these activities again without talking to your doctor even if you feel more alert.
- be aware that you should avoid drinking alcohol while taking modafinil.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while you are taking this medication.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
You should skip the missed dose. Wait until the next time you are supposed to take modafinil, and then take your normal dose. If you take modafinil too late in your waking day, you may find it harder to go to sleep. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.