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Precautions and Warnings With Armodafinil

Talk to your healthcare provider about precautions and warnings with armodafinil before starting treatment to find out the possible side effects that may occur. You should also let him or her know if you have high blood pressure, liver disease, or kidney disease before taking armodafinil. Warnings and precautions also include watching out for potential drug interactions and avoiding alcohol while taking the drug.

Armodafinil: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking armodafinil (Nuvigil™) if you have:
 
  • Any heart condition or problem
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
  • Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Armodafinil

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking armodafinil include the following:
 
  • Armodafinil (as well as many other medications) can cause a rare, life-threatening side effect known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Because this problem starts out with a rash, contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any unexplained rash while taking the drug. Because it is impossible to know if the rash will develop into Stevens-Johnson syndrome, your healthcare provider may recommend that you stop taking armodafinil. If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, you should stop taking armodafinil until you receive further instruction.
     
  • The medication is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused. If you feel the need to take more armodafinil than prescribed or for a non-medical reason, please discuss this with your healthcare provider honestly and openly. These may be signs that you might have a problem with armodafinil abuse or dependence.
     
  • Armodafinil can cause severe allergic reactions. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives; itching; wheezing or difficulty breathing; or swelling of the lips, mouth, or throat.
     
  • Even though armodafinil helps people stay awake, it is usually not completely effective at eliminating sleepiness. This can cause problems while driving or operating heavy machinery.
     
  • Some people have experienced psychiatric symptoms (such as anxiety, depression, hallucinations, or suicidal thoughts) while taking armodafinil. Be sure to watch for these side effects. It may be wise to ask someone you trust to watch you carefully for such symptoms, as you may not notice them yourself.
     
  • You should have an accurate and definite diagnosis of narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, or shift worker sleep disorder before taking armodafinil. Many other conditions and sleep disorders can cause excessive sleepiness, so tests may be necessary in order to accurately diagnose your condition.
     
  • When used in people with obstructive sleep apnea, the medication should not be used without appropriate sleep apnea treatment (such as continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP). Armodafinil only improves daytime sleepiness; it has no effect on the actual sleep apnea.
     
  • Armodafinil may not be safe for people with heart problems or high blood pressure. If you have such problems, check with your healthcare provider before taking the drug.
     
  • Armodafinil can interact with a number of different medications (see Drug Interactions With Armodafinil). In particular, the drug can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills, patches, and rings, possibly increasing the risk of pregnancy.
     
  • If you have kidney or liver problems, your body may not handle armodafinil as well as it should. You may need a lower dosage and, in some cases, the drug may not be recommended.
     
  • It is not known if it is safe to drink alcohol while taking armodafinil. Until more information is available, you should avoid alcohol (or at least limit your alcohol intake) while taking the drug.
     
  • Armodafinil is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Nuvigil and Pregnancy).
     
  • It is not known if armodafinil passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Nuvigil and Breastfeeding).
     

Armodafinil for Narcolepsy

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