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Modafinil is a prescription drug that is licensed to treat excessive sleepiness due to sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorder, or narcolepsy. While it is not known exactly how the medication works, it has shown to be effective in promoting wakefulness. Modafinil comes in tablet form and is usually taken once daily. Side effects may include insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, and headache.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil (Provigil®) is a prescription medicine used to help people stay awake. Specifically, it is approved to treat people with excessive sleepiness due to the following:
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep apnea (known medically as obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome or OSAHS)
  • Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), a problem in people who work night shifts or who frequently change between day and night work shifts.
(Click What Is Modafinil Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Possible Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of modafinil include, but are not limited to:
(Click Side Effects of Modafinil to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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