Nuvigil vs. Provigil

What's the Difference?

Nuvigil and Provigil are both medications used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. They belong to a class of drugs called wakefulness-promoting agents and contain the same active ingredient, armodafinil or modafinil, respectively. While they have similar mechanisms of action, Nuvigil is considered a longer-lasting medication, providing wakefulness for up to 15 hours compared to Provigil's 12-hour duration. Additionally, Nuvigil is often prescribed at a lower dosage than Provigil due to its potency. However, individual responses to these medications may vary, and it is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable option.


Brand NameNuvigilProvigil
Generic NameArmodafinilModafinil
UsageTreats excessive sleepiness caused by sleep disorders (e.g., narcolepsy, sleep apnea)Treats excessive sleepiness caused by sleep disorders (e.g., narcolepsy, sleep apnea)
ClassificationWakefulness-promoting agentWakefulness-promoting agent
Duration of Action12-15 hours10-12 hours
Half-life15 hours12-15 hours
Dosage FormsTabletTablet
Available Strengths50 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 250 mg100 mg, 200 mg
Common Side EffectsHeadache, nausea, dizziness, insomniaHeadache, nausea, dizziness, insomnia

Further Detail


Nuvigil and Provigil are two popular medications used to treat sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. Both drugs belong to a class of medications known as wakefulness-promoting agents, and they have similar mechanisms of action. However, there are some differences between Nuvigil and Provigil that may make one more suitable for certain individuals than the other. In this article, we will explore the attributes of Nuvigil and Provigil, comparing their efficacy, side effects, dosing, and cost.


When it comes to efficacy, both Nuvigil and Provigil have been shown to be effective in improving wakefulness and reducing excessive daytime sleepiness. They work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which play a role in promoting wakefulness. Clinical studies have demonstrated that both medications significantly improve wakefulness compared to placebo.

However, some studies suggest that Nuvigil may have a longer duration of action compared to Provigil. This means that Nuvigil may provide a more sustained wakefulness effect throughout the day, while Provigil may have a shorter duration of action and may require additional doses to maintain wakefulness.

Side Effects

Both Nuvigil and Provigil are generally well-tolerated medications, but they can still cause side effects. The most common side effects reported with both drugs include headache, nausea, dizziness, and insomnia. These side effects are usually mild and transient.

However, there are some differences in the side effect profiles of Nuvigil and Provigil. For example, Nuvigil has been associated with a higher incidence of psychiatric side effects, such as anxiety and agitation, compared to Provigil. On the other hand, Provigil has been associated with a higher incidence of gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea and upset stomach, compared to Nuvigil.

It is important to note that both medications can rarely cause more serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions or skin rashes. If any unusual or severe side effects occur, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.


When it comes to dosing, Nuvigil and Provigil have some differences. Nuvigil is available in 150 mg and 250 mg tablets, while Provigil is available in 100 mg and 200 mg tablets. The recommended starting dose for both medications is usually 150 mg or 200 mg taken orally once daily in the morning.

However, the dosing of Nuvigil may need to be adjusted in individuals with hepatic impairment, as the drug is metabolized in the liver. In contrast, Provigil does not require dose adjustments in individuals with hepatic impairment.

It is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by the healthcare provider and not exceed the recommended dose, as higher doses may increase the risk of side effects without providing additional benefits.


When it comes to cost, Nuvigil and Provigil can be quite expensive medications. Both drugs are brand-name medications and do not have generic versions available. The cost of Nuvigil and Provigil can vary depending on factors such as the dosage strength and the quantity of tablets prescribed.

However, in general, Nuvigil tends to be more expensive than Provigil. This price difference may be a consideration for individuals who are paying out-of-pocket for their medications or have limited insurance coverage.

It is worth noting that there may be generic alternatives available for individuals looking to reduce the cost of their wakefulness-promoting medication. Generic modafinil, which is the active ingredient in Provigil, may be a more affordable option for some individuals.


In conclusion, Nuvigil and Provigil are both effective medications for treating sleep disorders and promoting wakefulness. They have similar mechanisms of action and can improve excessive daytime sleepiness. However, there are some differences between the two drugs in terms of their duration of action, side effect profiles, dosing, and cost.

Ultimately, the choice between Nuvigil and Provigil should be based on individual factors such as the specific sleep disorder being treated, the presence of any comorbidities, and the individual's response to the medication. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine which medication is most suitable for each individual's needs.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.