Provigil (Modafinil)

Provigil (Modafinil) Is

a central nervous system stimulant. Approved in 1998 by the FDA Provigil is a new class of wakefulness promoting drugs. It is less likely to cause jitteriness, anxiety or fatigue than traditional stimulants. It is approved to treat narcolepsy (daytime sleepiness) and its effectiveness is being examined in many diseases including multiple sclerosis, cancer-related fatigue and Parkinson’s disease

Provigil May Work in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and FM Because

many patients have symptoms of ADD, such as lack of attention, poor concentration and Provigil can help with this. Provigil is also prescribed for daytime sleepiness, which many chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)patients have, and obstructive sleep apnea, which some do. A 2012 Spanish study found 30% of children and 20% of adults with ME/CFS had been diagnosed with ADHD.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) /Fibromyalgia Studies

One small double-blinded study found Provigil very modestly improved cognition in ME/CFS. The authors suggested that those chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)patients with excessive daytime sleepiness may benefit.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Physicians Report

Dr. Lapp reports Provigil is safe, offers little risk of habituation and improves fatigue, mental clarity, attention deficits and depression. Dr. Teitelbaum recommends Provigil for energy and daytime sleepiness (narcolepsy). Because he is unclear about its long term effects, however, he prefers Dexedrine. Dr. Natelson finds Provigil helps in about a quarter of his patients, another quarter find no improvement and sensitivity issues preclude it from being used in the remaining half. Dr. Podell also reports that Provigil is effective in a ‘significant minority’ of his patients. Dr. Bateman has found Provigil can worsen sleep in patients with disturbed sleep patterns. One drawback is the high cost. of the drug.


The standard recommended dose is 200 mgs./day taken in the morning.

Side Effects

Provigil has been well tolerated in clinical studies with mild to moderate side effects such as headache, nausea, nervousness, etc. in a small percentage of patients. Serious rash or hypersensitivity reactions may occur in a very small percentage of patients. Click here for more.

This summary was put together by a layman with ME/CFS. It is for informational purposes only. Please discuss any information in this website with your physician.


Lucinda Bateman, MD., 2006. “Tips and Travails of Treatment”, An abridged version of a seminar transcript of a Nov. Lecture in Auckland, New Zealand, by Pat Fero and David Thompson. Provigil

Charles Lapp, MD.,2002. HealthWatch Treatment Guide. On the Effective Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. ImmuneSupport

RxList, The Internet Drug Index: Provigil

Jacob Teitelbaum, 2007. From Fatigued to Fantastic 3rd ec., Avery Press.

elaine May 15, 2013 at 7:16 am

I took this medication for many years as treatment for fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue with wonderful success until my insurance denied coverage. My condition has recently worsened and I would like to start taking provigil again but I can’t get my rheumatologist to even consider it. I was unable to actually speak with her one on one to discuss my previous success with this medication but received only a scripted message from one of her staff. What steps can I take to have my doctor consider this medication for treatment of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue?

MA September 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I had CFS for 15 years – modafinil changed my life – it works.

marge December 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Hello- I never reply on sites but your plea is so similar to one I had would still have but my Pain management Dr. is the one to tell me about this Provigil (now in generic-!!!!) so we can afford it. The Rhuematologist thought I was nuts to want to try it so the cycle of over doing it and then crashing is very important to keep in consideration. This type of med draws energy out of you remember, so I suggest to consider what I did and my Dr. then approved it as I so needed some help w/ shopping, driving and basic life chores. I take half of the dose, take as early in the AM as possible as it WILL keep you awake if you sleep issues as I do. I also do not use it daily!! My dr. says okay to do this- I use it for special occasions and plan to sleep more the day after- but it can be great to get one
going after a too long bout of being down/in bed. It is similar to pushing the restart button and using it this way has worked for me. It can definitely interfere w/ sleeping or naps, which is what and the why I choose to take the RX. I need to get UP and get going and live like a human being…………….I had to really research all of this myself and my past knowledge of being in a support group for Pain twenty yrs. ago was a big help as I realized I had to be my own hero! It is a challenge as I am now older and in a downsized life. But it is very satisfying to realize you accomplished such a goal is very important also! Good wishes.

Joseph A. Stone August 25, 2014 at 10:11 am

The first thought that comes too mind is to call and remind your physician who they work for. The second thought would be to tell the physician you are going to write a letter to the Department of Professional Regulations (in your state) apprising them of the difficulty in getting your Dr. to communicate with over your medical issue.
By doing this you are stating you will be leaving a permanent mark in their medical jacket which will follow them around for the rest of their medical career.
My seem a little ungracious but in retrospect they are not being fair to your condition, are they?

Pat Letts March 3, 2015 at 6:11 pm

I want to know why the FDA won’t put Modafinil in the formula section for CFIDS since it helps decrease certain symptoms of CFIDS.
There are types of medications prescribed for arthritis that aren’t cures but for symptom relief and that seems to be ok.
Also, why did the makers of Provigil decide to constantly hike the price of both Provigil and Modafinil to an absurd amount that insurers won’t pay for all of a sudden.
What the heck is going on here?
I can hardly get anything done without it. I have CFIDS.

Comments on this entry are closed.