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Modafinil (also called Provigil®) is a medicine that can help you be more awake if you are too sleepy during the day. Doctors prescribe it for conditions called narcolepsy (NARK-uh-lep-see) and hypersomnia (high-per-SAHM-nee-uh).

Modafinil is available in 100 mg and 200 mg tablets to be taken by mouth.

Possible side effects of modafinil

These are the most common side effects of modafinil:

  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea or less interest in eating
  • Not being able to fall asleep
  • Rash – One (1) or 2 in every 100 people taking modafinil will get a rash. If you get one, it might be soon after you start taking the medicine or several weeks later.

If you have any of these side effects, tell the doctor right away:

  • Skin rash, hives, sores in your mouth, or blistered, peeling skin
  • Swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Fever and trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the legs, yellow skin or eyes, or dark urine
  • Fast heartbeat
  • eeling restless, depressed, or moody

If you have any of these, stop taking modafinil and call the doctor right away.

How to take and store modafinil

The St. Jude team will check you often while you are taking this medicine. They might change the dose if you are still too sleepy in the daytime.

Read the directions on the bottle carefully to make sure you take this medicine correctly. You might need to cut the tablets to get the right dose. Ask the pharmacy for a tablet cutter. Store the tablets at room temperature in a dry place. Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children and pets.

Special instructions for modafinil

  • You need your blood pressure and heart rate checked every month while taking this medicine. Talk to your nurse for more information.
  • If you are sexually active, birth control pills and other birth control with hormones might not work as well. Use a second kind of birth control while you are taking this medicine.
  • If you feel nervous or shaky or have a fast heartbeat, try drinking fewer beverages with caffeine in them. These include coffee, cola drinks and some other sodas, energy drinks, and tea. Chocolate also has caffeine in it.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medicine.
  • Do not operate heavy equipment or drive a car until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Give your doctor or pharmacist a list of all the medicines you take. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements, and other supplements. Ask your doctor or pharmacist before you take any new vitamins, herbal supplements, or other medicines. This includes over-the-counter medicines you buy without a doctor’s prescription.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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