Armodafinil (also called Nuvigil) is a wakefulness-promoting oral drug that is approved by the FDA for use in patients with sleep disorders, where they are experiencing excessive sleepiness.
While this drug is similar to Provigil (modafinil), armodafinil is different in that while they have similar half lives, this drug reaches its peak concentration in the blood later than Provigil. This makes armodafinil more effective at improving wakefulness in patients who are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness or Narcolepsy. Armodafinil works quite similar to how Modafinil works.
For individuals with Narcolepsy, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Work Shift Sleep Disorder, jet lag, and other problems where they experience excessive sleepiness in the daytime, as a part of their disorder, or during their work schedule, Armodafinil can help them stay awake, alert, and fight off the effects of drowsiness.
Armodafinil is approved by the FDA for the treatment of the following disorders, in the following doses:
- Narcolepsy: 150 mg or 250 mg dose, once daily, taken in the morning as a single dose
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: 150 mg or 250 mg dose, once daily, taken in the morning as a single dose
- Shift Work Sleep Disorder: 150 mg dose one hour prior to starting work
While using armodafinil to treat the effects of jet lag is off-label and the FDA has declined to approve it for this use, it is commonly used for this purpose as well.
The biological half life is between 12 to 15 hours.
Long-term use of armodafinil has been accepted for sleep disorders such as Narcolepsy and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It is ranked as a low liability for psychological or physical dependency.
As a Schedule IV drug, it is controlled and is given only with a prescription.
Short-term use of armodafinil has been popular for the treatment of Shift Work Sleep Disorder, where an individual works late night/grave shift or other work conditions that make sleep difficult to regulate. It helps keep these individuals alert and awake so that their natural sleepiness kicks in on a natural schedule.
Patients with excessive daytime sleepiness find great use of armodafinil in that it abates their exhaustion and sleepiness during the day and allows them to work and live as normally as possible.
While off-label, people also use this drug short term for jet lag in order to stay awake until they can reset their sleep schedule to the new time zone.
Use for Narcolepsy
One of the main uses of this drug is for the sleep disorder Narcolepsy. Taken once daily in either 150 mg or 250 mg once-a-day doses, armodafinil is ingested in the morning and since it has a longer peak than modafinil/Provigil, it lasts longer throughout the day and is more effective. This is why the FDA has approved this formula as opposed to Provigil, to be prescribed in the US.
Similar to Provigil/modafinil, some people use armodafinil for nootropic uses (as a “smart drug” or cognitive enhancer). While both drugs are used for the off-label use as a cognitive enhancer and “no-dose” type supplement, it does not improve the efficiency of cognition beyond keeping the user alert and awake. This may motivate the user to accomplish more work without tiring, but it has not been proven to work as a “smart drug.”
Armodafinil is also used off-label to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, ADHD, and major depressive disorder.
Reviews have been positive both by medical professionals and users alike. For patients suffering from Narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness, Work Shift Sleep Disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and other sleeping disorders, this drug helps provide a consistent and reliable wakefulness when ingested. This helps patients lead a normal life as it aides them in keeping alert, fending off sleepiness, and allowing them to work.
The most commonly observed side effects of armodafinil include:
- Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Some psychological and physical side effects you should keep an eye out for are:
- Depression, Anxiety
- Hallucinations, Euphoria
- Extreme Increase in Activity and Talking
- Suicidal Thoughts
Research has shown that of the off-label uses as a nootropic has helped air traffic controllers. Air traffic controllers have a demanding and exhausting job. Not only are hours long, but having to keep track of thousands of airplanes and ensuring the safety of tens of thousands of people means constantly being alert and communicating. This is very demanding and armodafinil has been shown to improve vigilance in air traffic controllers.
Armodafinil is the preferred drug by physicians as it is approved by the FDA in the United States (as opposed to Provigil). The stable and reliable effects and half life have shown to improve the lives of those suffering from sleep disorders.
In conclusion, armodafinil (also called Nuvigil) is a relatively safe alternative to treating excessive sleep issues and disorders. With a low physical and psychological dependence liability and use by doctors in order to promote wakefulness in patients with an extreme need, armodafinil has legitimate medical, off-label, and investigational uses.