Armodafinil

Armodafinil is classified as a wakefulness-promoting agent and works by altering certain chemicals in the brain that control wakefulness and sleep.

Overview

Armodafinil (brand name Nuvigil) is used for treating fatigue caused by narcolepsy (a condition that causes extreme daytime sleepiness), shift work sleep disorder and obstructive sleep apnea. This medicine helps patients suffering from shift work sleep issues to stay focused during normal working hours. It also aids such people to have usual sleep routines. Additionally, this medication is used in combination with breathing devices and other drugs to treat sleep apnea (a condition where a person stops breathing for a moment or breaths shallowly during sleep). Armodafinil belongs to a class of drugs known as wakefulness-promoting agents and essentially works by affecting certain chemical substances in the brain that control wakefulness and sleep.

It’s important, however, to know that this medication may not completely eliminate sleepiness or sleep disorders in patients. If you are suffering from any sleeping disorder, you should know that no medication can replace getting enough sleep. Also, this drug should not be used to treat general fatigue or used to remedy conditions created by people holding off sleep. Instead, it should only be used by people who suffer from sleeping disorders. If you don’t suffer from any sleep disorder, then you are advised to have enough sleep to cure any sleep issues you may have. Talk to your doctor for more information on how to use this medication properly.

Conditions treated:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Shift work disorder
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Type of medicine:

  • Wakefulness-promoting agent

Side effects

Generally, it’s rare for patients to experience side effects while using this drug. However, there are people who experience serious side effects while taking this medication. Talk to your doctor or seek medical attention if you experience the following side effects while taking this medication.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction such as rashes, hives, itchy skin, swollen skin, peeling skin, fever, wheezing, having difficulty breathing, tightness in the throat or chest, unusual hoarseness, swelling on the face, mouth, lips, tongue or throat. Talk to your healthcare provider if you notice any allergic reaction while using this medicine. Allergic reactions tend to be dangerous, thus should be addressed fast through medical intervention.

Symptoms of liver issues like dark urine, fatigue, stomach upset, light-colored stool, vomiting, yellow eyes or skin and not feeling hungry. If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms do not hesitate to inform your physician for further advice and direction.

  • Low mood (depression), suicide thoughts, anxiety, nervousness or lack of interest in life.
  • Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that don’t exist)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Feeling confused
  • Very bad headache
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fever or chills
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Feeling weak or very tired
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in legs or arms
  • Any unexplained bleeding or bruising.

The above-mentioned side effects are not common but occur depending on the person taking this medication. If you notice any of the symptoms above while taking this drug, speak with your doctor immediately for medical action to be taken. Your doctor will assess the veracity and severity of the side effects before deciding whether to prescribe you more medication or not.

Less serious side effects

It’s crucial to note that most medicine usually causes side effects. However, not all people are affected by side effects in the same way. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these side effects and they don’t go away after using armodafinil for some time:

  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling excitable
  • Inability to sleep
  • Dizziness
  • Loose stools (diarrhea)
  • Upset stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Back pain

Additionally, using armodafinil may cause a serious skin reaction known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome in some patients. This condition should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible because it can cause death if left untreated for a long period.

This is not the entire list of all side effects that may occur while using this medicine. Other unwanted effects may occur so it’s always important to talk to your doctor if you notice any undocumented side effects. You should also consult the printed leaflet that comes with this medication to learn all the possible side effects associated with taking this medicine.

It’s crucial not to forget that your doctor prescribed armodafinil because he or she thinks it can remedy your sleepiness issues. You should, therefore, be prepared to handle side effects that come with the medication because the benefits generally outweigh the risk involved. However, if you experience an allergic reaction or a number of severe side effects after using this medicine, talk to your doctor urgently for help. The doctor may discontinue this medication if it adversely affects your overall health. He or she may decide to prescribe another medication to treat your sleep disorder.

Dosage

This medication comes in the form of tablets and is taken orally. The recommended adult dosage is between 150-250 mg once a day. Healthcare professionals recommend that you take this medication in the morning as opposed to other times of the day. For patients suffering from work shift disorder, the medicine should be taken 1 hour prior to starting work. This is enough time to allow the body to absorb this medication optimally.

This medicine should be taken orally with a glass of water. You can also use other sweeteners such as apple juice to take this medication. If you don’t like swallowing tablets whole, crush them before taking them with water or other sweeteners like apple juice.

Follow all the instructions printed on the medicine’s package. Also, always take the medication at the same time each day if possible. It’s recommended that you don’t take more or less of this medicine at any given time; instead, follow the directions of your doctor.

Only stop using this medicine if they advise you to do so. Your pharmacist will provide you with a special med guide with plenty of important information about armodafinil. Ensure you set aside time to read this crucial guide.

Consult your doctor on whether this medication is safe for children under the age of 18. Armodafinil may be used for treating a number of conditions in children but should be used under the permission of the doctor. This medication can be taken alone or in combination with food.

If you miss a dose, take the next dose as per your dosing schedule. Don’t take two doses at once to compensate for the missed dose. In case of drug overdose, contact your local poison center immediately for assistance. In circumstances where a victim collapses because of overdosing on armodafinil, call 911 for emergency help.

Signs of drug overdose may include:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Disorientation
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinating (hearing or seeing things that are not real)
  • Slow heartbeat or fast heartbeat

Use armodafinil only as instructed by your physician. Do not alter the dosage or frequency of use as this may increase the chances of your body absorbing too much medication and causing severe side effects. Follow all the dosage instructions to the letter if you want to be safe.

Interactions:

Tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking or intend to use. This is to ensure that you don’t suffer from severe side effects that may be caused by two or more drugs interacting. Drug interactions can cause serious side effects so it’s not advisable to take drugs that interact with each other. However, there are some circumstances where the doctor may prescribe two drugs that interact with one another. You should not use armodafinil together with the following drugs:

  • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Gengraf, Sandimmune)
  • Propranolol (Inderal)
  • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • Rifabutin (Mycobutin)
  • St. John's Wort
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rifater, Rifamate)
  • Rifapentine (Priftin)
  • Dalfopristin
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
  • Quinupristin (Synercid)
  • Tegretol
  • Erythromycin (EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin)
  • Telithromycin (Ketek)
  • Nefazodone
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Voriconazole (Vfend)
  • Butabarbital (Butisol)
  • Secobarbital (Seconal)
  • Pentobarbital (Nembutal)
  • Phenobarbital (Solfoton)
  • Efavirenz (Atripla, Sustiva)
  • Etravirine (Intelence)
  • Nevirapine (Viramune)
  • Ritonavir (Norvir)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Midazolam (Versed)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Carbamazepine (Carbatrol)
  • Felbamate (Felbatol)
  • Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Primidone (Mysoline)
  • Amphetamine or dextroamphetamine
  • Dexmethylphenidate or methylphenidate
  • Carbex
  • Eldepryl
  • Nardil
  • Parnate
  • Pemoline
  • Procarbazine
  • Marplan

The list above contains medications that interact with armodafinil. Talk to your doctor for more information about all the possible drugs that interact with this medicine as the list isn’t complete. Additionally, inform your doctor about all the over-the-counter drugs, herbal solutions, vitamins and supplements that you use or intend to use. Don’t take any medication without the permission of a doctor while using armodafinil.

Warnings:

Inform your doctor if you’ve ever taken an excessive amount of alcohol or street drugs. Patients with a history of drug and alcohol dependence are likely to become addicted to this medication. The doctor will assess your situation and make a decision whether to administer Armodafinil or not.

Tell your physician if you’ve ever experienced an irregular heartbeat or any other heart conditions after taking stimulants. Also, let your doctor know if you suffer from diseases such as high blood pressure, depression, psychosis, liver disease or kidney disorder while taking this medication. The use of this medication may not be appropriate if you are dealing with other medical conditions such as the ones mentioned above.

It is crucial to know that Armodafinil can decrease the efficacy of hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills, rings, patches, injects, intrauterine devices and implants. As such, it’s critical to consult your physician on contraceptive use while using this medicine. Your doctor will conduct a medical examination on you before recommending a birth control appropriate to your condition.

Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant before using this medicine. Also consult your physician if you are breastfeeding. Using armodafinil if you are breastfeeding can affect the health of your newborn.

Speak with your doctor if you plan to undergo dental surgery while taking this medication.

It’s also crucial to know that armodafinil can affect your thinking, judgment and movement. As such, don’t drive a vehicle or operate machinery if the effects of the drug are visible.

Do not take alcohol while using this medication.

This drug can remedy several sleep disorders but it’s by no means a replacement for having ample sleep. As such, ensure you have enough sleep as much as you can while using this medication.

Stop taking this medication and seek urgent medical intervention if you notice any side effects that you are not familiar with.

Show up to regular meetings with your doctor to assess your condition while taking this medication. All the effects of using armodafinil may not be visible so it’s a good idea to meet with the doctor often for more tests.

This medication can affect your concentration, focus and brain function. As such seek advice from your doctor while using this medication. Also, patients taking this drug may manage to conceal fatigue.

There is no evidence of interaction between this medication and caffeine. Consult your doctor about caffeine use while using this medicine. Your doctor may advise you to limit the intake or caffeine drinks or advise you to stop drinking caffeine altogether.

Storage

Keep this medication away from the reach of children. Make sure that the container storing the medication is tightly closed. Additionally, ensure that you safely store your medications in a place that doesn’t have too much heat or moisture. Avoid storing this medication in your bathroom because such a place is quite moist. Keep track of all the tablets in your container too in order to establish if all your drugs are intact.

You should be careful when disposing of this medication. This medication should be disposed of in the right way so as to avoid other people or pets from accessing and consuming it. Talk to your local pharmacist or garbage collector for more information on how to dispose of this medication safely. The ideal way of disposing of such medication is to use a drug take-back program in your locality. You can also do a bit of research online to understand how you can safely get rid of such types of drugs. Check out the FDA’s site for more info.

Summary

Armodafinil is used for treating excessive sleepiness condition caused by narcolepsy (a condition that makes a patient feel sleepy during the day), sleep apnea (a sleep disorder where patients momentarily stop breathing while asleep as well as breathe shallowly during sleep) and work shift disorder (where patients feel sleepy during work hours). The medication belongs to a class of medications known as wakefulness-promoting agents and works by positively affecting a certain chemical in the brain that organizes sleep and wakefulness.

Patients taking armodafinil to treat sleep disorders are likely to experience a myriad of side effects. Some of the common side effects that can occur as a result of taking armodafinil include headaches, feeling dizzy, having difficulty in falling asleep and nausea. Rare but possible side effects of taking this medicine include depression, trouble breathing, rash, diarrhea, dry mouth, and excessive urination, loss of appetite, nervousness, etc. Talk your doctor for more information on all side effects that you could potentially experience while using this medicine.

Armodafinil is available in the form of tablets and is administered orally. The dosage requirements are simple to follow as one should take between 150-250 mg of the medication once per day. The medicine should be taken at the same time each day, preferably in the morning. Follow the information printed on the leaflet that comes with the medication for clear dosage instructions. You shouldn’t take more or less of the medication at any time unless you are given permission by your doctor. Do not stop using this medicine unless your physician instructs you to do so.

Armodafinil interacts with lots of medicines so it’s important to be informed. Inform the doctor about all prescription and nonprescription medications that you are using or plan to use. Your doctor should be able to give you a sizable list of drugs that interact with armodafinil. In addition, it’s important to inform your doctor if you are suffering from other medical conditions while using this drug. Also, tell your doctor if you usually consume alcohol or other street drugs prior to using this medication. If pregnant, inform your doctor before using armodafinil.

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Last Reviewed:
December 22, 2017
Last Updated:
December 22, 2017
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