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Provigil For ADHD: Can Modafinil Help Manage Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

A newer medication called Provigil (Modafinil), which is used to promote wakefulness (eugeroic), has also been found to help manage symptoms of ADHD. Many people don’t have good experiences with using amphetamines to treat their attention-deficit symptoms, so they turn to other classes of medication that may be effective. Many psychiatrists have prescribed their clients Provigil as an alternative means to treat attention-deficit disorders. Although the rates of success may not be as staggering as amphetamines, Provigil has proven itself to be an effective treatment option.

What is Provigil?

Provigil (Modafinil) is a (wakefulness promoting agent) drug that is used to treat wakefulness disorders associated with narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder. It has been deemed one of the most effective medications of its class and people have had such success with it, that it has been experimented with for the treatment of attnetion-deficit disorders.

Taking Provigil for ADHD: The Benefits

1. Energy

Since this class of medication is used primarily to promote wakefulness, it may give you an extra jolt of energy. Many people with attention-deficit problems have difficulties with energy. Although some may be overly energetic, many struggle with lower arousal and feeling tired or sluggish. This medication can help perk people up.

2. Productivity

It is no wonder that increases in energy will lead to increases in productivity. If you have more energy to get things done, you probably are going to work on more things. Many high-profile business executives use this medication as a means to help them get an edge by getting more done.

3. Alertness

Most people that take Provigil notice that they feel more alert. This is because the drug is used primarily for individuals with narcolepsy to help them stay awake. It promotes vigilance and will help keep your brain as alert as possible. Some people with ADHD struggle with staying alert.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21997802

4. Cognition

In individuals with attention-deficit problems, many struggle with low arousal. In other words, their brain isn’t producing enough high frequency brain waves to help them focus. Provigil will increase overall arousal in the nervous system, which in turn has been shown to improve cognition.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12417966

5. Focus

It should be noted that not everyone may experience an increase in focus while on this medication, but some do. Most people will notice a reduction in ADD and ADHD symptoms, but the extent to which focus improves is not likely going to be the same as it would on a medication like Adderall. However, most people report that they are able to focus better as a result of reductions in their symptoms of hyperactivity.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18280848

What subtype of ADHD should you have to use Provigil?

The research indicates that it doesn’t matter what subtype of attention-deficit disorder you have – all have shown improvements with this medication. Obviously logic would lead us to believe that it would be most effective in someone with an ADD rooted in lower arousal as opposed to someone that is experiencing hyperactivity as a result of overstimulation. If you took this medication and are already over-stimulated as a result of fast-wave brain activity, it may provoke extreme anxiety and/or you may experience hyperarousal. This would feel uncomfortable.

Is Provigil safe for ADHD?

Most researchers believe that taking Provigil is safe, but the long-term effects are still being researched. Obviously if you would rather take another medication to treat your ADHD, the amphetamine class of drugs like Adderall has been extensively researched and are considered among the safest medications.

Some researchers suggest that consistent usage of Provigil may end up interfering with slow wave sleep. One researcher went on to say that extended usage of this medication may develop the same deficits in slow wave sleep as “cocaine users.” This is not a claim, per se, just a hypothesis that may want to be taken into consideration. Another hypothesis is that it may damage our ability to form long-term memories.

Of course anytime you take a relatively newer medication, you are putting yourself at risk. However, if you use it properly in accordance with your doctor’s rules, you should be alright. Most people that take this medication need it for narcolepsy. The new usage of this medication for attention-deficit disorders has received a lot of buzz in the media, but more research needs to be conducted regarding the long-term effects of Provigil.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Phillip Smith February 28, 2015, 11:59 am

    Thanks for this, I’m always trying to find better ways to manage my ADHD. Being in South Africa makes it very difficult to receive the correct treatment as Ritalin doesn’t seem to work well for my exact condition. I now have Provigil, and have been prescribed 200mg at night along with a lower dose of Concerta (54mg).

  • Warrick January 19, 2016, 8:25 pm

    Hi. I’m also in South Africa. I have found that a combination of Ritalin and Provigil works very well for me. Problem is that stock is sometimes hard to come by. I always try to buy extra when there is stock and stock up on it in case the suppliers run short. Big problem is that the med aids won’t recognize Provigil as a chronic medication, or even narcolepsy as a condition. Regards

  • Adam June 13, 2016, 5:39 pm

    I have never tried branded Provigil but Modalert which I bought from “Sunmodalert” is really an amazing drug. Took 2 days ago around 8am 200mg modalert, studied whole day and then in the night another 200mg around 3am, made then 2 exams the following day. It definitely worked for me.

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