Provagil Provigil and Nuvigil - My Latest MS Fatigue Drug Experiment

Image from website, shiftworkdisorder.com
Image from website, shiftworkdisorder.com

Nuvigil, the offshoot of Provigil, is one of the "new" drugs being touted as a weapon to help combat MS-fatigue. Provagil is the most common way Provigil is searched by Google users. Seemed only fitting, therefore, that this misspelling be included in the title. Just for the record however, it is Provigil not Provagil.

Having had no positive effects from a past attempt at using Provigil, I am now experimenting with its successor, Nuvigil and decided it might be beneficial to write about my experience and the drug itself. I dare to hope it will resurrected me back to active status no longer being controlled by an exhaustion so severe it leaves me bedridden too much of the time.

4-Day Trial Results

Nuvigil did not fulfill my hopes. My experiment with the drug has now come to a disappointing end. The side effects were trumped by an apparent allergic reaction to the formula used to produce the drug.

My hoped for fatigue-reducer ended up increasing my fatigue which brings me to one of the ironies of some drugs. They produce the exact effect you are trying to avoid. Nuvigil lists as two of its possible side effects, tiredness and insomnia. So, the drug I hoped would rid me of mind numbing chronic fatigue, could give me insomnia, which of course would make me tired and dare I say it, FATIGUED. How then is Nuvigil useful to me? The answer - it isn't.

Of course, they were not the only side effects I tried to endure. First came the dizziness, followed by diarrhea, nausea and headaches. I was willing to put up with the early side effects in the hope that they would subside after a couple of days. Unfortunately, in my case the side effects intensified. It became clear on day 4 that this was not going to be a match I would be able to live with. Just as my husband and I discussed and concluded I would quit taking the drug, later that night I began to break out with terrible itching. Itching and/or hives is listed as one of the side effects that would cause immediate discontinuation.

HOPES DASHED

In the beginning of this short-lived experiment, I was very excited because I could feel a slight energy increase. By day 2 I was sure of the improvement. I anxiously, but optimistically awaited day 3, which for reasons still unknown to me, found the drug no longer providing anything but negative side effects. As my energy level returned to its previous mark, the side effects of the drug became more intense and what were occasional waves of discomfort became rolling tides of nausea and dizziness and diarrhea. I went from excited and enthusiastic, to disappointed and forlorn, feeling deserted and left to fend for myself by this drug I hoped would be my ally against the fatigue.

In Recovery Mode

Apparently, all I managed to achieve with my Nuvigil experiment, was to make myself more tired and more physically ill than had I left Nuvigil alone. My system is ridding itself of the drug and I do feel better as it leaves my system.

I must handle the increased fatigue, which will not relent just because the drug has left my building. It takes total bed rest to build my system back up to sheer exhaustion, so I am in the process of doing this as I type

I know other people with MS have had success with either Provigil or Nuvigil. I don't know why my body won't respond. I no doubt ask the same questions other MSers ask, who can't find the right drug to fight their fatigue.

Meanwhile, I will continue with my supplements and am considering one last try with one last known drug that has been successful in helping fatigue. That decision isn't final, as I find myself in recuperation mode, not ready to put my system through anything else just yet.

A Final Note

In conclusion, I should mention that it has been purported that shift workers benefit from Nuvigil as well as some who have narcolepsy or other sleeping disorders. So while the drug was not a success with me, it is being used successfully by others.

No doubt the manufacturers are happy that this new version of an old drug is being tried and even recommended by so many professionals. Their patent is about to expire and if Nuvigil is accepted, their profits will continue.

For those of us who just want relief not profits, this type of process can be depleting on one's sense of hope. Hope is best suited when it springs eternal, but when met with continued failure, one can't help but wonder if acceptance wouldn't provide a better fit.

I guess we all have to do some serious soul searching on an individual basis to come with the answer. Right now I am leaning towards acceptance as my best fit. Maybe that is only because the present failure is still very fresh in my mind. Perhaps, given some time and improved health, I will find my hope again and dare to dream once more that there is a drug out there for MS-related fatigue, with my name on it. 

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28 comments

Prince Bariya 3 years ago

well, provigil product are useless because i used this product last 5 months but i don't get any satisfaction from using this medicine. it is also gain many side effects like weakness, depression etc. it also waste my money and much more i suggest all people please do not purchase this provigil product because this are useless and meaning full and waste your money.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 4 years ago from Delaware Author

dani, thanks for the information and letting me know what works for you. I am sure it will be helpful to anyone reading your comment.


dani 4 years ago

I combine the drug with melatonin before night.

Also at daytime I take magnesium malate and methylcobalamin 5000mcg to counteract fatigue as much as possible. Google the info.


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Jen's Solitude 4 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi beth, sorry for the delay. I don't have a relevant answer for you but I do know where you can get one. This is the url to another MS forum

http://www.braintalkcommunities.org/forumdisplay.p...

I am a member and know for a fact there is a very knowledgeable nurse who can give her expert input along with a fellow MSer who has combined pills in order to get through her work day.

I think if you post your question there, you can get some helpful suggestions. If I see your question I will give it a bump if there are no timely replies.


beth 4 years ago

I am trying to figure out a way to use adderall and privilege timed ththru the day to help me on work days with fatigue and focus. I am an RN and I love my work but the stress physically and mentally is debilitating. I refused to give in! It brings so u much to my life, as well as a wonderful husband and 2I kids even more. Does anyone use these in combination?


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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Melisa. I totally enjoyed reading about your experience with adderal and I am so glad you were also able to enjoy a release from the mind-numbing fatigue. I can't imagine being a mother of 3 with the kind of fatigue that plaques us. I am glad you are now able to do enough to feel better about yourself. Just as I am sure even at your weakest you are never truly useless. (smile) Have a good weekend with your family!


Melisa 6 years ago

Jen,

I had the exact same response when my neuro changed me from provigil (which was no longer working) to nuvigil. With 3 kids, ranging from 1 yr to 10 yrs, I could not afford to be "useless" at best. So, after being told there were NO OTHER meds that could help and that i would have to get used to the fatigue and learn to live with it, I changed neuros. My new, I love, put me on Adderal, 20 mg/day, which did not work. He then changed the dosage to 40 mg-60 mg/day, which i can decide if i need the extra 20 mg a day or if the 40 mg is good enough. Although it has not put me into the category of "normal", it has brought me out of the "useless" category, most days. I still cannot do the things I used to and have been forced to realize that I am not superwoman, but at least i can help my kids with their homework and cook dinner. It has made a world of difference for me.

I sincerely hope that you continue to see success from the prozac, but thought I would give you my experience with the adderal.


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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Sorry to read we share a similar experience, Looking. I was finally helped with an oldie but goody, Prozac. LOL Have you tried it, by chance?


Looking 6 years ago

Thank you for posting this. I, too, had extremely high hopes for Nuvigil after trying many things for my severe fatigue presumably due to Lupus. I had horrible side effects, but worse, it made me more tired. I'm glad I'm not alone, but I'm sorry this was your experience. Thanks for sharing.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Adderall is what I was considering before the Prozac showed its effectiveness. Finding the right treatment for fatigue is a challenge. Especially when your tired while you try to research. LOL I hope Adderall helps you, keep me posted.


Mary Anne Nagy profile image

Mary Anne Nagy 6 years ago from Connecticut

Sorry to hear it didn't work for you. I went through ups and downs (literally) with Provigil. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it put me to sleep.

My doctor wants me to try Adderall again. I have mixed feelings about that, too, but I'm willing to give it another shot.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Peggy, I am glad you found me too!

I would call the folks at Provigil and ask for their suggestions because my insurance considers it a MS drug, as does many others.While it is used off-label, it is still FDA approved which is what matters most to my insurance carrier.

Perhaps, if nothing else the Provigil company itself can give you a discount through one of their subsidized programs.

Let me know how it goes, if need be, I will do some extra research for you.


Peggy 6 years ago

I am so excited to have found this web site. I have had

MS for 40 years but lucky to not have pain issues. However

I do have the chronic fatigue. My Dr. recently gave me a months supply of Provogilwhich I found quite helpful. The problem is the cost is prohibitive ($300 a month). Plus my insurance won't pay since it is not considered an MS drug. My question: How did you get your insurance to help

pay for the medicine? Any suggestions?


oscillationatend profile image

oscillationatend 6 years ago from a recovering narcissist.

That's good they do work for you, and I understand.

There are pills available, by the way. But good luck in managing it, I sincerely wish you all the best.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks for the info, Montel Williams made the use of marijuana for pain management very well known. I am not a smoker of any kind, and fortunately the traditional pain therapies work for me. I am hoping to find something less medicinal in future searches though because I hate taking so many pills.


oscillationatend profile image

oscillationatend 6 years ago from a recovering narcissist.

Hi Jen, sorry to hear about your MS.

I know the idea is new there and all, but have you ever considered medical marijuana to combat the symptoms? I know someone, another hubber actually--who has MS and uses it.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi TaskMaster! Even though neither worked for me, I am so glad to read you had success with both. It has been my experience, that those who found success with Provigil, find Nuvigil works the same if not better. For those of us who do not respond to Provigil, Nuvigil doesn't seem to work either. Hopefully Nuvigil will be given the green light by your insurance carrier soon, especially since it is cheaper. Seems like they would want to save the money, but I've stopped trying to figure them out a long time ago. (smile) Thanks for giving a good recommendation to balance out the fact that it didn't work for me.


TaskMaster 6 years ago

I am sorry to hear that so many have had bad side effects from Provigil. I am male, 67, and have had MS since 1978, later defined as SPMS. I have been taking Provigil 200mg 1/day for the last few years with no side effects. First thing in the morning I pop a pill, them about an hour later I have the energy to get going. My MS Dr. was providing Provogil samples to help me through the 'donut-hole'. Last year he said he no longer had Provigil samples, but asked if I wanted to try Nuvigil (samples). I did. The 250mg tabs were even better than the Provigil 200mg. New year and I went back to the Provigil - insurance approved the Provigil, but not the cheaper (by about $300) Nuvigil. Still fighting that battle. I guess I am fortunate that both are working for me without the side effects - knock on wood.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Jen, I am happy to report I have found help, you can read my hubs on Prozac to see the details.

Provigil is helpful to quite a few people with MS, still don't know why it didn't help me, but I do know it keeps my MS friends awake too.

Sorry to read about the cost. Wondering if they provide help with discounts like many drug companies do?

Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it.


wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 6 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

Good morning.

This hub is valuable to folks who want information about side effects of Nuvigil and Provigil.

I take Provigil for narcolepsy. Actually my diagnosis is hypersomnia. I have been taking it for about a year now... and this has been my best year health-wise in 25 years. It does not give me jitters. It doesn't give me a noticeable boost of energy either. But, I am able to stay awake for 14 hours or more.

The cost of the Provigil is taking a toll on me, so I stopped briefly. I was back to my old symptoms within 3 weeks.

It's devastating that this medication did not help you with your MS. I hope that since you published this hub, you have found something else to help you.

be well

Jen


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Suzanne! I really appreciate your willingness to comment on your experience with Nuvigil. I am sure it will help to know there is a possibility of feeling what you experienced. Isn't it odd that it made you zombie like when you were supposed to feel more energy?

Hopefully our experiences are rare, but I guess time will tell.

Thanks again, it has been great meeting you. I hope you and I both find the right drug for our issues.


Suzanne 6 years ago

Hi Jen,

Thank you for your posting on this. I have been researching Nuvigil and your posting has been the most helpful for me. I do not have MS. I am recovering from major depression and my energy level borders on the ground most of the time. My dr. prescribed Nuvigil to help me. It gave me afternoon "rage" feelings and after a few days, made me zombie-like tired. I've stopped taking it after making the connection. Very few sites expand on this particular side effect. THANK YOU for affirming my experience. BLESS YOU for using your valuable energy to help others.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Yes Amy, you may dare to use the word stupid because it is how I felt for getting my hopes up so high. Smacking back down to earth was emotionally and physically depleting. Thank you for your confidence in the fact that I will find a solution one of these days. In the meanwhile, friends like you all sure make the waiting easier to endure. :-) I appreciate your comment, thank you very much.

Dar


amygtz 6 years ago

There is nothing like that feeling. Being hopeful about a potential solution to that which plagues our every day; to then have the smack in the face that makes us feel, dare I say "stupid" for being that optimistic. But no! There is always hope. It's the avenue for our future and we can't allow it to be roadblocked. We all must find a way to put the reverse lights on when necessary, and go back to our rest stop to recharge. I have so much stock hold of hope, if you need a fill-up let me know. But I don't hope you will find a solution... I know you will.

~amy g.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thank you Paradise7, hopefully others who try Nuvigil will have better success. Your good wishes are much appreciated!

~Dar


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

I'm so sorry this didn't work for you. You did the right thing by posting this hub so that other people can know. I feel for you, and hope for more wellness in your future. I admire you and what you're doing so much.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

WOW Connie, what an incredibly helpful and touching gift you have given me in the form of this comment. Hope, acceptance, and faith, you have reminded me there is room for all 3. I will ponder your wise comment and see if I cannot once again incorporate all 3 into my daily living with this MS fatigue. Really, thank you very much, I needed to read a great comment like this about now.

~Dar


Connie Smith profile image

Connie Smith 6 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

Hi Jen, I was sorry to read about this new drug and it not working out for you. Not only are you feeling the after-effects, I am sure that each time (though I am sure you are cynical!) is a big let down. We cannot help but have faith and hope. Hope that it might work led you to try it, faith that eventually something will work for you will keep you going!

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