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Provigil and Nuvigil - My Latest MS Fatigue Drug Experiment

Updated on March 6, 2019
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I've been living with MS for 25+ years and have tried almost every medication available. I have also been evaluated and tested extensively.

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. 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.


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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