Nuvigil (armodafinil) is a brand-name drug that’s prescribed for improving wakefulness and sleepiness due to narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, or shift work disorder. Nuvigil comes as a tablet that’s typically taken once per day. The dosage can vary depending on what condition the drug is used to treat.
Nuvigil belongs to a drug class known as eugeroics. Eugeroic medications are stimulants that promote wakefulness and alertness. Nuvigil is available in a generic version.
Keep reading for specific information about the dosage of Nuvigil, including its strengths and how to take the medication. For a comprehensive look at Nuvigil, see this article.
Note: This article describes typical dosages for Nuvigil provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When taking Nuvigil, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.
Below is typical dosing information on Nuvigil for its approved uses.
Nuvigil comes as an oral tablet.
Nuvigil oral tablets come in four strengths: 50 milligrams (mg), 150 mg, 200 mg, and 250 mg.
Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then, they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for narcolepsy
The typical starting dose of Nuvigil for narcolepsy is 150 mg to 250 mg. You’ll take it once per day when you wake up.
The maximum dose of Nuvigil is 250 mg once per day. If the starting dose isn’t effective for your condition, talk with your doctor. They may increase the dose to find the right amount for you.
Dosage for obstructive sleep apnea
The typical starting dose of Nuvigil for obstructive sleep apnea is 150 mg to 250 mg. You’ll take it once per day when you wake up.
The maximum dose of Nuvigil is 250 mg once per day. If the starting dose isn’t effective for your condition, talk with your doctor. They may increase the dose until they determine the right amount for you.
Dosage for shift work sleep disorder
The typical recommended dose of Nuvigil for shift work disorder is 150 mg once per day. Typically, you’ll take this dose about 1 hour before you start your shift at work.
It’s not known whether the drug is safe or effective in children. Nuvigil is not approved for use in children. For this reason, there’s no recommended dosage for this use.
Nuvigil is meant to be used as a long-term treatment for excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea.
Nuvigil can be taken either short term or long term for shift work disorder. Your doctor will likely prescribe this drug as long as you’re working a shift that causes excessive sleepiness.
If you have questions about taking Nuvigil long term or short term, talk with your doctor. They can discuss your specific treatment plan.
Below are some common questions about Nuvigil. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any other questions about your Nuvigil dose.
Is there a 500 mg daily dosage of Nuvigil?
No, there isn’t a 500-milligram (mg) daily dose of Nuvigil. The maximum approved daily dosage is 250 mg taken once per day.
If you have questions about your dose of Nuvigil, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Can Nuvigil be used for depression or weight loss? If so, what is the dosage?
Nuvigil is not approved to treat depression or weight loss. However, some doctors may prescribe Nuvigil off-label for these conditions. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.
In clinical trials of Nuvigil, depression was a reported side effect. The drug also caused reduced appetite, which may lead to weight loss.
For more information on Nuvigil’s side effects, see this article. For information on treatments for depression or weight management, talk with your doctor.
Does Nuvigil have a twice a day dosing frequency?
No, Nuvigil is not approved to be taken twice per day. It’s only approved to be taken once per day.
If you have questions about how often to take Nuvigil, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Nuvigil dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include your age and the type and severity of the condition you’re taking Nuvigil to treat.
Other medical conditions you have can also affect your Nuvigil dosage, such as severe liver disease.
If you have severe liver disease, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of Nuvigil. This is because Nuvigil is processed in the liver. If you have liver damage, your body may have difficulty removing this drug. This can cause Nuvigil to build up, which may increase your risk of side effects.
Your doctor will consider reducing your Nuvigil dose if you have liver cirrhosis with a Child-Pugh score of 7 to 15. The Child-Pugh score is a tool that doctors use to estimate the severity of liver disease. A higher number indicates more severe liver disease.
If you have liver problems, talk with your doctor before starting treatment with Nuvigil. Your doctor will determine whether Nuvigil is right for you.
Doctors may also prescribe a lower dose of Nuvigil for older adults. People ages 65 years and older may be more likely to have conditions that affect how their bodies respond to the drug. These include liver problems, which could increase the risk of side effects from the drug.
If you’re age 65 years or older, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Nuvigil for your condition.
Nuvigil comes as an oral tablet that you’ll swallow. As with any medication, it should be taken exactly as your doctor prescribes. For Nuvigil, this is typically once per day, with or without food.
It may be helpful to take Nuvigil around the same time of day. This helps maintain a steady level of the drug in your body so Nuvigil can work effectively. Your doctor will advise the best time of day for you to take this drug.
If you need to change the time you take Nuvigil, talk with your doctor first. Do not adjust your treatment plan before talking with your doctor.
If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS
If you’re having trouble reading your prescription label, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels with large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.
If you’re having trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist about putting Nuvigil in an easy-open container. They also may recommend tools that can make it easier to open bottles.
Nuvigil works best when it’s taken exactly as your doctor prescribes. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip your missed dose and take the next one as scheduled. Never take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing so may increase your risk of side effects.
Talk with your doctor about what they recommend if you miss a dose. Taking a dose too close to bedtime may make it harder for you to fall asleep. If you miss a dose and it’s close to your bedtime, your doctor will likely recommend that you skip it.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your bathroom mirror or bedside table. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
Misuse is when a drug is taken in a different way than a doctor prescribes. With dependence, your body needs a drug to feel like it usually does. You can develop dependence even if you take Nuvigil exactly as prescribed. However, misuse can increase the risk of dependence.
Misusing Nuvigil may also increase the risk of side effects and overdose.
If you take more Nuvigil than your doctor prescribes, you may develop serious side effects.
It’s important that you do not take more Nuvigil than your doctor advises.
Symptoms of an overdose
Overdose symptoms of Nuvigil can include:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- rapid heart rate
- high blood pressure
If you take more than the recommended amount of Nuvigil
Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much Nuvigil. Another option is to call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.
It’s possible for your body to develop a physical dependence on Nuvigil during treatment. With dependence, your body needs a drug to feel like it usually does. You can develop this condition even when taking a drug exactly as prescribed.
The risk of dependence may be higher if you take Nuvigil long term. If you have a dependence on Nuvigil and suddenly stop taking it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. These are side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on. Symptoms of Nuvigil withdrawal can include:
To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms, your doctor will likely taper your Nuvigil dose. A dose taper is when your doctor slowly decreases your dose over time. They’ll reduce the dose until it’s low enough for you to safely stop taking Nuvigil. A dose taper gives your body time to adjust to functioning without the medication.
If you want to stop taking Nuvigil, let your doctor know. They’ll recommend the best dose taper schedule for you. Also talk with your doctor if you have concerns about dependence or withdrawal during treatment. They can advise the best treatment plan for you.
The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Nuvigil for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
As with any drug, never change your dosage of Nuvigil without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Nuvigil that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.
Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Nuvigil. These additional articles might be helpful:
- More about Nuvigil. For information about other aspects of Nuvigil, refer to this article.
- Drug comparison. To find out how Nuvigil compares with Provigil, read this article.
- Details about conditions. For details about the conditions Nuvigil treats, see our science of sleep hub.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.