Generic Nuvigil for Narcolepsy Now Available

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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There can be many reasons for excessive tiredness—but for some people, it can be due to an underlying medical condition. Narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift-work disorder can significantly affect your quality of life. Thankfully there are medications that can help—including Nuvigil (armodafinil) and Provigil (modafinil).

Now, there is also good news for anyone taking Nuvigil—its generic, armodafinil, has been approved, and is in pharmacies now.

How is armodafinil available?
Armodafinil is available in the same dosages and form as Nuvigil: a tablet in 50 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, and 250 mg strengths.

What are the side effects of armodafinil?

The most common side effects associated with armodafinil tablets include headache, nausea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping.

What if I want to keep taking brand-name Nuvigil?

If you would prefer to continue taking Nuvigil, make sure your doctor handwrites BRAND MEDICALLY NECESSARY on your next prescription. This means the pharmacy is not permitted to substitute with the generic.

Otherwise, you can still request that your pharmacist fill the brand for you. Just make sure to inform the pharmacy before having your prescription filled.

However—you’ll want to keep in mind that because the generic version is now available, your insurance company may not be willing to cover the cost of the brand medication.

If you do choose to keep taking Nuvigil, I recommend providing the pharmacy with your phone number so they can let you know the price before you come in to pick up your prescription—most of the time a brand will be extremely expensive once a generic is available.

Are there any other options if I prefer the brad?

The manufacturer of Nuvigil does offer a Patient Savings Card. If you’re eligible, you can get your first fill of Nuvigil free, and refills for as low as $5.

Be aware though, this offer is not available for patients eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or any other public payor program.

Are there any similar medications to Nuvigil (armodafinil) available?

Yes. Provigil and its generic modafinil are in the same class of medications, and work in a similar way.

If Nuvigil or generic armodafinil isn’t covered by your insurance, you may want to ask your doctor about trying Provigil or modafinil.

What is the difference between Provigil (modafinil) and Nuvigil (armodafinil)?

Longevity. Nuvigil (armodafinil) is longer-acting than Provigil (modafinil), which was available first. That means that you need to take Nuvigil less often, and you will feel its effects for a longer time.

How will the approval of armodafinil affect the cost of modafinil?

Any time a similar medication becomes available, competitor drugs typically change prices price to stay competitive.

Before you get too excited though, this could actually mean that armodafinil could cause the current price of modafinil to either go up or down—it may be dependent on the newly approved armodafinil’s starting price.

As of July 2016, modafinil may still be your low-cost option, especially if you’re paying out of pocket. It’s still about half the price of armodafinil.

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