Provigil vs Nuvigil: Which Is Better for Daytime Sleepiness?

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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If you work the night shift and struggle to stay awake, or if you have daytime sleepiness from sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, you may have wondered if a medication can help you feel more alert.
For excessive daytime sleepiness, Provigil and Nuvigil are first-line treatments. Provigil (the generic is modafinil) and Nuvigil are non-stimulant medications—but what does that mean? How do they work? And is one better than the other?
How do Provigil and Nuvigil help keep you awake if they aren’t stimulants?

What you need to know about Provigil (modafinil):

What you need to know about Nuvigil:

What are the side effects?

Are they different from a stimulant like Adderall?

Cost and savings tips:

How exactly do they Provigil and Nuvigil compare on price?

Your cost will vary depending on your dosage, and whether you’re able to split the higher strength of Provigil (modafinil). However, when comparing equivalent doses—a 30-day supply of modafinil 200 mg (60 tablets) to a 30-day supply of Nuvigil 250 mg (30 tablets)—generic modafinil is actually more expensive than Nuvigil.

Both are still very expensive if you aren’t insured or if your insurance won’t cover them, but Nuvigil offers savings anywhere from $200 up to almost $1000 per month.

30 tablets of Nuvigil 250 mg*
Pharmacy Cash Price GoodRx Price
CVS $654 $573
Target $630 $574
Walmart $674 $575
Walgreens $735 $606


60 tablets of modafinil 200 mg*
Pharmacy Cash Price GoodRx Price
CVS $1665 $783
Target $1571 $787
Walmart $1514 $1405
Walgreens $1684 $912

*Prices as of September 9, 2015.

Keep in mind:
Provigil (modafinil) and Nuvigil are schedule IV controlled substances, with a low potential for abuse relative to the amphetamines like Adderall or Ritalin which are schedule II—but they still require a triplicate prescription and may have other restrictions when it comes to filling at the pharmacy.
Dr O.

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