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Nuvigil vs. Adderall

Reviewed on 3/21/2019

Are Nuvigil and Adderall the Same Thing?

Nuvigil (armodafinil) and Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts) are used to treat narcolepsy.

Nuvigil is also used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by sleep apnea or shift work sleep disorder.

Adderall is also used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Nuvigil and Adderall belong to different drug classes. Nuvigil is a wakefulness-promoting agent and Adderall is an amphetamine.

Side effects of Nuvigil and Adderall that are similar include headache, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, anxiety, nervousness, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping (insomnia).

Side effects of Nuvigil that are different from Adderall include upset stomach.

Side effects of Adderall that are different from Nuvigil include restlessness, excitability, irritability, agitation, fear, tremor, weakness, blurred vision, unpleasant taste in the mouth, constipation, stomach pain, vomiting, fever, hair loss, loss of appetite, weight loss, loss of interest in sex, impotence, difficulty having an orgasm, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and heart palpitations.

Both Nuvigil and Adderall may interact with seizure medications or antidepressants.

Nuvigil may also interact with cyclosporine, propranolol, omeprazole, rifampin, sedatives, or antibiotics.

Adderall may also interact with heart or blood pressure medications, diuretics (water pills), cold or allergy medicines (antihistamines), acetazolamide, chlorpromazine, ethosuximide, haloperidol, lithium, meperidine, methenamine, phenobarbital, reserpine, ammonium chloride, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), potassium phosphate, antacids, sodium bicarbonate (Alka-Seltzer), potassium citrate, sodium citrate and citric acid, sodium citrate and potassium, or stomach acid reducers.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Nuvigil?

Common side effects of Nuvigil include:

  • headache,
  • nausea,
  • diarrhea,
  • upset stomach,
  • dry mouth,
  • anxiety,
  • nervousness,
  • dizziness, and
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia).

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Nuvigil including:

  • fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, or
  • mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, depression, hallucinations, rare thoughts of suicide).

What Are Possible Side Effects of Adderall?

Serious side effects include:

  • slowing of growth (height and weight) in children
  • seizures, mainly in patients with a history of seizures
  • eyesight changes or blurred vision
  • Serotonin syndrome. A potentially life-threatening problem called serotonin syndrome can happen when medicines such as Adderall are taken with certain other medicines. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include:
    • agitation, hallucinations, coma or other changes in mental status
    • problems controlling your movements or muscle twitching
    • fast heartbeat
    • high or low blood pressure
    • sweating or fever
    • nausea or vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • muscle stiffness or tightness

Common side effects include:

  • stomach ache
  • decreased appetite
  • nervousness

Adderall may affect your or your child's ability to drive or do other dangerous activities.

Talk to your doctor if you or your child have side effects that are bothersome or do not go away.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What Is Nuvigil?

Nuvigil (armodafinil) is a wakefulness-promoting agent used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or shift work sleep disorder.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine. It is used for the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Adderall may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

Adderall should be used as a part of a total treatment program for ADHD that may include counseling or other therapies.

Adderall is also used in the treatment of a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.

Adderall is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep Adderall in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Adderall may harm others, and is against the law.

Tell your doctor if you or your child have (or have a family history of) ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines or street drugs.

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What Drugs Interact With Nuvigil?

Nuvigil may interact with cyclosporine, propranolol, omeprazole, rifampin, sedatives, seizure medications, antidepressants, or antibiotics. Tell your doctor all medications you use. Nuvigil should be used only when prescribed during pregnancy. It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What Drugs Interact With Adderall?

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you or your child take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Adderall and some medicines may interact with each other and cause serious side effects.

Sometimes the doses of other medicines will need to be adjusted while taking Adderall.

Your doctor will decide whether Adderall can be taken with other medicines.

Especially tell your doctor if you or your child take:

  • anti-depression medicines including MAOIs
  • blood pressure medicines
  • seizure medicines
  • blood thinner medicines
  • cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants
  • stomach acid medicines

Know the medicines that you or your child take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show your doctor and pharmacist.

Do not start any new medicine while taking Adderall without talking to your doctor first.

How Should Nuvigil Be Taken?

The recommended dose of Nuvigil for patients with sleep apnea or narcolepsy is 150 mg or 250 mg given as a single dose in the morning. The recommended dose of Nuvigil for patients with shift work disorder is 150 mg given daily approximately 1 hour prior to the start of their work shift.

How Should Adderall Be Taken?

  • Take Adderall exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you or your child.
  • Adderall tablets are usually taken two to three times a day. The first dose is usually taken when you first wake in the morning. One or two more doses may be taken during the day, 4 to 6 hours apart.
  • Adderall can be taken with or without food.
  • From time to time, your doctor may stop Adderall treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms.
  • Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Adderall. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Adderall. Adderall treatment may be stopped if a problem is found during these check-ups.
  • If you or your child take too much Adderall or overdoses, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

QUESTION

Why do we sleep? See Answer
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References

FDA. Nuvugil Product Information.
https://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm231717.pdf
FDA. Adderall Product Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf
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