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Can You Take Provigil & Caffeine Together?

By Elizabeth Wolfenden

Provigil, a brand name of the prescription medication modafinil, treats excessive sleepiness. Like caffeine, it works by changing the chemicals in the brain that control sleep and wakefulness. Although caffeine is not known to interact negatively with this medication, talk to a doctor if you have any specific questions or concerns about taking the two together.

Interaction

Caffeine is not known to negatively interact with Provigil. However, it is possible that an unknown interaction between the two drugs exists. In addition, since Provigil and modafinil are both wakefulness promoting agents, it is possible that the stimulatory effects of the two drugs will be intensified or increased when taken together. If you experience any unusual reactions after taking Provigil and caffeine together, call your doctor.

Side Effects

Because Provigil and caffeine both work to stimulate the central nervous system to promote wakefulness, many of the effects of these two drugs are the same. Potential side effects of either drug include nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, headaches and gastrointestinal upset. The risk of experiencing these side effects increases proportionally to the amount you take. The larger the amount of Provigil or caffeine you take, the more likely you are to experience side effects. Provigil also has some potentially serious, although less common, side effects. These include chest pain, trouble breathing, abnormal heart beats, depression, severe anxiety, hallucinations, mania, aggression or thoughts of suicide. Call a doctor immediately if you experience any of these serious side effects when taking this medication.

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Considerations

A study published in the January 2002 issue of "Psychopharmacology" suggests that Provigil and caffeine are equally effective at enhancing alertness and performance during sleep deprivation. While Provigil is only available with a prescription, caffeine is widely available and inexpensive. Because of this, caffeine may be a more suitable option for some people. Always talk to your doctor to decide which is most appropriate for your situation.

Warning

Although caffeine and Provigil are unlikely to negatively interact with each other, they may react with other medications or supplements. Provigil may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives. It also may interact with grapefruit, grapefruit juice, blood thinners, antidepressants, antifungals, antiseizure medications, MAO inhibitors and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Caffeine may interact with some antibiotics, theophylline and Echinacea. Always report all of your current medications and supplements to a doctor before taking Provigil or caffeine.

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