Is Provigil Addictive?
Addiction Risk Seen in Wakefulness Drug Provigil
Provigil: How Addictive Is It? continued...
Weinshenker and Vogel both note that because it blocks the brain receptors
needed by cocaine and methamphetamine, researchers are exploring whether
Provigil might help wean addicts from these life-threatening addictions.
But Volkow maintains that because drugs have very different effects in
different people, Provigil may very well be dangerously addictive to vulnerable
"A vulnerable person would be anyone who has a present or past history
of addiction, whether to alcohol, nicotine, or cocaine," Volkow says.
"Or, your family history may indicate your risk, if you have close
relatives with a history of addiction. But if you don't have this history, it
does not mean you are completely safe."
Anecdotal evidence of Provigil addiction can be found on the non-judgmental
Erowid web site, in a section where drug users report their experiences.
"It is now day 5 and I am back up to 1200 mg per day and cannot imagine
not having this stuff," writes one user, who started off with one 200
milligram pill from her husband's Provigil prescription. "I guess I’m the
one person out of a million that can actually get addicted to this miraculous
Along with Xanax and Ambien, Provigil is classified by the Drug Enforcement
Administration as a Schedule IV drug -- a controlled substance with low
potential for abuse relative to Schedule III drugs such as codeine or anabolic
Provigil maker Cephalon agrees with the NIDA position that Provigil should
not be taken by healthy individuals. But the company says the product's label
accurately describes the drug's abuse potential.
"After 10 years on the market, millions of patients treated, as well as
ongoing monitoring of abuse and diversion by Cephalon, the DEA, the FDA, and
other international regulatory agencies, we believe that the potential risk of
abuse and dependence is accurately reflected in the product labeling,"
Cephalon spokeswoman Candace Steele tells WebMD. "We believe that
there is a low relative potential for abuse with modafinil, which is at least
consistent with the DEA scheduling for Provigil."
The Volkow study appears in the March 18 issue of the Journal of the
American Medical Association.