Provigil & Pregnancy/nursing

lilipie Says:

I'm wondering if anyone else out there took this drug during pregnancy or breastfeeding and what their experience was.

I know anecdotal evidence is not scientific proof of anything, but studying pregnant women is not ethical. I noticed they just started a provigil pregnancy registry to track women who choose to stay on it while pregnant but I'm guessing it will be some time until we hear any results from that.

I chose to stay on it during my pregnancy because I had to work and drive safely. I lowered my dose to the lowest amount I can function on. My son was born completely healthy, very social, happy, no health issues. However, in order to breastfeed, I was switched to ritalin since there is more information available about it and breastfeeding. I hate it... it barely works (I don't want to keep increasing the doses and have addiction issues). It worked ok for a month or so, now it does almost nothing for me. I really miss my provigil but am not sure about the risks of taking it while breastfeeding, and unlike during my pregnancy, there is an alternative drug I can take.

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Verwon Says:

Does anyone have any experience to add?

The relevant FDA warnings for this medication say it isn't known what effect it may have on an infant if used during breast feeding, so they just advise caution if Provigil is used.


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breastfeedingmommainmaryland Says:

I have a 16 month old son. I lasted as long as I could without medication, and then I started Nuvigil about 3 weeks ago. I stopped nursing him in the afternoon and only nursed him at night and in the morning (before taking the medicine). I did not discuss this with my doctor. He started vomiting uncontrollably for hours yesterday and his lips turned blue. No one else was sick. We took him to the ER and they thought is was a allergic reaction. I had to nurse him last night (no alternative, and he was sick) but as of today, I am using donated breast milk until he is weaned or I stop taking Nuvigil for at least 3 days. I am a complete breastfeeding proponent, but I do not think it is worth breastfeeding on this medication. Again, we are not sure what caused his severe vomiting, but out of caution, choose either breastfeeding or Nuvigil, based on my experience. Good Luck.

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lilipie Says:

Thank you so much for your reply, its very helpful to have these first hand experiences out there even if they are not scientific to give someone an idea of what others have experienced. I accidentally took my Provigil for a few days when I got it mixed up with a different pill I take and it felt so wonderful and I didn't see any reaction in my son, but based on hearing about your story, I don't think I will intentionally try it again. I may stop nursing sooner than I'd prefer but I'll try to last a bit longer.

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breastfeedingmommainmd Says:


You are welcome. I found nothing about it, so I decided to try it. I know that most medications are okay while breastfeeding. I usually don't tell my doctors, though because most doctors automatically say no breastfeeding on any meds. I checked out what Dr. Hale said about Nuvgil, and it was probably not safe. (I called his hotline.). I didn't see any difference in my son right away. But it takes 3 days to get out of our system completely, so it probably built up in his system. There was nothing different in my son's diet the day he was vomiting. And it was severe intense, constant vomiting and then heaving vomiting for 6 hours straight, with blue lips for hours. Scary. Glad I could help you make a decision. This was what I was looking for when trying to make my decision. Good luck.

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Sarah Says:

I took provigil throughout my pregnancy, 50-100 mg. daily (I usually take 200-400 daily). I also took 20 mg of Lexapro and 150 mg of Welbutrin. (these are low dosages for me). It was an excruciating decision - but I could not function without it. I discussed all of this with my OB and the physician prescribing the medicine. My son was born perfectly healthy. He is three years old now - very social physically active and empathetic. His only health issues have been a few colds, allergies - no ear infections, no developmental delays. He is very active and has high anxiety in very specific situations (elevators, public restrooms), that I cannot find an explanation for. I am constantly monitoring his development worried that it may have had an effect.

I quit taking provigil when I went on maternity leave about a week before the birth. My blood pressure was high (normally low). I had to keep taking the antidepressants, but remained at the low dosages. I breast fed for about 6 weeks and then went back on the provigil and started pumping first thing in the morning, before I took any medication, then again in the evening. Did that for another 6 weeks. Just wanted to put some more information out there in case it might help someone else.

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pregnantnarcoleptic Says:

I wouldn't be at all convinced the vomiting was due to the modafinil unless you tried on a second occasion and it happened again (that I would do while close to a hospital though, just in case).

Babies are prone to vomiting bugs (rotavirus particularly) that often do not cause any symptoms at all in the adults and older children they are around.

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Len Says:

I was off provigil while I was pregnant. I also had a short cervix, but basically had to be off of work my entire pregnancy secondary to short cervix and being off provigil. I am now back at work and breastfeeding, but my milk production is low only about 1 ounce with each feeding, so my baby mainly gets formula. I am back on provigil. I discussed it with my neurologist and their best advise was to try it and observe the baby's behavior. But his best guess was that it might make baby more alert. I did not notice any significant difference in my baby's behavior when I fed him the pumped breast milk after a dose of provigil. Since there was no significant difference and I think the risk is less than the benefit of my baby getting antibodies from my breastmilk and the bonding also, I have continued doing it. My baby is now 4 months old and is doing well. He is reaching his milestones and is in the 75%ile in weight and 90%ile in height and 50%ile in head circumference. He is a very happy baby and smart!

(And I'm not just patting my own back. But have you ever seen a baby allow you to suction him after realizing that it helped him? He had a cold the other day and had a stuffy nose. He fought the suction bulb the first time, but he had relief from it afterwards. So, thereafter, he would actually sit still when he saw the suction bulb and he was having difficulty breathing. I know that's not a real sign of intelligence, but rather more of a conditioning response, but still a smart response, because most babies would not do this.)

Anyway, I am only doing it, because he doesn't get much breast milk from me, so whatever metabolite he gets from the provigil it is hopefully negligible. It would be nice to hear from other people though.

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Shaynagive Says:

Did you take provigil during your first trimester? I'm only a few days pregnant and I'm trying to wean myself off.

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Brandi Says:

I took provigil through out my whole pregnancy with my daughter. When she was born she was perfect and healthy. However she did suffer from many things such has kidney infections, RSV, ear infections.. but those were do to exposure to things. My daughter can not be in water with soap in it for long periods of time. I will say this she is now 8yrs old. She is pretty healthy, very smart, caring compassionate. However there are problems such as high anxiety, sensory issues, and she gets irritable easily. I am not sure if any of it is related to the medicine but it would be nice to see if anyone else has had issues with their kids too.

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Carolina Says:

Hey! hows your pregnancy going? I've been on 250mg of Nuvigil for a few years and just found out I'm pregnant!! :) (12 days after conception). I'm choosing to be entirely off meds for the pregnancy so my last dose was this morning! I feel so guilty that I've been taking my meds for a week and half though, ideally I'd like every single day of my pregnancy to be med free. Since you were weaning yourself off in the very beginning, how are things?

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pregnantnarcoleptic Says:

I should probably declare I'm a doctor with narcolepsy. I had to take my modafinil occasionally during pregnancy because otherwise I would fall asleep in front of patients. My neurologist told me there was insufficient evidence to say that it was harmful but equally there was no proof it is safe.

I did a literature search because I felt very guilty about taking it but even in the one study that showed harm (birth defects in rats) they needed quite a high dose to cause problems. There were no problems in rats given less than the dose equivalent to 200mg therefore I stuck to taking just one 100mg tablet, which didn't always keep me awake but worked most of the time.

My baby is now 2 months old and doesn't seem to have any problems.

My professor also said the same lack of evidence was also the case with breastfeeding so it was probably ok to take them when I needed them. Yesterday was the first time I have had one. My baby slept just as much as normal so I don't think it affected her.

If you're worrying about coping without your tablets during pregnancy I actually found (from 2nd trimester onwards) that I felt much less sleepy than normal and it was pretty unusual for me to feel like I even needed a tablet. Still the case now. My prof said he has seen this in several pregnant women who all think they're cured but the symptoms do eventually come back!

To the lady feeling guilty for taking it before getting a positive test you really shouldn't worry - your baby hadn't been connected to your bloodstream until you got the positive test so I can't see how your baby would have been exposed to it at all.

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Sarah Says:

Hi. I am currently breastfeeding and taking 400 mg of Provigil. I haven't noticed any difference in my babies sleep habits, or alertness. So far it doesn't seem to of had any effect on her. I've been nursing for almost 4 months. No changes to my milk production either. So far so good , I'm happy because I don't know how I would function with my meds.

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OSUFan74075 Says:


My wife has been taking Provigil and Nuvigil for a number of years and it has helped tremendously. We just found out that she is pregnant and, like many of you on here, has stopped taking Nuvigil in an effort to have a med free pregnancy and her initial conversation with her OB and Dr was to quit taking it.

Today is day three and she is struggling to function. I see that others have reduced dosages and other continued to take the regular dosage. We are a high risk category to begin with (39 and this was not a planned event) so we are both concerned about going against Dr's orders.

My question is has anyone found any other natural food or vitamin or less "narcotic" combination that will provide the focus and energy? I will have her cut her dosage in the short time, however, we would like to get her off these entirely (was a discussion prior tot he pregnancy) but I have not see or heard of anything to backfill the med.

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NotAlone Says:

My baby is sleeping more lately! I've stated back on Provigil. This is great? I am monitoring everything and of course worry that his finally being a good sleeper is some paradoxical sign if provigil exposure. My hubby wants me off it to nurse, but Provigil has reversed my total lack of energy which really helps my depression so much. So I thought I'd try it. So far so good at day 3 on 200mg/day.

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mukul Says:


i am 9 weeks pregnant and my doctor advised me for provigil inj. every 3rd day till completing 3 month... is it good for me or not? i want to add one thing and i.e i have one miscarriage last year of 6 weeks.

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steadfast Says:

This is the best chat room so far. Thanks for all the detailed insight. Like the gentleman's previous post, I too want to know what natural or less risky alternative one can take during pregnancy. My doctors filled me in (the same info I gleaned online, class c, birth defects in rats and rabbits but with much higher dose than humans etc..), and to play safe I kept off Modafinil for a week. But I'm entering week 7 and the double whammy of sleepiness tied in with the nausea is unbearable. I also have work deadlines piling up, but without the meds they'll be impossible to meet. I simply can't stay awake when I try to focus. So I've opted to take half of my prescribed daily dose when needed. So that's 100mg Intermittently until I finish my work assignment (approx 2 weeks). Not ideal, I know... That's why I'm desperate to know what natural and safe alternatives I can take. Anyone?!?

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Bae Says:

My doctor finally diagnosed me with chronic fatigue syndrome; I started taking the generic Nuvigil (Modafinil) and it worked amazingly for me. But now I'm trying to get pregnant, so for the last few months I haven't taken it and I'm back to hating constantly being exhausted. I normally take about 200mg. i'm thinking about doing 100mg every other day? I'd rather keep going with not having any meds but with constantly being exhausted, I also dont have much of a drive - which is needed when trying to get pregnant...
My doctor said that even if it is okay to take the meds, if something happened to my baby, I would always wonder if the meds were the reason. Tough decision. Everyone's information and stories are great information though!

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Bae Says:

I also have been trying to drink Lipton Natural Energy tea daily.
I don't know if it would have much affect for a true narcoleptic, but sometimes it helps a little for me.
Next I'll be looking into veggies and natural energy supplements

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pregnant narcoleptic Says:

There's no evidence or reason that I can think of that you should avoid it while trying to get pregnant. There's no connection between you and the baby until around the day you get a positive pregnancy test. After that point you might want to avoid it or reduce your dose (but that is your choice too).

Don't forget to take folic acid every day if you're trying to conceive (and the first 12 weeks of pregnancy at least) as there is plenty of evidence for that! Vitamin D is probably a good idea too.

Good luck!

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Mdrake Says:

My daughter is now two. I did not breastfeed because I worried about the provigil excreting in the breastmilk. However, I did take provigil (200mg once a day) and xyrem throughout my pregnancy. After talking with my neurologist, primary doctor, and OB/GYN, I learned that medications are more likely to be in breastmilk than penetrate/absorb into the placenta. She was born on the due date at 6lbs 11oz. That's a lower than average birth weight, but I was a small baby and so was my husband so we weren't worried about her. She's healthy and smart. Shenalreadynspeaks in full sentences. Her only health problem was constipation, but the doc thinks that was because of the formula.

We're thinking about having another baby. I'm considering breastfeeding because of the constipation issues my daughter has had, and I think that will help me form a better connection with the baby. I struggled with postpartum depression last pregnancy. I hear that breastfeeding can help, but ultimately it depends on how healthy it will be for my child.

I libe near Duke University/hospital. I wonder how much it would cost to have them test my breastmilk for provigil.

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Tasia Says:

Re: Holly (# 36) Expand Referenced Message

Hi Holly! Hope you see this post, can I get an update on your little one? I saw that you took provigil a few times a week during your pregnancy. I’m currently 6 weeks and it has been so hard to be completely off of it... I’ve decreased from 200mg to 100-150mg about 3 days a week so far and I’m so so worried for my little bean. Any update would be appreciated as the data is all over the place and not consistent.

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tasiasmail Says:

Re: Holly (# 36) Expand Referenced Message

Hi Holly, how did everything turn out with your baby? I’ve also been taking 100mg modafinil throughout my pregnancy as I just can’t function without it, I’m 21 weeks today.

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TDW Says:

Re: Brandi (# 9) Expand Referenced Message

Hello, how high was the dosage of Provigil you were taking? I am taking it intermittently but at less than 100mg at a time.

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Mdrake3 Says:

Re: tasiasmail (# 57) Expand Referenced Message

My baby turned out just fine and I took modafinil 200mg 1-2 a day. I also took Xyrem. She’s now 5 and perfectly healthy. I’m pregnant again (21wks) and I’m taking modafinil 200mg 2x a day and Xyrem at night. The baby is growing just fine. I hope this helps.

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tasiasmail Says:

MichellCssW (# 26) --

Hello, did everything turn out okay with your baby? I see that some moms who took modafinil during their pregnancy their children started having anxieties as they got older. I’m only 5 weeks and have mostly stopped the medicine but have had to take 100mg here and there just to get through work... ??e (# 37) --

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tasiasmail Says:

Re: Michelle (# 37) Expand Referenced Message

CssW (# 26) --

Hello, did everything turn out okay with your baby? I see that some moms who took modafinil during their pregnancy their children started having anxieties as they got older. I’m only 5 weeks and have mostly stopped the medicine but have had to take 100mg here and there just to get through work... ??

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tasiasmail Says:

Re: CssW (# 26) Expand Referenced Message

Hello, did everything turn out okay with your baby? I see that some moms who took modafinil during their pregnancy their children started having anxieties as they got older. I’m only 5 weeks and have mostly stopped the medicine but have had to take 100mg here and there just to get through work... ??

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tasiasmail Says:

Re: steadfast (# 16) Expand Referenced Message

Hello, how did everything turn out? I’m 5 weeks pregnant and tried to completely stop modafinil but some days I have to take 100mg to get through my day at work.

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Mdrake Says:

Re: Mdrake (# 20) Expand Referenced Message

I am Mdrake and wanted to update my response. So I took 200mg of provigil throughout my pregnancy with my daughter and Xyrem. She's now 5. She has never had any health issues minus the constipation as a baby. This means she hasn't had the flu, no stomach viruses, ear infections or anything else. We've only had to give her cold medicine twice in her entire life. She has developed verbally, mentally, emotionally, and physically like she should. She's my little rule follower. She does have a type A personality. She likes to know when things are happening and feels more comfortable on a consistent schedule. I know some people have attributed that as a possible side effect of taking their medication, but my daughter is just like her dad. And my MIL has commented about how alike she is to my husband when he was that age, so I think it's very unlikely to have been caused by the medication. Plus, most kids feel more comfortable on a schedule, and they tend to be very chatty. Overall, my daughter is a happy, healthy, 5 yr old. I plan on taking my medication during my next pregnancy too. And I might even try breastfeeding.

Oh and my specialist said that he's had a couple of moms take modafinil and Xyrem while pregnant and breastfeeding without any issues. The mom and baby were healthy and developed properly.

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Michelle Says:

Re: Michelle (# 37) Expand Referenced Message

I am the original poster. Just wanted to say that my son is now almost 2 and a half, and appears to be very intelligent. Can already 'read' or at least memorise insane amounts of text. For example, he could recite the entire "very hungry caterpillar" book by the time he turned two. Now he can read "the snail and the whale" and a book about the alphabet "A is for Anteater" but he knows every letter, the corresponding animal, the text, etc. He can count any number - actually count - not just label numbers. Possibly on the autism spectrum. However, I have a 14-year-old who is also incredibly intelligent (at arguably Australia's top selective school) and they both have different fathers, I didn't even know Modafinil existed when I was pregnant with Max. I have read that 'intelligence' is carried through the mother's genes via mitochondrial DNA:

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