You may have heard a commercial on the radio for a drug called Nuvigil (armodafinil). It's being promoted as an antidote to the sleepiness experienced by people who work overnight or other nontraditional hours, such as nurses, truck drivers, security guards, and bartenders.
While Nuvigil, a stimulant, is also approved for narcolepsy and excessive sleepiness due to obstructive sleep apnea (that’s already being treated), the commercial is all about the shift workers. The website invites potential users to "rediscover wakefulness" and shows photos of happy, bright-eyed night employees: a nurse, an airport ground-traffic controller, and so on. Ostensibly they've all beat their drowsiness by taking Nuvigil.
But as our latest AdWatch video shows, there’s more to the Nuvigil story than what you get from the radio ad. Modest effectiveness, potential side effects, a new drug that arrives on the scene right as a similar one from the same company is nearing the loss of its patent—it's all there.
—Jamie Kopf Hirsh, associate editor
Do you know anyone who’s taken Provigil or Nuvigil for off-label reasons? Tell us about it.