Provigil is a prescription drug that improves wakefulness. While Provigil is only FDA approved to treat narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and work shift sleep disorder, Provigil has numerous off-label uses. For example, the treatment of depression has become a popular off-label Provigil use for patients with clinical depression who continue to feel sluggish.

Provigil is typically used to treat symptoms of depression, such as energy loss, fatigue and anxiety. Although some doctors and patients have found that Provigil alone can effectively treat depression, it is more common for people with depression to take a conventional antidepressant along with Provigil. Still, according to a Vanderbilt University study, Provigil may have “general mood-elevating effects”? which may reduce the need for other depression drugs.

Using Provigil to Treat Depression May be Unwise

Although Provigil may help patients with depression become more alert and active, Provigil side effects can actually worsen symptoms of depression. For instance, the FDA has warned that Provigil may cause severe psychiatric side effects, including anxiety, mania, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts. These side effects could worsen the symptoms of depression. In fact, the Provigil warning label cautions doctors not to prescribe the drug to people with a history of mania or depression, and says that Provigil use should be discontinued if a patient develops any psychiatric symptoms, such as depression.

In addition to depression and other psychiatric side effects, Provigil has been linked to serious physical conditions. For instance, the drug has been associated with a number of serious skin disorders, including Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a sometimes life-threatening hypersensitivity complex affecting the skin and the mucous membrane. In addition, Provigil has been linked to Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, another life-threatening, and usually drug-induced, skin condition that is characterized by the detachment of the top layer of skin all over the body.

A recently updated Provigil warning label says that patients should stop using Provigil at the first sign of a skin rash and contact their doctors immediately. In addition, Provigil patients should stop using Provigil and contact a doctor if they experience any of the following serious side effects:

  • fever, sore throat, headache, and vomiting with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash
  • bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness
  • easy bruising or bleeding
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips
  • hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior
  • depression, anxiety
  • chest pain, uneven heart beats

If you or a family member took Provigil and experienced a serious side effect, such as depression, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  Contact us today to learn more about your potential case. 

Published November 17, 2011 by