Armodafinil is a type of medication used to promote wakefulness for people with narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder that causes excessive sleepiness during the day. Armodafinil is also used for people who have sleep disruptions, like obstructive sleep apnea.

Armodafinil is in a class of medications called wakefulness-promoting agents which alter how someone’s sleep-wake cycle works. Since armodafinil works like stimulants, it has a risk for addiction, although small. If a person has a history of a substance use disorder, the risk is much greater, and they should carefully follow dosage instructions to avoid misuse.

Side Effects & Long-Term Risks

Taking armodafinil for an extended period increases the chances of withdrawal symptoms. A person’s body begins to recognize that armodafinil improves its function, so whenever the drug is finished and no longer in one’s system, unpleasant side effects from withdrawal occur. Withdrawal symptoms normally include anxiety, new or worsened psychotic symptoms, vomiting, fatigue, irritable mood and insomnia.

As mentioned, armodafinil is a medication that promotes wakefulness. It is meant to counteract excessive sleepiness caused by sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder and obstructive sleep apnea. Armodafinil is often described as a less intense version of stimulants used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although armodafinil works as a stimulant, the exact cause of how it promotes wakefulness is still unknown and understudied. Researchers believe it may have something to do with preventing the absorption of chemicals that affect the sleep-wake cycle.

When a person is taking armodafinil, they should take it as directed. For people with narcolepsy, armodafinil is taken every morning to prevent daytime sleepiness and for shift workers, it is taken an hour before they start working. It is normally taken without food because the interaction can delay the effects of armodafinil.

Common side effects of armodafinil are:

  • Headahces
  • Aniexty
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Rash

Serious side effects that require medical attention include:

  • Swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, throat, etc.
  • Hives
  • Severe rash and itching
  • Difficulty breathing or swalling
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations

Addiction Risks

The risk for armodafinil misuse and addiction is high since the medication stimulates the brain. Those without a history of substance use disorder have a smaller risk if they take armodafinil as directed. Due to armodafinil’s stimulative effects, many people seek this medication for recreational use because it enhances mental performance by improving focus and concentration. Armodafinil also decreases appetite, making it a popular drug for people wanting to lose weight.

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Editor – Renee Deveney
As a contributor for Advanced Recovery Systems, Renee Deveney is passionate about helping people struggling with substance use disorder. With a family history of addiction, Renee is committed to opening up a proactive dialogue about substance use and mental health. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.