My Experience Starting Armodafinil (Nuvigil Generic) - Hopeful!

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Today was my first day on Armodafinil 150mg and I thought I would start a thread here to document a little bit.

My Background
I'm a 23 year old male. I have major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. I have no other known underlying health problems. I have a healthy weight, healthy diet, rarely drink alcohol, don't smoke or do drugs. I don't exercise like I should but the fatigue has been a huge obstacle to that.

At this time, I'm not currently diagnosed with ME, CFS, or any other symptom outside of the 3 I mentioned above. I do have Fibromyalgia and Lupus very prevalent in my family history. Between my psychiatrist and the two doctors at my GP, they all agree that I have chronic fatigue that is affecting my life but after bloodwork came out fine they have not been able to attach it to any condition at this time.

Besides brain fog and low energy, my biggest issue is hypersomnia. I will sleep anywhere from 11 to 14 hours a day, and wake up exhausted. It feels as though I have lead in my limbs and my eyes feel heavy. I start to feel like I'm on a lag reacting to the environment around me and can become confused or unable to focus. I have two jobs (one part-time and one freelance from home) so my life is pretty much going to work and then coming home to sleep. On weekends I'll sleep almost until dark and can usually get in one or two activities but I miss a lot of events that I'd really like to do because they're early in the morning and I have a hard time dragging myself to them.

Other things I take
I take Venlafaxine (effexor) 150mg once daily and it's been fantastic for my anxiety and depression. It hasn't touched my chronic fatigue. I also take 2,000 units of Vitamin D3 and occasionally take 500mg of Alpha-GPC and/or 200 mg of L-Theanine


With that stuff out of the way, today was the first time I was able to take the Armodafinil. The generic version costs $550 or so for 30 days, and I had to wait for my insurance to go back and forth over prior authorization before they would cover 90% of it.

I woke up today after 12 hours of sleep, groggy as usual, and with a severe headache. On my way out the door late to work (3:30 shift) I grabbed my habitual Dunkin Donuts order of a bagel sandwich and a medium cold brew coffee. This would be a mistake, as I under-estimated the stimulant effect of Armodafinil.

Within an hour or so, I was feeling much more awake, and all of today I've felt fantastic - at least mentally. For the first time in a while, I've lost this heavy dullness that sits behind my eyes. I feel like I'm more alert, more awake, and more present. I also believe that my mood has been elevated. My thoughts have been going very quickly - but not the racing thoughts that I experienced with anxiety where I was ruminating on things. While I've been able to focus on one topic for long periods of time, it's been very linear thinking where I can actually progress with a thought instead of getting stuck on something.

I honestly hope all of these effects continue, because I feel like at least for the day I have not been held back by a sense of dullness and apathy.

Side Effects
As I mentioned early, I had a pretty good helping of caffeine when I took the pill. I will not be doing this again until I get used to the drug and am able to tolerate small amounts of caffeine again. If today is any indication, I won't need the extreme caffeine boosts that I've grown used to having as part of a functioning day. I did notice some side effects that are common with the medicine.

-Headache
-Nausea
-General stomach upset (multiple trips to the bathroom)
-Heartbeat feeling faster (but my pulse is not noticeably elevated)
-Dry Mouth
-Electrical zap feeling. I don't necessarily get this in my brain like some people say. I feel it in my jaws and my teeth, going down my neck, into the sides of my chest. It is actually strongest in my forearms. It ranges from a slight tingle to a full on electrical pulse feeling running through my muscles. These are uncomfortable but I know they're normal and not harmful. I have felt this feeling before when mixing the Venlafaxine with caffeine, L-Theanine, and Alpha-GPC (which is why I no longer take the latter two on a daily basis). I also felt these on the one day that I missed a dose of my Effexor, which is a classic withdrawal symptom of that drug. I have a feeling this is not a direct result of the Armodafinil, but of its interaction with Effexor and I am hoping this diminishes over time. Also occasionally associated with goosebumps and hair standing on end.

I ended up leaving work a few hours early today because of some of these effects. I am hoping tomorrow is a little gentler on these.

First Impressions
I'm very hopeful about this treatment in the long run. Not only is it known to be good for hypersomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness, it's also been clinically shown to be a very effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder when combined with Effexor.

I am very happy with the way I feel today and I am hoping that things even out to a very good place for me. I will have to see how this effects my sleep schedule. My plan going forward is to set an alarm for roughly 8 hours of sleep, wake up, and immediately take the Armodafinil (my doctor simply instructed to take in the mornings). Not only do I feel more alert, more aware, and more productive, I also feel that I didn't struggle with my usual feelings of SAD and my depression with the short days. In fact, I really don't feel depressed at all. I feel like I couldn't slow down enough to be depressed. I worry about the opposite reaction, anxiety (I have been enjoying my life without panic attacks), but so far I don't feel manic or overly anxious.

The physical effects came on a little strong. I will definitely try without the caffeine (or a gentle caffeine like green tea if I have caffeine withdrawal issues) but I think ultimately I might come down on the dose a little bit. I have read that it is common for people to reduce to 100mg immediately as 150 is strong for some people. At 130 lbs and little body fat, my personal dosage tends to be low anyways. I may request to cut my pills in half (or be prescribed 75mg) and take one in the morning with the other one taken in the afternoon only as needed.

I'm sorry if this post is overly long, I'm hoping to create not only a living journal for myself (to keep track of the effects as they happen) but also to create kind of an in-depth experience for people who will search for armodafinil and its effects.

Thanks again for having me here and giving a place to talk about all of this!
 
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Little update:

I took my first dose at about 3:45 in the afternoon yesterday, shortly before I went to work. It is now clear to me that that was too late in the day.

I briefly was drowsy and laid down last night, but laid there to no avail. I was hyper aware of my heart palpitations in my chest, hands and neck. Not a rapid or racing heart, just a feeling that my heart was pumping strong. Unfortunately it kept me from sleeping. I put on some quiet music in my headphones and a mask over my face for another couple hours, but nothing happened for sleep for me. So, an hour or so after the sun came up I got out of bed.

I'll be taking the medicine again today but avoiding caffeine and taking the medicine early in the day. I think I'll also try half a dose. My doctor is closed today so I can't call them and confirm, but I got such a reaction from 150 that I think it's a good idea to try 75 and see how I feel.

For what it's worth, I don't feel bad. I still have energy and focus. Clearly puling all-nighters isn't healthy, but I've read elsewhere online that this is common on the first couple of days and should taper off back to normal sleep in the next couple of weeks.

EDIT: I ended up staying awake for 36 straight hours before I was finally able to sleep. I was still struggling with the hyper-aware heartbeat issue when I started feeling tired about midnight. I decided to take 400mg L-Theanine and lay down and I was asleep pretty shortly. I slept for a solid 12 hours and woke up pretty groggy, but I think that's not too unusual after being awake for 36 hours.

I can see the attraction to Armodafinil as a smart drug. I free-lance write from home and I was able to bust out over 30 pages of articles yesterday. I have a client I've been sitting on for 3 months because I haven't been able to do it with all of the other stuff going on, but yesterday I did half of their work order in a few hours.

If the first day I felt the way that I imagine one feels on speed, the next day I just felt awake... for a very long period of time. As though a block was lifted and I was closer to being who I think I could be.

Ever since the first day, I've been taking 75mg in the morning instead of 150.
 
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It's now been over a month with Armodafinil and I'm doing great. I have not used nearly all of a month's dose yet because I take it irregularly/as needed. This will probably be my last update unless anything major changes. I hope this helps anyone here and anyone who finds the forum through search and is considering it.

I have found it to be supremely effective at reducing fatigue, brain fog, apathy, disorientation, and related symptoms. The full 150mg dose seems very strong to me (for reference I'm about 125 lbs.) I consider 75mg to be my "maintenance" dose as it prevents early exhaustion but doesn't seem to out me into overdrive. 150 definitely feels like a stimulant and I reserve these doses for days that are especially taxing or if I have to be "on" and alert for long periods.

Armodafinil seems to have huge synergism with caffeine response. On days where I don't take it, I can take a quadruple espresso with little response or jitters. When I do take it, a single cup of coffee sets me over the esge - forget espresso or cold brew. The strongest caffeine I take on Armodafinil days is matcha Green tea. I drink decaf now and save the caffeine for break days.

The Good
Armodafinil is a god send for days when I feel like i would otherwise lay in bed all day, or go through my days a bleary eyed, uninterested, yawning zombie. It truly does give me new energy.

Seems to have mood boosting effects.

As predicted, along with the Effexxor, it seems to have a very positive effect on seasonal affective symptoms.

I take a day or two off at a time every week, and this seems to prevent building up a tolerance so far. One half dose still remains immensely useful and a full dose remains very strong. Seems to have a cumulative effect where taking it for several days carries over to days when I don't take it and results in less fatigue and less binge sleeping even for a day or two after.

Seems as though I can stop taking it or skip a dose or two with no negative withdrawal effects - only returning to being tired.

Helps maintain focus and mental clarity, even on long tasks.

The Bad
Frequently brings on a headache. More of a throbbing pain than a migraine. Usually tolerable with enough water, sometimes I find myself taking ibuprofen as well.

Dry mouth

Heavy thirst

Seems to make me intensely crave sweets and carbs

Not tolerated well with caffeine

Sometimes seems to cause jaw, neck and shoulder clenching

Upset stomach, nausea, lower appetite. Sometimes causes diarrhea or frequent bathroom trips, usually at high dose or with caffeine.

Seems to cause more sweating when exercising or taking a walk. Semi frequent night sweats. Correlated with higher doses, caffeine and sugar consumption, and taking the dose later in the day.

Sometimes causes heart palpitations, shaky hands.

Can cause manic-like activity and insomniac states. My first week, there were two nights that I just didn't go to sleep because I was working on a project. Didn't even begin to feel tired until more than 30 hours without sleep. Hasn't happened since I got more familiar with the usage. Could easily mask sleep deficiencies if not careful. I still make it a point to try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep at least 6 nights a week.

Can cause difficulty sleeping. Seems to be a combination of other symptoms. L theanine helps to counter it and drift off to sleep.

Can make me agitated, pace around, fidget, get irritated at small talk or lose patience for conversations that drag on.

Heightened focus is a huge benefit but can sometimes result in obsessing over one train of thought or idea. Hard to break away from what's going on in your head to interact with other people. Disruptions can become irritating.

Was a big fight with my insurance to get prior approval without sleep testing. I work second shift so I was able to get it approved for shift work sleep disorder. Because it's a controlled substance, I have to see the doctor every time for a hand written prescription for 30 days. No refills or call ins. If you're not able to get it covered, you better be independently wealthy. My pharmacy quoted me $550 for a 30 day supply of generic.

Effexxor gives me disrupted sexual function/ delayed orgasm. TMI, I know, but Armo seems to make these effects even worse and also leads to greatly increased heart rate and pressure during these activities. I don't want to get too personal, but I would be aware of the possibility of these effects and how they would affect your life. It's a personal call.

The Weird
I've never been so aware of my heartbeat and pulse. Sometimes it's a good feeling, when the medicine starts to lift fatigue and the heartbeat feels like vitality. Other times it's too much and can cause discomfort or anxiety.

Seems to cause strange dreams (Effexxor does too and I think they play off each other)

Can have a slow come-on feeling. Sometimes takes an hour to feel anything and often I feel most energized and awake between 4 and 7 hours after taking. Definitely helps with an even energy level throughout the day but takes some planning and getting used to. I recommend knowing what days you will use it and taking it right when you wake up. I've even set an alarm an hour before I wanted to be up, taken a pill, and gone back to sleep for an hour.

Conclusion
I'm very glad I found this medicine. It's made an enormous difference in my quality of life. I'm very willing to put up with the side effects.

Do your research and decide if it's really right for you. You'll probably have to request it by name and make your case to your doctor that it's an informed decision. I would avoid it if you have high blood pressure or other heart problems, or if you're unwilling to avoid substances such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine while taking it.

If you're prone to addiction or psychological dependence, especially if you like so-called "study drugs" or "smart drugs", consider if it's good for you. The focus elements are very powerful with little crash or come down and it seems slow to build a tolerance. I don't know if there are dependence or withdrawal symptoms, but this would be a really easy pill to keep reaching for to keep working on that project or just extend your social life hours. I'm comfortable with my discipline to monitor my responses, practice good usage, and cut off any potentially interfering substances or activities. You have to make that choice yourself.
 
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I'm sorry if this post is overly long, I'm hoping to create not only a living journal for myself (to keep track of the effects as they happen) but also to create kind of an in-depth experience for people who will search for armodafinil and its effects.
The post may have been long-ish, but was a well-written, brisk read, and an enormous service to anyone considering this drug. You've done a real community service here, and, altho I haven't considered using Armodafinil, in fact had never heard of it before this, I found your blow-by-blow description fascinating and informative.

I have, however, had the distinct displeasure of Effexor, back when I still allowed doctors to experiment on me, and can attest to the accuracy of the side-effects you describe when you withdraw, as well as he sometimes startlingly disquieting dreams, at least for me. Unfortunately, I didn't share in your good experiences with it, probably because it really had nothing to do with what ailed me.

Am hoping you're still doing well on the Armo, and that upward progress continues to the moon and beyond.
Again, great post !!!
 
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