Provigil, also known by its generic name of modafinil, is a wakefulness-promoting agent for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness. It is prescribed primarily for the treatment of EDS in persons with narcolepsy.

For nearly fifty years, the only medications available to treat narcolepsy were high-abuse-potential, amphetamine-based drugs such as Dexedrine and Ritalin. Unlike traditional stimulants, Provigil does not mediate wakefulness by a dopaminergic mechanism; furthermore, it is (also unlike amphetamine/methylphenidate) highly selective to the anterior hypothalamus, a region of the brain believed to regulate normal wakefulness.

Provigil improves one's ability to stay awake and participate in daily activities. In one study, its efficacy (measured using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale was documented at 20%, versus 7% placebo (p<0.001).

It works.

Throughout my life (since age seven), I've suffered fainting spells, depression, and even seizures, all of which had a hugely negative impact on both my grades and my social life - and which went undiagnosed until age twenty, when a correct diagnosis of narcolepsy brought medication and treatment. The medication has had a profoundly positive effect - I can concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time, can stay awake and alert for more than just an hour or two, can study and retain knowledge - all things that the disease had debilitating effects on for nearly all of my life. I do not feel it to be an exaggeration to say that much of my academic, social, and emotional life before Provigil was more representative of the disease than of my own personality and intellect.