Compare Ritalin vs. Provigil

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Concerta
(Methylphenidate)

Provigil
(Modafinil)

Helps you focus and stay alert. Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD. It comes in many different forms and is also available as a generic. That said, the immediate-release form needs to be taken more frequently than other alternatives.Improves alertness. Provigil (Modafinil) is effective in improving alertness, but it can interact with other medicines and shouldn't be used long-term.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.770873786407767Ritalin
Reviews for Concerta (Methylphenidate)
59%
of people say Concerta (Methylphenidate) is worth it
41%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Provigil (Modafinil)
78%
+19% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
70%
+29% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
4%
+15% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
Side effects
RitalinProvigil

The Ritalin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Ritalin side effects »
  • Headache 11%
  • Nausea 8%
  • Any side effect 5%
  • Nervousness 4%
  • Sleep difficulty 4%
  • Anxiety 4%
  • Loss of appetite 3%
  • Dry mouth 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Chest pain 2%
More Provigil side effects »
How it works
RitalinProvigil
Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a stimulant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for ADHD, but it increases norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.Provigil (Modafinil) is a stimulant that helps you feel awake. Researchers don't know exactly how Provigil (Modafinil) works, but it probably affects chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain.
Type of medication
RitalinProvigil
StimulantPrescription only
StimulantPrescription only
Available as
RitalinProvigil
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
RitalinProvigil
Risk factors for serious side effects
RitalinProvigil
  • History of heart problems
  • History of psychotic episodes
  • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Children ages 7 to 10
  • History of drug abuse
  • History of seizures
      Detailed Concerta (Methylphenidate) risks & warnings »
      • Taking with alcohol
      • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
          • Current kidney problems
          • Current liver problems
          • History of heart problems
          • History of psychiatric disorder
          • History of bipolar disorder
          Detailed Provigil (Modafinil) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy category
          RitalinProvigil
          CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          See the FDA package insert
          CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          See the FDA package insert
          Alcohol
          • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
          • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
          • Don't drink alcohol with Provigil (Modafinil).
          Food
          No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
          • Not a good choice if you have liver or kidney problems.
          • Provigil (Modafinil) is broken down by the kidney and liver. If you have kidney or liver problems, you may need to use a lower dose to prevent more side effects.
          Sex
          • There have been reports of men having an erection lasting more than 4 hours while on Concerta (Methylphenidate). This has been rare and usually happened after a person's dose of Concerta (Methylphenidate) was increased. If not treated in time, this can cause permanent damage to your penis, including impotence. Talk to your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if this happens.
          No specific sex-related info.
          Sleep
          No specific sleep-related info.
          • Effective in reducing excessive sleepiness in Shift-work Sleep Disorder.
          • Doesn't negatively affect daytime sleep.
          Weight
          • Appetite suppression may occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Concerta (Methylphenidate) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children ages seven to ten years. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
          No specific weight-related info.
          Upsides and benefits
          RitalinProvigil
          • First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
          • Concerta (Methylphenidate) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
          • Available as a generic medication.
          • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release oral tablets, chewable immediate-release tablets, liquid, suspension, and skin patches.
          • Capsules can be opened and sprinkled in water or applesauce for people who don't like swallowing pills.
          • It's a non-amphetamine medicine that helps improve alertness.
          • Available in a generic version.
          • Effective in reducing excessive sleepiness in Shift-work Sleep Disorder.
          • Doesn't negatively affect daytime sleep.
          Downsides and risks
          RitalinProvigil
          • The immediate-release form needs to be taken two or three times a day.
          • After taking Concerta, the tablet shell can be seen in your stool, but don't be concerned since the medication was still absorbed by your body.
          • The second or third dose needs be taken by early afternoon, otherwise insomnia can affect you that night.
          • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
          • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
          • Provigil (Modafinil) can be habit-forming, so it's typically not used for long-term treatment.
          • Interacts with many other medications.
          • Taking Provigil (Modafinil) will make hormonal birth control less effective. You should definitely use additional forms of non-hormonal contraception.
          • Not a good choice if you have liver or kidney problems.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          RitalinProvigil
          • Since it comes in many different forms, there are different requirements for how to take or use each type. Make sure you know how to take the one you have.
          • Store Concerta (Methylphenidate) in a locked area to prevent abuse.
          • Take it early in the morning to prevent insomnia later that night.
          • It can cause changes in your mood.
          • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
          • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
          • Take Provigil (Modafinil) about an hour before you need to be fully alert.
          • Taking caffeine with Provigil (Modafinil) can cause you to feel nervous, shaky, and have a faster heartbeat. Try limiting your caffeine intake.
          • Until you know how Provigil (Modafinil) makes you feel, don't drive or perform any tasks that need you to be alert.
          • You can experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking Provigil (Modafinil). Talk to your doctor before making any changes.
          • Tell your doctor right away if you break out in a rash.
          • Don't drink alcohol with Provigil (Modafinil).
          Learn more
          More about RitalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about ProvigilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert