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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Coupons for Ritalin
Best available price for 90 (10mg) tablets of ritalin
Coupons for Provigil
Best available price for 30 (200mg) tablets of provigil
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.79Ritalin
Reviews for Ritalin
60%
of people (All ages) say Ritalin is worth it
42%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
526 reviews
Have you used Concerta (methylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Provigil
82%
-22% worse vs. Ritalin
71%
-29% worse vs. Ritalin
4%
-15% worse vs. Ritalin
Have you used Provigil (modafinil)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
RitalinProvigil
  • Upper abdominal pain 5%
  • Decreased appetite 5%
  • Headache 5%
  • Dry mouth 5%
  • Nausea 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 5%
  • Anxiety 5%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Weight loss 5%
  • Irritability 5%
More Ritalin side effects »
  • Headache 11%
  • Nausea 8%
  • Any side effect 5%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 1%
  • Nervousness 4%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Dizziness 1%
  • Sleep difficulty 4%
  • Indigestion 1%
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
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
RitalinProvigil
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
  • Pill
Used for
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
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
Detailed Provigil (modafinil) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

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.

Interactions
RitalinProvigil
No interactions related info.
  • Interacts with many other medications.
Alcohol
RitalinProvigil
  • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
  • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
  • Don't drink alcohol with Provigil (Modafinil).
Kidneys and liver
RitalinProvigil
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • 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.
  • Not a good choice if you have liver or kidney problems.
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
Have you used Concerta (methylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ProvigilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Provigil (modafinil)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it