Compare Ritalin vs. Provigil

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

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Ritalin (methylphenidate)

Prescription only

Provigil (modafinil)

Prescription only
Helps you focus and stay alert.

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that comes in many different forms, but you need to take this medication more often than alternatives.

3.5/ 5 average rating with 526 reviewsforRitalin
Improves alertness.

Provigil (modafinil) is effective in improving alertness, but it interacts with some medicines and shouldn't be used long-term.

4.2/ 5 average rating with 28 reviewsforProvigil
Upsides
  • First-choice medication to treat ADHD because it is cheap and effective.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) is used with counseling and other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release tablets, chewable tablet, and liquid.
  • Preferred medicine for elderly with ADHD or narcolepsy because it is safer than alternatives for this population.
  • Provigil (modafinil) is a nonstimulant medication that improves alertness.
  • Provigil (modafinil) is available in a cheaper, generic version.
  • Provigil (modafinil) is good at decreasing excessive sleepiness in shift work sleep disorder.
  • If you need to sleep in the daytime, this medication won't effect you.
Downsides
  • Need to take Ritalin (methylphenidate) 2 or 3 times a day compared to other ADHD medications which you can take once daily.
  • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so its not safe for people with heart problems.
  • It's a controlled medication (CII), so you may need to get a new prescription each month from your doctor.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) may affect growth in children and teens in some cases.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) contains a mixture of active and inactive compounds (dexmethylphenidate and methylphenidate, respectively), which may not work as well for some people.
  • Provigil (modafinil) can be habit forming, so it shouldn't be used for long-term treatment.
  • Provigil (modafinil) is not a good choice if you have liver problems.
  • May not be a good option if you are taking hormonal contraception like birth control pills.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
526 reviews so far
60%
saidit'sworth it
42%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Ritalin (methylphenidate)?

Leave a review
28 reviews so far
82%
saidit'sworth it
71%
saiditworked well
4%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Provigil (modafinil)?

Leave a review
Side effects
17possible side effects
  • Lowered appetite
    25%
  • Headache
    22%
  • Dry mouth
    14%
  • Nausea
    13%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    12%
  • Anxiety
    8%
  • Weight loss
    7%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Irritability
    6%
  • Fast heartbeat
    5%
  • Sweating
    5%
  • Depression
    4%
  • Stomach pain
    2%
  • Loss of appetite
    2%
  • Vomiting
    2%
  • Blurry vision
    2%
  • Aggressive behavior
    2%
See more detailed side effects
25possible side effects
  • Headache
    34%
  • Nausea
    11%
  • Nervousness
    7%
  • Stuffy nose
    7%
  • Back pain
    6%
  • Diarrhea
    6%
  • Indigestion
    5%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    5%
  • Anxiety
    5%
  • Dizziness
    5%
  • Flu symptoms
    4%
  • Dry mouth
    4%
  • Loss of appetite
    4%
  • Throat inflammation
    4%
  • Chest pain
    3%
  • High blood pressure
    3%
  • Fast heart beat
    2%
  • Palpitation
    2%
  • Dilation of blood vessels
    2%
  • Constipation
    2%
  • Abnormal liver function
    2%
  • Depression
    2%
  • Burning/tingling sensation
    2%
  • Drowsiness
    2%
  • Lung disorder
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of drug abuse
    • Alcoholism
  • Serious or life-threatening heart problems
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychiatric symptoms
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • History of Tourette's syndrome
  • Height and weight delay in children
    • Children
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Circulation problems in the hands and feet
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Serious allergic reactions
    • Allergy to Provigil (modafinil)
  • Heart problems
    • History of heart problems
  • Increased side effects
    • Current kidney problems
    • Current liver problems
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking with alcohol or drugs
See more detailed risks and warnings