A prescription cure for jetlag?

Is there such a thing, and does it really work?  The folks at Cephalon, a mid-size player in the pharmaceutical industry seem to think so and they’ve got the medical test results to back up their findings.  Plus, I’ve got the first hand experience to back it up, too.

A year ago this week I was locked in a medical lab in rural France participating in a study for the drug Nuvigil.  And the drug was supposed to be approved by the US Food & Drug Administration shortly before the new year but that decision has been delayed now a few months “to allow more time to analyze the data,” according to Cephalon.

The drug works by preventing users from feeling sleepy, not by actually changing the circadian rhythms of the body.  And it works pretty well in my experience, maybe too well.  On days two and three of the trial I was somewhat jittery with the dosage I was on.  The easy answer to that is simply to not take it for as many days as the trial required but it is worth being aware of.

Another potential limiting factor in the drug’s acceptance is the price.  It is expected to cost at least $9 per pill.  That’s a lot for a drug but not so bad when you consider that most folks will only use a couple pills per year.  For the cost of a couple extra large coffees on arrival a medical solution is possible.  Not too shabby.

There’s some coverage of the drug in today’s New York Times, including a couple quotes from me at the end.  Yes, the food really was that bad.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Fun to see a fellow FTer mentioned in the NYT. I didn’t know about your website but glad that they mentioned it. Bet you didn’t get any FF miles.

    About Nuvigil, I have used Provigil occasionally for jet lag so I expect it will work as well. Price is a bit outrageous, though. You can get Modafanil in Europe for considerably less.

  2. Defnitely no miles for the trip but it was still worth it. Longhaul on a Gulfstream G IV (even crowded) was great. Met some wonderful folks and came home with good stories. I’ll get over the no miles part in exchange for that.

  3. I think it would be worth $9 a pill, if there were no other alternative for jet lag. There are. I’d be reluctant to prescribe or to take it. Nuvigil, if approved by the FDA, will be great for Cephalon, but I’m skeptical it will be a great advance for travelers. See http://bit.ly/7iZqB1

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