Modafinil is a stimulant meant to be used by those who have trouble staying awake and alert during normal waking hours. Modafinil enhances mood but is not meant to be addictive, unlike other stimulants used for the same purpose such as amphetamines. In addition to the benefits of increased alertness, Modafinil has also been linked to improved memory. It is meant to accomplish all these benefits without disturbing normal sleep patterns or causing agitation or anxiety. Modafinil can be found in a number of brand name products such as Provigil, Aletec and Modiodal.
How Does Modafinil Work?
Modafinil works by altering specific chemicals (neurotransmitters) of the central nervous system. By controlling the amount of these chemicals in the brain, Modafinil is thought to stimulate the brain to be more alert. While a number of drugs are available to support wakefulness, Modafinil is thought to affect the brain differently. Most drugs that promote wakefulness are thought to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain which can lead to dependence. By have a strong reaction to the brain’s alpha-1 receptors – which are responsible for the body’s uptake of nor-adrenaline – and having a weak reaction towards the release of dopamine, Modafinil is supposed to limit the risk of dependence and mitigate the common side effects associated with competing drugs.
Uses For Modafinil
Modafinil is most commonly used as a treatment for narcolepsy (a malfunction of the sleep/wake regulating system in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable bouts of daytime sleep), obstructive sleep apnea (a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep) and shift work sleep disorders. It is also widely used to suppress the need for sleep and to treat general fatigue. Those suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have been prescribed Modafinil along with people experiencing depression, since it reduces tiredness and boosts mood.
Studies have also been conducted on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, Attention Deficit Disorder, Myotonic dystrophy and a number of other diseases of the brain and maladies related to excessive sleep or fatigue.
Modafinil is designed to reduce the risk of side effects usually associated with medications that help a person stay alert. Dependence, psychotic episodes, heart disease and anxiety are still risks to consider when taking Modafinil but some studies show these are less likely with Modafinil than with an amphetamine. More common side effects may include:
• difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
• loss of appetite
• unusual tastes
• dry mouth
• excessive thirst
• tight muscles or difficulty moving
• back pain
• uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
• burning, tingling, or numbness of the skin
• difficulty seeing or eye pain
Modafinil is a widely prescribed medication for people who need assistance staying awake. As with any prescription drug, side effects may occur and the potential risks should be considered carefully with your doctor.