This medication is helpful where you need some stimulation to counter some type of sleeping disorder or fatigue. Narcolepsy treatment is a use for Modafinil. There is evidence that this medication can also be helpful in treating symptoms that are related to withdrawal from cocaine addiction, some types of depression, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
This medication works by increasing the rate release into your bloodstream of monoamines. Monoamines is a medical term that is used for neurotransmitters, which act to transmit signals of a neuron or nerve to a cell. This medication also works to bump up the level of hypothalamic histamine in your system. This combination can help the patient focus along with helping to promote a sense of alertness.
Narcolepsy is a medical condition where the patient experiences episodes of loss of conscious that comes on suddenly. Modafinil acts as a stimulate in the patient’s body so they may experience this loss of consciousness less frequently. They may also remain unconscious for less time.
Modafinil also can benefit patients who suffer from other types of disorders that are related to sleep. One disorder is shift work sleep disorder. This disorder is what some patients who work at night suffer. It is characterized by the patient’s inability during the day to enter a state of recuperative sleep. Because of this they may become irritable, find it hard to focus at work, and tired. Using Modafinil it helps to create a sense of being alert and rested without causing the patient to have the nervous jitters that can happen with many stimulants. Another sleep disorder it may help is sleep apnea, which is when the patient has brief pauses in their breathing patterns or even stops breathing briefly while sleeping.
The dosage a patient takes is based on their medical condition and their response to treatment. To get the most benefits from Modafinil the patient needs to take it regularly. It comes in 100 milligrams and 200 milligrams.
- Narcolepsy—200 milligrams once a day in the morning
- Sleep Apnea—200 milligrams once a day in the morning
- Shift work sleep disorder—200 milligrams once a day approximately 60 minutes prior to the start of the patient’s shift.
Many of the side effects of Modafinil are mild but one that is very worrisome to physicians and a patient is drug dependency. The upside is that this medication is not known to cause any physical symptoms of withdrawal when the medication is stopped.
Some of the milder adverse side effects can include:
- Dry mouth
- Flu-like symptoms
- Anxiety and depression
- Back pain
- Nervous feelings
- Stomach upsets like heartburn and diarrhea
- Runny or stuffy nose
Some of the less common side effects that some patients may experience can include:
- Low or high blood pressure
- Heart beat that is irregular
- Uncoordinated or tense muscles
- Water retention
In more severe cases, some patients may experience other symptoms. These severe reactions are thought not to be typical and occur in only one to four percent of patients taking Modafinil. These can include:
- Vision problems
- Genital or oral lesions that are associated with the herpes simplex virus
- Prolonged muscle spasms
- Blood pressure that is unusually high
- Blood in the urine
- Chest pain with a rapid heart beat.
If any of these symptoms occur, you should speak with your physician immediately.
Currently research is being done to see if Modafinil can help those with the following medical conditions.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)—at this time research shows that there are risks of serious side effects like skin reactions. It is also not recommended for use for children with ADHD
- Depersonalization disorder—clinical trials have not been conducted but used alone Modafinil has reported to be effective in a subgroup of patients with this disorder.
- Cocaine addiction—it is under investigation as a possible method to treat this addition
- Weight loss—studies done indicate that Modafinil does have an appetite weight loss effect.
- Cognitive enhancement—there is a disagreement as to whether the cognitive effects the medication showed in non-sleep deprived healthy patients were sufficient enough for it to be considered a cognitive enhancer
- Motion sickness—alone, Modafinil did not help but if used in combination with scopolamine it helped to reduce drowsiness symptoms that are associated with scopolamine.
At this time, it has been approved for the treatment of narcolepsy and a certain group of other sleep disorders in the United States. It was approved for the treatment of narcolepsy in 1998 and for sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder in 2003. It is illegal to import by anyone other than a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registered importer without having a prescription. A person can legally bring Modafinil from a foreign country into the United States if they have a prescription. It also must be declared properly at the border. Patients in the United States are limited to fifty dosage units. Under the US Food and Drug Act (FDA) a drug company is not allowed to market their medications for conditions not approved by the FDA.
In the United States, Modafinil has been classified as a schedule IV controlled substance. This means that it is restricted in usage and availability because of concerns about a possible addiction to the medication.
Modafinil has been around for sixteen years and according to reports, the company still does not know what kind of long-term side effects it may have if you use it for a long term. There are no reports of studies being done to see how it affects patients who are taking Modafinil long term.
Makers of the drug
The maker of Modafinil is Cephalon, Inc . Modafinil is the generic form of Provigil and is also manufactured by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Par Pharmaceutical Companies, and Mylan Pharmaceuticals.
Yes, it has been approved for those with sleeping disorders like narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder but in regards to long-term use, not much is known about this. If there are any repercussions from long-term use they may not be known yet as it could take time to see any effects. Taken as directed by your physician it can benefit many with sleep disorders so if you have a sleep disorder talk to your physician about Modafinil.