WHAT IS MODAFINIL?
Modafinil (also known by it's brand name, Provigil) is an FDA approved drug that enhances wakefulness, mental energy and focus. It is often prescribed by doctors for the treatment of narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness, though recently Modafinil has also emerged as a popular "smart drug" amongst professionals and entrepreneurs who benefit from the effects of increased alertness and cognitive function.
Many people use Modafinil off-label to increase their focus and productivity throughout the day, including corporate executives, academics, students, entrepreneurs, flight attendants and people working in high-pressured environments that require them to be sharp and mentally alert for long hours. Unlike other attention enhancing drugs such as Adderall, Modafinil has very few side effects and does not cause the jitteriness associated with other stimulants. With the beneficial effects of Modafinil becoming more widely known due to media coverage and public endorsements by renowned entrepreneurs, a growing number of professionals are approaching their doctor for a Modafinil prescription for a variety of sleep related disorders.
HOW MODAFINIL WORKS
Extensive research has been done into the interaction of modafinil with a large number of neurotransmitter systems, but its precise mechanisms of action remain unclear. It's known that Modafinil elevates hypothalamic histamine levels, leading some researchers to consider modafinil a "wakefulness promoting agent" rather than a classic amphetamine-like stimulant. Modafinil seems to inhibit the actions of the dopamine transporter, leading to an increase in extracellular and synaptic concentrations of dopamine. Several studies have suggested that Modafinil actually increases the effectiveness of the connections between neurons through increased activity in the thalamocortical loop, which is critical in organizing sensory input and modulating global brain activity. Although all this might sound a little complicated, it's actually quite straightforward: Modafinil increases the levels of dopamine in the in the frontal cortex of the brain, which is the area responsible for attention and cognitive focus. At the same time, it seems to have the effect of strengthening the connection pathways between neurons - allowing for a better flow of information. This is why many people take Modafinil when they study or when they require high productivity at work.
MODAFINIL IS AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR SLEEP DISORDERS
Modafinil is often prescribed for a variety of sleep disorders, including Narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder.
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder caused by the brain's inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. People with narcolepsy often experience disturbed nocturnal sleep and an abnormal daytime sleep pattern, which often is confused with insomnia. This can cause them to feel extreme fatigue during the day, which can interfere with their ability to perform at work or school. Drugs such as Modafinil (either in its branded form - Provigil - or its generic form, Modalert) would normally be prescribed by your doctor if you are suffering from Narcolepsy.
THE BEST TIME OF DAY TO TAKE MODAFINIL
Just like many people rely on caffeine (or Bulletproof Coffee) to wake them up in the morning, the effects of Modafinil are best when it is taken shortly after waking up. We recommend taking it before 11am otherwise you make have difficulty getting to sleep that night. The effects of Modafinil normally last over 12 hours, so plan your day accordingly. Before taking it, we suggest you have a clear action plan for what you want to accomplish that day. This will really help you maintain focus and increase your performance. Checklists are particularly good when you're on Modafinil as they give structure to your productivity.
THE HISTORY OF MODAFINIL (PROVIGIL)
Modafinil was originally developed in France by neurophysiologist and emeritus experimental medicine professor Michel Jouvet and Lafon Laboratories. Modafinil originated with the late 1970s invention of a series of benzhydryl sulfinyl compounds, including adrafinil, which latter was first offered as an experimental treatment for narcolepsy in France in 1986. It has been prescribed in France since 1994 under the name Modiodal, and in the US since 1998 as Provigil. It was approved for use in the UK in December 2002. Modafinil is marketed in the US by Cephalon Inc., who originally leased the rights from Lafon, but eventually purchased the company in 2001.
While Provigil is the brand of Modafinil most commonly known in the United States, the generic version of Modafinil called Modalert, produced by Sun Pharmaceuticals, is popular internationally.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF MODAFINIL
Very few people experience serious negative side effects from Modafinil, however it should be worth noting that the long term effects and effectiveness of Modafinil have not been determined.
Some of the mild side effects that some people have reported during trials include headache, nausea, stuffy nose, diarrhea and trouble sleeping.
In 2007, the FDA ordered Cephalon to modify the Provigil leaflet in bold-face print of several serious conditions attributed to modafinil use, including toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), DRESS syndrome, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). These are extremely rare, but of course for legal reasons it's important that we point them out.
Women should also take extra precautions if taking Modafinil while on birth control. Modafinil can make certain types of birth control pills less effective, which could result in an unplanned pregnancy.
If you have experienced any health issues during the past few years, please do consult with your doctor about whether Modafinil is right for you.
WHAT KIND OF DRUG IS MODAFINIL?
Modafinil is currently classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance under United States federal law.
Controlled substances are drugs or other substances that are controlled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This act categorizes all substances which are regulated under federal law into "schedules," depending on how hazardous they are. The schedule the drug is placed under depends on it's medical use, it's potential for abuse, and it's safety or how easily people become dependent on it.
In order for a drug to be categorized as a Schedule IV drug in the United States Controlled Substances Act, it must meet this criteria:
The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III.
The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III. As Modafinil is commonly prescribed for medical use in the United States and does not seem to have addictive or dependent effects, it is classed as a schedule IV drug as it meets the criteria for relatively low abuse potential, verified medical use, and limited dependence risk.
This categorization applies to all brands of Modafinil, including Provigil and Modalert.
THE EFFECTS OF MODAFINIL ON SLEEP PATTERNS
As Modafinil is a wakefulness promoting drug, many people take it to counteract the effects of lack of sleep and give them more focus and mental energy throughout the day. However this also means that taking Modafinil can prevent you from experiencing that tired feeling that most people require in order to go to sleep. If you don't want to have an interrupted sleep pattern, the best time to take Modafinil is early in the morning when you wake up. Just like taking your morning hit of caffeine in the form of a cup of coffee - think of Modafinil as your smoother, stronger equivalent. The effects of Modafinil start to wear off after about 12 hours (or less, if you are just taking a low dose) so plan your schedule to avoid it interfering with your sleep.
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