The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Modafinil for the treatment of many different conditions that include sleep disorders.
This eugeroic drug is specifically prescribed for narcolepsy and obstructive-sleep apnea. It is sold under several different brand names that include Provigil, Modavigil, and Alertec in the United States. Other wakefulness disorders that this drug has been used to treat include excessive, day-time sleepiness and shift-work sleep disorder.
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Modafinil was first approved in 1998, being initially used for the treatment of narcolepsy. The drug was briefly under consideration for treating children with ADHD in 2006. It did not receive approval due to the possibility of skin rash and other side effects, however.
Adults taking this medication to treat sleep disorders either take one pill in the morning or two doses throughout the day, adding a second a dose in the middle of the day. Modafinil is long-lasting, maintaining a half-life of 15 hours. Patients are not recommend to take the drug after mid-day due to the risk of disturbed sleep patterns.
This drug is used to treat hypersomnia in many other countries around the world but has not approved in the United States for this specific application. In these cases, patients are recommended to take 200 mg a day using a single dose.
This drug also has many off-label uses in which it can be very effective as well. Many doctors use Modafinil in the treatment of fatigue and sedation. This application is most common with people suffering from depression. It has also been shown to be effective in treating fatigue for people who have been diagnosed with fybromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, and spastic cerebral palsy.
There is also some debate surrounding the possibility that Modafinil acts as a cognitive enhancer. The studies analyzing this dimension of the drug were conducted in healthy patients who were not sleep deprived.
Doctors have also concluded that this drug is effective for the treatment of many psychiatric disorders as well. Modafinil has had a positive impact on people struggling with cocaine dependence, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. People who suffer from neurological fatigue and multiple sclerosis have also found relief when turning to this drug.
This off-label application was tested in trials that involved placebos and control groups over a period of nine weeks. Patients using the treatment for these conditions require much lower doses than the more traditional applications. Increased doses do not actually increase the effectiveness of the medication in this situation.
The potential of the drug is considerable when used correctly. It has even been shown to reduce appetite in patients, aiding them in weight-loss efforts. While taking 200 milligrams daily, patients experienced an 18 percent decrease in their caloric intake. Patients taking 400 milligrams experienced a decrease of 38 percent.