Modafinil Sleep: the Role of Modafinil in Treating Sleep Disorders


Modafinil is a medication that belongs to the group of drugs called nootropics (medicines that improve cognitive function). According to the FDA, Modafinil is approved for alleviating the symptoms of excessive sleepiness in patients suffering from narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift-work disorders.

In the treatment of narcolepsy and shift-work disorders, Modafinil can be administered as a monotherapy, while in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea it is usually used in combination with other drugs.

What Is Excessive Sleepiness?

Excessive sleepiness is an inability to stay awake during the certain situations when wakefulness and alertness are expected (for example, you fall asleep while driving a car or during the job interview). The National Sleep Foundation conducted the survey that showed that as many as 37% of adults experience excessive sleepiness that interfere with daily activities.

There are many different causes of this illness, but it is most commonly associated with three diseases:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Shift-work disorder
  • Obstructive sleep apnea 

Excessive sleepiness is a huge problem and it increases the risk of road accidents. If you think you’re suffering from this disease, you should contact your doctor. First step is to determine the underlying cause of sleepiness, after which your physician will decide which drug is best to treat this condition.

How Does Modafinil Eliminate Excessive Sleepiness?

Unfortunately, the exact and precise mechanism by which Modafinil promotes wakefulness in patients is not known to date. It has been recognized that this medicine exhibits very similar effects as Amphetamine when it comes to

Modafinil Eliminate Excessive Sleepiness

promoting wakefulness (Amphetamine is a sympathomimetic drug that is illegal for use), but on the other hand, it has a completely different pharmacological profile from Amphetamine. Modafinil is a legal substance as opposed to Amphetamine and exhibits significantly lower potential for addiction.

Modafinil has a very low affinity for dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, histamine, and adenosine receptors. Clinical studies have shown that this drug does not bind to monoamino oxidase receptors either. Studies have shown that the alpha-1 blocker (Prazosin) significantly reduces the effects of Modafinil. Because of this, it is now presumed that this medicine improves the symptoms of excessive sleepiness by binding to alpha-1 receptors, thereby exhibiting an agonistic effect. For now there are no in vivo and in vitro studies that would confirm this mechanism.

In addition to improving excessive sleepiness, the FDA states that Modafinil can cause euphoria, improve mood, and cognitive functions in individuals. Because of these effects, this drug is often used off-label in people who want to increase concentration, improve learning abilities and work performance.

Is Modafinil Effective? What Clinical Studies Say?

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted on pilots, and it has been shown that Modafinil attenuated sleep deprivation effects and lessened problems associated with alertness in comparison with placebo.

Efficacy of Modafinil in treating obstructive sleep apnea has been demonstrated in two

Is Modafinil Effectiveclinical trials. One study was placebo-controlled trial lasting three months and included 327 patients, and other study was also placebo-controlled but lasted shorter (one month) and included 157 patients. Both studies confirmed that Modafinil is very effective in promoting wakefulness in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

12-week placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted in order to determine efficacy of the drug in the treatment of shift-work disorder. This study enrolled a total of 209 patients suffering from Modafinil. These patients were divided into two groups (one was receiving this nootropic and other one was receiving placebo). This study showed statistically significant improvement of symptoms in patients receiving Modafinil in comparison to placebo.

There are many studies that have confirmed efficacy of Modafinil in improving symptoms of narcolepsy, and this medicine is now considered a first-line therapy for narcolepsy-related sleepiness.

Modafinil DosageDosage of Modafinil

The before you buy Modafinil online know that the usual dose for the treatment of excessive sleepiness is Modafinil 200mg once a day.

In the treatment of narcolepsy, Modafinil should be taken in the morning immediately after getting up, while in the treatment of shift-work disorder, it should be taken one hour before the start of the shift.

There are data on patients who have used doses of 400mg daily, but it has not been proved that higher doses increase the efficacy of Modafinil. On the other hand, the use of higher doses may lead to an increased risk of side effects. Therefore, it is not recommended to use dosages greater than 200mg per day.

Modafinil can be taken with a meal, as food does not affect the efficacy of the drug, but may cause a delay in the onset of its effects.

Warnings Signs when Taking Modafinil

Modafinil is considered to be a well-tolerated and safe drug, even for a long-

term use. However, the FDA warns

on possibility of serious hypersensitivity skin rash (so-called Stevens-Johnsons syndrome). This syndrome is characterized by blisters that appears on the skin

and may lead to the kidney damage (which may be life-threatening). However, this side effect occurs very rarely (in less than 1 in 10 000 treated patients). Even when Steven-Johnson syndrome appears, the chances that it will cause kidney damage are minimal. However, you should inform your doctor if you notice any changes on your skin.

Patients should be advised that Modafinil may not return their level of wakefulness to normal. Therefore, caution should be exercised if these patients want to drive, operate machinery or be involved in any other potentially dangerous activities. Caution is advised in patients with prior psychiatric history, because Modafinil may increase the risk of psychiatric side effects in these patients. Rare cases of psychiatric adverse effects have been reported in patients with no prior psychiatric history. Inform your doctor right away if you notice hallucinations, delusions, suicidal thoughts/ideation, or mania.

The safety of Modafinil in cardiovascular patients hasn’t been evaluated yet. Therefore, caution is advised when administering this medicine in patients with cardiovascular diseases. Inform your physician right away if you notice chest pain, palpitations or irregular heartbeat. The 12-week placebo-controlled trial was conducted in order to evaluate the effect of Modafinil on blood pressure. It has been proved that the nootropic causes no significant changes in blood pressure.

Always inform your doctor if you notice any side effects.


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