Modafinil is a psychostimulant that accelerates the body’s vital functions. It was developed in the late 1980s by American drugmaker Cephalon to treat narcolepsy, a condition in which people suddenly fall asleep during the day. Narcolepsy affects approximately 0.02 to 0.03% of the population. Modafinil is sold by prescription in Finland and is indicated for the treatment of narcolepsy in adults. The recommended starting dose is 200 mg/day. Single doses should not exceed 400 mg.
Modafinil is also used to treat conditions other than narcolepsy that also cause daytime sleepiness. It is also sometimes used to treat attention deficit and memory disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
Use like a drug
Modafinil is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances and is classified as a stimulant. Its effect on athletic performance has been little studied, however, based on the effects of this drug, it is believed to improve endurance and speed. It is known to be used in bodybuilding to reduce fat content due to its appetite suppressant effect.
Modafinil is also used to improve cognitive performance, which is called brain doping. When tested on people who do not have difficulty sleeping, the drug was found to have a positive effect on attention, learning ability and memory. Students and shift workers are known to use modafinil or similar substances. Modafinil has also been studied by the US military as a potential performance enhancer.
Properties and mechanism of action.
The mechanism of action of modafinil is different from that of amphetamine and ephedrine or other similar psychostimulants. Modafinil is also not formed in the human body from derivatives of amphetamine or ephedrine.
Modafinil affects different areas of the brain. The most important effect is probably the increase in the speed of mental reactions. This effect refers to the lower part of the diencephalon, the hypothalamus, where the activation of neural pathways takes place, in which the action of orexins/hypocretins takes place, which play an important role in the regulation of sleep-wakefulness in as intermediate substances. .
Additionally, it activates sympathetic alpha-1 receptors in the central nervous system, increases the stimulating activity of glutamine and histamine transmitters, and also enhances the effects of serotonin in the cerebral cortex.
In addition, it reduces the activity of inhibitory nerve cells in which gamma-aminobutyric acid acts as a transmitter. However, the exact mechanism by which modafinil promotes wakefulness is unknown.
Unlike amphetamine, Modafinil does not stimulate the dopamine system of the central nervous system.
Modafinil can cause pleasurable and addictive effects, but to a much lesser extent than amphetamines. It is well tolerated in therapeutic doses, but side effects may include insomnia, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, headache, blurred vision, nervousness, restlessness, aggression, increased blood pressure and cardiac symptoms.