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How Does Modafinil Help Control Narcolepsy?

How Does Modafinil Help Control Narcolepsy?

The popular “smart drug” – modafinil, which is now used to get rid of sleep apnea and enhance focus, was first introduced as a prescription medication for the treatment of narcolepsy.

Here is a deeper insight into how modafinil helps relieve the symptoms of narcolepsy and improves the quality of life of a patient.

How Does Narcolepsy Affect Normal Life?

Let’s start with understanding what narcolepsy is. Narcolepsy is a chronic sleeping disorder that makes you feel fatigued and experience an uncontrollable desire to sleep often. You may also get sleep attacks, where you fall asleep suddenly at irregular periods during the day [1].

Narcolepsy can make life difficult as you will feel tired and will not be able to focus on any task properly. You also have to be on guard all the time in case a sleeping attack gets triggered.

Girl with Narcolepsy

Some common difficulties faced by narcoleptic patients are enumerated below:

  • lack of concentration;
  • accidental falls, mishaps due to lethargy and sleepiness the patients suffer from;
  • it could affect social and work life as people with narcolepsy might find it too difficult to be energetic and focused at work;
  • lagging in educational and athletic performance. Cognitive abilities could suffer due to a lack of proper sleeping behavior;
  • driving hazard, as people with narcolepsy can’t drive by themselves due to the danger of falling asleep any time or feeling sleepy while driving.

As is evident, life doesn’t come easy for people with narcolepsy. It puts a big blockade on their way to growth and success in any aspect of life. There will always be a fear of loss of work, mistakes, and loss of precious time. But thanks to powerful medications like modafinil, they can very well manage to live a fulfilling life.

Recommended Modafinil Dosage for Narcolepsy

Modafinil is an oral medication that is available in the form of a pill. It is usually available in two dosage levels – 200 mg and 400mg. It can be swallowed whole with water. You can take it any time during, after or before a meal. Modafinil makes it extremely easy to manage the symptoms of narcolepsy. Several clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of modafinil in improving the quality of life in narcoleptic patients [2]. The drug is easy to obtain and is a much safer option compared to a similar stimulant class of drugs. It has also shown a certain level of mood improvements in users. Even healthy users find modafinil as a safe nootropic drug as it helps them perform better both in academics and work situations.

Modafinil for narcolepsy is officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is sold under the popular brand name Provigil® in the US. The usual starting dosage for narcolepsy treatment is 200 mg, but this could vary, depending on your particular needs and medical conditions. So, you should always take the medication as prescribed by your physician. Some doctors might ask you to start with a small dose of 50 mg daily and increase it to 200 mg daily depending upon your tolerance level. You may also be asked to divide the dosage into two parts with a single dose of 200 mg in the morning and a 100 mg dose during the midday.

Your doctor could alter your dosage depending upon your symptoms. In case you ever forget to take a dosage, do not panic and try to take two doses at a single time. It is okay to skip doses, and you can simply take the next one when it is due.

Modafinil has, in general, few side effects. Serious side effects have been observed only in rare cases. If you experience any of the side effects, please talk to your doctor and get the right consultation on continuing or discontinuing the medication. Here are some of the common side effects to look out for:

  • dry mouth;
  • indigestion;
  • diarrhea;
  • constipation;
  • feeling dizzy;
  • headache;
  • nausea;
  • confusion;
  • insomnia;
  • nervousness;
  • anxiety.

In cases of serious side effects like rashes, Steven Johnson’s syndrome, fever, depression or hallucinations, stop usage immediately and consult your doctor [3].

Also, remember to take advice from your doctor on the drug combination you can safely have while taking modafinil.

Modafinil Not Working: What to Do?

Sometimes you may feel that modafinil is not working for you. There could be many reasons for this:

  • Long-term use of modafinil is sometimes observed to have lost some effectiveness as people might develop tolerance to the drug. You can try to stop using modafinil for a few weeks and cut back on usage to build up a tolerance again.
  • The other reason could be that you are non-responsive to modafinil. A small percentage of people are naturally not responsive to the drug and may not experience its effects.
  • You might be using low-quality modafinil that is not effective in the management of narcolepsy.

If you are already energetic and focused by nature, you may feel the boost modafinil provides to be scant and not much of a difference to your usual state.

Modafinil Drugs

There are some natural ways to get rid of these sleep issues. You can follow a good sleep pattern to ensure deep sleep in the night time. Try to keep your bedroom and bed clean so that you can get better sleep.

Final Thoughts

Modafinil is truly one of the blessings of modern medication that helps both patients suffering from narcolepsy and healthy people to stay alert and have a productive day. But the effects are only useful as long as you use the authentic medication under the proper guidance of your physician. So make sure your source of modafinil is bought from reliable vendors for the best results.

References:

  1. Narcolepsy Fact Sheet. Ninds.nih.gov.
  2. Modafinil in the Treatment of Excessive Sleepiness. Published online: February 6, 2009. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  3. Modafinil Side Effects and How to Avoid Them. Published online: May 1, 2020. Modafinil.org.
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