According to a new study, people who regularly nap during the day may be more likely to take a medication like Modafinil. The drug is often prescribed to people who can’t stay alert due to daytime sleepiness. People who keep dozing off during the day may reach for Modafinil to stay awake, like people who can’t get to sleep at night are prescribed sleeping pills. It should be no surprise that some people define Modafinil as a “nootropic” or innovative medicine, given that it efficiently keeps you awake and boosts cognitive function. Because of its characteristics, such as the capacity to induce wakefulness, Modafinil has recently gained a lot of attention in the field of sleep medicine. Given this property, Modafinil has the potential to be an immensely helpful drug to treat excessive diurnal sleepiness (EDS), which is a symptom that can involve a variety of sleep disorders, including narcolepsy, sleep apnea, idiopathic hypersomnolence, and other health conditions that are defined by poor sleep quality and quantity.
Nevertheless, despite years of research into this medication, medical experts are still unable to identify the precise mode of action that it employs. Instead, a significant body of evidence suggests that it is an effective treatment for various sleep disorders. In addition, according to the results of numerous different clinical trials that are now being conducted, Modafinil has the potential to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including schizophrenia and drug use disorder.
Background of Modafinil
Modafinil was originally developed in France around the 1970s by neurophysiologist Professor Michel Jouvet and the Lafon Institute. Adrafinil was the first step in making Modafinil. It belonged to the benzhydryl sulfinyl chemical family and was first made available in France in 1986 as part of an experimental treatment for narcolepsy. Its activity is comparable to that of adrafinil, but Modafinil is much more widely used. There is no polar -OH group ordinarily present in terminal amides. In France, it has been marketed as his Modiodal for prescription patients since 1994.
In 1998, the USFDA approved Modafinil for the treatment of narcolepsy. In 2003, it was agreed to treat shift work insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea concurrently with hypopnea.
Mechanism of Modafinil as a Wakefulness-Promoting Agent
According to a study conducted in 1990s, Modafinil inhibits dopamine uptake and mitigates epileptic seizures along with enhancing cognitive functions. It is a CNS stimulant and impacts the body by speeding up mental and physical process. Clinical studies are also being conducted by researchers to see if it may treat psychosis, cocaine dependence, ADD, depression seasonal affective disorder, lethargy, and stress. Preclinical data also point to a potential application in the management of neurodegenerative disorders.
There still needs to be some clarification about how Modafinil works in the body. Even though it stimulates wakefulness, Modafinil is neither chemically nor pharmacologically related to other stimulants of the central nervous system (CNS) that increase wakefulness in the same way, such as amphetamine or methylphenidate. Instead, Modafinil works uniquely. Modafinil is classified as a schedule IV substance because it has a relatively low potential for abuse and does not exhibit any dopaminergic action typically associated with stimulants. As a result, patients are more likely to develop tolerance to stimulants. It is exceptionally site-specific, affecting distinct parts of the brain (the hypothalamus and the subcortical areas involved in controlling waking and sleep) than other central nervous system stimulants. For it to be able to stimulate wakefulness, the adrenergic system must be in good working order. Most research on Modafinil’s wake-promoting mechanism has concentrated on the drug’s monoaminergic effects. These investigations have demonstrated that Modafinil activates the histamine (HA), norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), and orexin pathways in the brain, however neither a specific site of action nor a specific receptor binding have been identified. Scientific research has also been done on Modafinil’s neuroprotective benefits, which are assumed to be related to the drug’s wakefulness-promoting qualities.
According to the findings of several studies, Modafinil exhibited just a moderate degree of selectivity for the dopamine carrier. It bound to the cell membrane protein that makes up the dopamine carrier but had no effect on any other examined receptors. Modafinil may thus function via impairing this transporter. However, it was noted that Modafinil has more powerful behavioral affects than other medications that bind to the dopamine reuptake transport mechanism with significantly higher affinities. As a result, it was determined that Modafinil could function differently.
This means that the cell that initially took in the dopamine cannot send it back to where it came from. As a consequence, the cells produce more dopamine to satisfy the body’s requirements, which leads to an increase in the amount of dopamine present in the synaptic cleft. The production of melatonin, which controls your sleep cycle, is hampered when dopamine levels are elevated because this prevents the release of norepinephrine, which is necessary for making melatonin.
In contrast to the substantial increases in locomotor activity caused by methamphetamine, the results of different trials indicated that Modafinil only caused a moderate increase in the amount of time spent moving around. In addition, they observed that both Modafinil and methamphetamine enhanced waking time but that Modafinil created more consolidated periods of wakefulness than methamphetamine did. Furthermore, in contrast to methamphetamine, Modafinil did not cause rebound hypersomnolence. Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that Modafinil is more effective than methamphetamine at suppressing the desire to sleep.
Along with having significant impacts on the sleep-wake cycle, Modafinil also has neuroprotective properties that unmistakably involve an oxidative process. Although it is possible that the neuroprotective effects of Modafinil are merely coincidental with the wake-promoting benefits of Modafinil, the significance of the ATP breakdown product adenosine in homeostatic sleep regulation provides at least a hint that Modafinil’s neuroprotective effects are relevant to the discussion of Modafinil’s wake-promoting effects. Given that the primary mechanism by which Modafinil exerts its antioxidant effects is not yet fully understood, we will now discuss several prospective areas for further research.
Advantages of Modafinil over other wakefulness-promoting drugs.
The use of Modafinil does not result in any of the major adverse central nervous system effects that are linked with methylphenidate and amphetamine. These symptoms include tachycardia, hypertension, dizziness, sleeplessness, and psychotic episodes. Headaches, anxiety, and nausea are the most often experienced adverse reactions to Modafinil. There are no major drug interactions known to occur with Modafinil, nor are there any dietary restrictions that are required to take it.
When compared to other stimulants, the potential for abuse or dependence is rather modest. In addition, there have been no reports of withdrawal symptoms associated with Modafinil.
Modafinil’s effects on wakefulness have been linked to an increase in both resting heart rate and blood pressure. Because of this, it is possible that individuals who have heart problems will not be permitted to take this medication for any reason. Due to the lack of long-term studies on the effects of Modafinil on the brain, one must carefully assess whether or not to prescribe Modafinil and compare the benefits of its stimulant capabilities against the risks that may be associated with taking it.
It is possible that Modafinil will help with daytime drowsiness, but it will not deliver the other benefits that enough rest does, most notably the enhancement of the immune system. If a person wants to use Modafinil for a condition other than narcolepsy or one of the other qualifying conditions, it may be an indication that they are experiencing high or severe stress, which Modafinil is not intended to treat.
Patients who suffer from EDS can benefit greatly from taking Modafinil because it is a one-of-a-kind CNS stimulant that is also generally safe to use. It has less negative effects on the CNS than other types of stimulants and carries a lower danger of tolerance building up in the body. In spite of the fact that additional research is required, Modafinil has pretty much demonstrated that it is a workable medicine for controlling sleep patterns. A person who takes this medication is able to stay alert during the day and get a decent night’s rest at night because it modifies the way in which the neurological system uses chemicals in the brain such as dopamine.