Modafinil is a drug that is used to promote alertness and help patients stay awake. The specific mechanism of action of modafinil is unknown. However, it likely interacts with neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
Modafinil-containing medications are used to treat patients suffering from excessive sleepiness. Excessive or persistent sleepiness may be caused by narcolepsy, a condition that causes daytime sleepiness, or it may also be due to altered inconsistent or disturbed sleep patterns at night.
This can be observed in people whose jobs require them to work in shifts as well as individuals suffering from sleep apnoea (a disorder in which recurrent breathing pauses disrupt sleep at night). Excessive sleepiness may also occur without a known (idiopathic hypersomnia).
How should modafinil be used?
Always follow the guidelines provided by your pharmacist and follow the instructions provided by your doctor before you begin using modafinil. Contact your doctor if you have any questions (Doctoroncall).
For narcolepsy, take modafinil once daily in the morning, with or without food, as advised by your doctor. Alternatively, your doctor may direct you to split your daily dose into two parts: morning and noon.
Similarly for sleep apnoea, take modafinil once daily in the morning, with or without food, as advised by your doctor. It is also important to continue with your other treatments (CPAP, mouth device) unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
If modafinil is being used for shift work-related sleep disorders, take modafinil by mouth, with or without food, as suggested by your doctor, generally 1 hour before your work shift begins.
The information above describes approaches that are typically used or suggested. However, you should always follow your doctor’s advice when using modafinil. Your doctor will determine the approach most suitable for you and your needs.
What is the suitable dosage for modafinil?
A doctor will prescribe the modafinil dosage based on a few factors. These include:
- The condition being treated
- The severity of the condition
- The age of the patient
- The responsiveness to the medication
- Other medical conditions the patient may have
Typically, a doctor will start patients on a low dose and gradually increase it to meet their needs. Eventually, they will prescribe the lowest possible dosage which can elicit the desired effects.
Is it okay to borrow a friend’s prescription for modafinil to help me stay alert?
It is never a good idea to share prescription drugs with other people. As modafinil, like other prescription drugs, may cause side effects, you should never take them without first consulting a doctor.
The use of modafinil may also lead to addiction. This risk increases if you have a substance use condition (such as drug or alcohol addiction). It may also cause withdrawal symptoms such as chills, nausea, sweating and confusion.
Therefore, it is vital that you never take modafinil without a doctor’s approval to protect your health and wellbeing.
What are the side effects of modafinil?
Common side effects of modafinils include:
- Sleeping difficulties
Inform your doctor or pharmacist if any of these symptoms continue or worsen. Remember that your doctor prescribed this medicine because the benefit outweighs the risk of adverse effects. Most people using this drug have no major adverse effects.
However, in certain cases the side effects caused may be more severe. These include:
- Fast or irregular heart palpitations
- Changed in mood
- Suicidal thoughts
- Unusual weakness or tiredness
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Some people may also experience other side effects that are not listed. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any severe side effects.