Do you feel excessively sleepy even after a long nap or going to bed early? If you notice this or are diagnosed with a chronic sleep disorder, do not worry because we now have many medications to help you get through it!
This article will talk about narcolepsy, the condition, and modafinil as its possible treatment option. If you want to know more about modafinil’s use for treating narcolepsy, then keep on reading.
Narcolepsy: Facts and Treatment Options
To understand treatment options for a condition, you must first understand the disorder itself. Let us talk about narcolepsy.
Individuals diagnosed with this chronic sleep disorder are very drowsy throughout the day and may even suddenly fall asleep anytime. Moreover, they find it hard to stay awake for very long.
Narcolepsy can be classified into two types.
Type 1 narcolepsy is a condition that is accompanied by a loss of muscle tone. In contrast, type 2 narcolepsy does not have such.
This condition is very debilitating! Your daily productivity will be badly messed up if you cannot maintain wakefulness. Hence, it isn’t easy to give your best academic or work performance.
For now, there is no absolute cure for narcolepsy. What we can do is manage the symptoms. Your doctor can help you change your lifestyle or take medications to alleviate the extreme daytime sleepiness.
Can Modafinil Treat Narcolepsy?
If you opt to have medications for narcolepsy, your doctor might prescribe modafinil. Experts proved this medicine’s effectiveness in managing excessive daytime sleepiness of narcolepsy patients with lots of previous studies!
In a study, 66% of narcolepsy patients who took modafinil to alleviate their symptoms were proven successful.
Modafinil is classified as a stimulant drug. Hence, it can reduce the symptoms of extreme sleepiness by keeping you awake. However, modafinil cannot cure your narcolepsy nor substitute for getting adequate sleep. It can only help you remain alert and awake when your narcolepsy symptoms kick in.
Mechanism of Action of Modafinil
As we mentioned earlier, modafinil’s effectiveness on narcolepsy patients is backed up by previous studies. But how does modafinil work to help narcolepsy patients stay awake?
Modafinil is a “non-amphetamine stimulant“. Scientists are not yet wholly claiming a fully understood mechanism of action of this drug. However, we do have some theories on how it works. Basically, modafinil affects your brain’s release of chemicals. It is possible to control the brain’s sleep-wake cycle to favor a more alert and less sleepy state by altering these chemicals.
In addition, modafinil affects the sleep-wake cycle without interfering with the brain’s portion that maintains bodily functions. In other words, intake of modafinil does not produce pronounced side effects like heart disease or addiction.
How to Take Modafinil
The best way to know the safe and correct modafinil dose for you is to consult with a physician. But here are some general guidelines on safely taking modafinil to treat your narcolepsy.
Modafinil is sold as tablets that are to be taken orally with a glass of water. It is not necessary to eat food before taking modafinil. However, the medicine does often make you lose your appetite. So it may be a good idea to eat something before taking the pill. The medicine is usually taken every day, once a day, preferably in the morning.
In pharmacies, it is available in 100mg or 200mg tablets. However, the commonly prescribed dose starts from a small one, like 50mg or 100mg. It will gradually increase to 200mg if deemed necessary.
But what should you do if you forget or skip a dose? This is not a problem! Just continue taking your next dose as normal.
Possible Side Effects of Modafinil Intake
Some possible side effects that you might have with this drug are anxiety, headaches, diarrhea, or dry mouth. You can reduce the chances of these side effects if you take the correct dose. Completely stopping the medicine intake will also reverse any side effects.
Modafinil for treating narcolepsy is definitely something to consider! If you are looking for a narcolepsy treatment, the best way is to have your doctor help you. The advantages and minimal adverse effects of modafinil certainly make it a beneficial drug fit for narcolepsy patients.
- Mayo Clinic – Narcolepsy
- NCBI – Experience with the use of modafinil in the treatment of narcolepsy in an outpatient facility specialized in diurnal excessive sleepiness in São Paulo
- Guy’s and St Thomas – Modafinil for the treatment of narcolepsy
- WebMD – Modafinil
- PubMed – Modafinil for narcolepsy: systematic review and meta-analysis