Anti Narcoleptic F.A.Q.
1. What are anti narcoleptic medications?
Anti narcoleptic medications are those drugs whose primary effect
is to promote wakefulness. It is important to point out that this
class of drugs does not include some of the older drugs that have
been used for this purpose, such as amphetamines or certain stimulants.
Anti narcoleptic drugs are those that have been developed with only
this in mind and that are relatively much younger than stimulants
and such. One important thing to know about these drugs is that
they do not cure narcolepsy or other conditions that cause untimely
sleepiness. They only do away with the sleepiness so that the patient's
quality of life is not that negatively affected. Most popular and
most effective anti narcoleptic drugs are Modapro, Nuvigil, Modavigil,
Provigil, Modalert and Modafinil.
2. How do anti narcoleptic drugs work?
The exact mechanism of work of anti narcoleptic drugs has not yet
been fully established and described. The scientists and the pharmacologists
have proposed a number of theories, some of which have been proven
to an extent while others still need more studies to be either confirmed
or disputed. What is important to remember is that anti narcoleptic
drugs like for instance Modafinil and Nuvigil work in a way that
is entirely different from earlier wakefulness promoting agents
such as stimulants or amphetamines. It is because of this difference
in the mechanism of action that they are both more effective at
keeping the patient awake and also much safer than those older classes
of drugs. It has been found that they increase the levels of certain
neurotransmitters in the central nervous system which definitely
works to promote wakefulness, but they also have certain effects
on some other chemicals in the CNS, as well as processes that occur
there, which also helps anti narcoleptics promote wakefulness.
3. Which conditions can be treated with anti
There are a number of conditions which can be treated with anti
narcoleptic drugs and the symptom that connects all of these conditions
is excessive sleepiness during hours which should be free from this
feeling, mostly nights. One of these conditions is narcolepsy which
is how this class of drugs got its name and for which most of them
have been developed for. Narcolepsy is the most common neurological
disorder which causes various disturbances to the healthy sleeping
patterns, thus causing, among other symptoms, excessive daytime
sleepiness. Obstructive sleep apnea is another condition which can
be mitigated by using anti narcoleptic drugs. Once again, this is
due to the fact that excessive daytime sleepiness is one of the
symptoms of sleep apnea, due to the fact that the person does not
get enough sleep and enough oxygen during sleep thanks to the obstruction
to the air pathways. Shift work sleep disorder is yet another conditions
treatable with anti narcoleptic drugs. This time, the sleepiness
which is unwelcome can occur at any time during the day, depending
on the shift that the person is working when they need to be awake
and they are not due to the fact that their healthy sleeping patterns
4. Can anti narcoleptic drugs be prescribed for
other purposes other than sleeping disorders?
Yes they can. For instance, there are certain doctors who will
prescribe anti narcoleptic medications in treatment of attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as some mood disorders.
For instance, certain people suffering from major depression, bipolar
depression as well as seasonal affective disorder are prescribed
with one of the anti narcoleptic drugs such as Modafinil or Modavigil
as these drugs can help them fend off the fatigue brought on by
these conditions in some cases and also because these drugs have
been found to somewhat improve the mood. Depersonalization disorder
is another condition that is often treated with anti narcoleptic
drugs, usually in combination with selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors as it has been said that this combination can do wonders
for this condition. Anti narcoleptic drugs are also used to help
patients who are suffering from fatigue caused by various conditions
such as myotonic dystrophy, fibromyalgia, depression, spastic cerebral
palsy, Parkinson's disease and so on. There have also been some
reports that anti narcoleptic drugs such as Nuvigil and Modalert
can be used in coping with cocaine addiction as several studies
have shown that anti narcoleptics can reduce the cravings for this
drug. Finally, there have been many reports that have shown that
anti narcoleptic drugs hold certain potential for being used as
weight loss drugs, due to the fact that they have helped a number
of people during studies lose weight. It is important, however,
to point out that all of these uses are still considered off-label
and that only medical professionals can even start thinking about
prescribing anti narcoleptic for these uses.
5. Is it true there are military uses for anti
Yes it is, but it needs to be said that these drugs are used in
such cases also as wakefulness promoting agents. For instance, there
have been reports that the French Foreign Legion has employed Modafinil
in certain covert operations when their operatives needed to stay
awake for prolonged periods of time without any rest. Also, the
Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom has asked for a study
to be done in using Modafinil to keep their personnel awake during
lengthy missions. The same is true for Indian Armed Forces. In the
U.S. military, Air Force has approved Modafinil for use on certain
missions as the studies have shown that pilots and other personnel
can use this anti narcoleptic to stay awake during long missions
when they cannot get sleep. Finally, there has also been a report
in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that states that Modafinil
has been used by astronauts aboard International Space Station in
order to fend off fatigue and to help with disrupted circadian rhythms
that many astronauts experience.
6. Can anti narcoleptic drugs be used by anyone?
Generally, anti narcoleptics such as Modalert, Modapro and Nuvigil
are considered safe for anyone over the age of 17, although there
are certain cases in which the use of these medications is not recommended
or in which the regimen needs to be monitored or especially designed
so as not to harm the patient. For one, people who are allergic
to either Modafinil or armodafinil (Nuvigil) should not be using
these medications for any purposes. This is also true for women
who are carrying a child or who are breastfeeding. In such cases,
the anti narcoleptic can be passed into the milk or via the placenta,
which is why they should avoid taking these drugs altogether.
There are, however, many more cases in which the doctor will have
to be especially careful about prescribing the treatment. For instance,
if the patient is suffering from a certain heart valve of muscle
disorder, if the patient has liver or kidney issues, if they are
suffering from angina, if they are taking blood pressure drugs,
if they have suffered a recent heart attack or if they have a history
of drug addiction.
7. Can anti narcoleptic drugs cause side effects?
Yes they can. However, it is important to remember that the side
effects are quite rare with anti narcoleptic drugs and that those
which are more serious are very, very rare. Among the most common
adverse effects that may be caused by anti narcoleptic drugs are
headaches, nervousness, diarrhea, nausea, insomnia, dizziness and
dry mouth. One side effect that simply has to be mention is a rash.
If a patient should notice any kind of a rash developing, they need
to report this straight away. There have been a few reports of extremely
serious skin rashes that warranted hospitalization and that is why
everyone should be aware that every little rash needs to be reported.
8. Do anti narcoleptic drugs interact with other
There are certain drugs that are going to interact with anti narcoleptics
and it is best never to combine them with any other medications
unless this is first discussed with a doctor. Some common drugs
that might interact with anti narcoleptics include: anticonvulsants
like phenytoin, carbamazepine and Phenobarbital, certain antidepressants
like doxepin, amitriptyline and imipramine, MAO inhibitors like
rasagiline, tranylcypromine, selegiline and isocarboxazid, antifungal
medications like itraconazole and ketoconazole, sedatives like midazolam
and diazepam as well as rifampin, cyclosporine and Propranolol.
Alcohol should also be avoided when taking anti narcoleptic drugs.
9. Are anti narcoleptic drugs like Modafinil
or Nuvigil safer than other stimulant drugs?
Yes they are. The main reason for this is that most other stimulants
such as amphetamines for example are very likely to cause dependency
after prolonged use, which is something anti narcoleptic like Modafinil
and Nuvigil are not. They hold no potential for causing dependency
which means that it is almost impossible to get addicted to these
drugs, which is very, very important. Furthermore, side effects
are much rarer and they are far more likely to cause severe adverse
effects, interactions or overdoses.
10. What is Modafinil?
Modafinil is the first of the modern anti narcoleptic drugs and
it was developed in France. It was approved for use in the US in
1990s and this marked the birth of a new class of wakefulness promoting
drugs. What is interesting is that most other medications that you
will find from this class, such as Modapro, Modavigil, Provigil
and Modalert are all Modafinil, basically. Namely, Modafinil is
the generic name of the drug and all of the rest are just brand
names under which various pharmaceutical companies all over the
world manufacture Modafinil. In short, with either of these, you
are getting basically the same drug which has been found to be extremely
effective in promoting wakefulness.
11. What is Nuvigil?
Nuvigil is the brand name for armodafinil, a drug that has been
developed by the same company that had developed Modafinil. It is
a newer drug that has been developed during the 2000s and which
is pretty similar to Modafinil and the rest of the drugs you can
find such as Modapro, Modalert and so on. Its effects are virtually
the same, although there are some slight differences which may be
of interest to the doctors prescribing these medications and the
patients using them.
12. Are Modapro, Modavigil and Modalert as effective
Yes they are. These are virtually the same drug, generically known
as Modafinil, only they are manufactured by different companies
that have taken advantage of the fact that the patent on Modafinil
has expired in their countries. In essence, you are getting the
same drug, only from a different manufactured. You do not have to
worry about these drugs being any less effective or less pure. They
are the same drug and you should have no problems in treating your
excessive sleepiness with these medications.
13. Can I order anti narcoleptic drugs without
You can. Online, this is a possibility and there are people who
take advantage of this and order anti narcoleptic drugs when they
are not prescribed. This is something that is not recommended as
one needs to be perfectly safe when using any of these drugs and
this can only be achieved if it is a doctor that has prescribed
the drug and if there is a doctor involved in the regimen.
14. How should anti narcoleptic drugs be taken?
Anti narcoleptic drugs are rather potent medications and it is
absolutely essential that the patient who is taking them is doing
this in accordance with their prescribed regimen. One should never
take more of the anti narcoleptic drug that they have been prescribed
with as this will not enhance the effects and can only harm the
health of the patient. For instance, when one exceeds their dosage,
they are far more likely to experience side effects, or to even
overdose, which can be extremely serious. It is also important to
only take an anti narcoleptic tablet when there is sufficient time
to set aside for sleep. Namely, if one should take one of these
tablets too late in the day, they would probably have problems staying
awake. Furthermore, one should make sure they clear up anything
that they have questions about before they start using their anti
narcoleptic drug, for instance Modapro or Modalert and they need
to make sure that they know everything about the interactions, possible
side effects and so on.
15. Do anti narcoleptic drugs cure narcolepsy?
Unfortunately, no. There is no such medication that will cure narcolepsy.
All medications that are prescribed in cases of narcolepsy are only
used to control the condition and to make the symptoms as little
pronounced as possible and this is where anti narcoleptic drugs
like Nuvigil or Modalert do wonders. They promote wakefulness like
no other class of drugs and they can truly make the condition much
more manageable than it would be otherwise.