Modafinil is a wakefulness agent used for the treatment of sleeping disorders. Recently it has been credited as the best workplace drug. In a much recent report, it is believed to be the secret behind success of the great business minds who are supposed to work day and night. Students are another larger user groups of this extraordinary drug, which has been regarded as “SAFE” by the researchers at Harvard and Oxford, with the good effects such as improving decision making, and creative thinking. Structurally modafinil is an aromatic compounds with an amide group.

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Brands

Modafinil is sold under the brand names Alertec, Modavigil, Modiodal, Modalert and Provigil.

In bound and Out of bound

Modafinil has been used in several military expeditions where the soldiers suffer from sleeplessness. It keeps them alert and focused on their mission. But the drug is also on the prohibited list of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which means that is out of bound for players and athletes. Some positive cases have been reported for cyclists, sprinters, baseball, and basketball players. It is believed to increase the fatigue threshold during exercise and training.

Mechanism of Action

The mode of action of this remarkable drug is not completely known, but it is assumed to increase blood flow to the brain. Some research data on the drug has concluded that, modafinil activates the brain by modification of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Its mode of action is different from conventional neuro-stimulants. The drug activates the noradrenergic alpha1 receptors. Its wake promoting effects have reportedly been blocked by alpha1-antagoist. It has also shown to increase the phosphorylation of nitrogen-activated protein kinase. Modafinil also increases GABA release, while the other stimulant amphetamine does not have this effect. Almost 90% of modafinil is metabolized in the liver and the rest excreted out of the body. It induces the CYP450 enzyme systems, CYP1A2, CYP2B6 and CYP3A4/5 while suppresses the CYP2C19 and also binds to the dopamine uptake carrier site in brain.

Side effects

The drug is also associated with certain minor side effects such as headache, nausea, chest pain, dizziness, nervousness, anxiety etc.

Licensed in 2002, just a decade ago, this wonder drug has already hit the news with its phenomenal efficacy and modest side effects.

image credit: nootriment.com