Modafinil and Narcolepsy: Stay Alert, Stay Awake, and Stay Smart

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This ultimate guide to narcolepsy and narcolepsy treatments will give you a thorough understanding of narcolepsy and how to best combat this debilitating sleep disorder. We will especially focus on Modafinil (Provigil), which has proven to be the most effective treatment for narcolepsy, by far.

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that affects around 3 million individuals in the world today. Yet, researchers believe that even this number may be an underestimate considering that many people suffer from narcolepsy and are not formally diagnosed. There are five major drug treatments approved by the FDA to treat patients with narcolepsy: Provigil (modafinil), Nuvigil (armodafinil), Xyrem (sodium oxybate), amphetamines (e.g. – adderall), and methylphenidate (e.g. – ritalin). Other prescription drugs, such as antidepressants, are also sometimes prescribed. However, as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine notes, the two prescription drugs that have proven most effective in the treatment of narcolepsy are modafinil (Provigil) for excessive, uncontrollable, daytime sleepiness, and sodium oxybate (Xyrem) for cataplexy.

It is important to seek help from medical professionals if you think you may have this disorder as new developments in narcolepsy treatments are yielding highly successful results, allowing individuals to experience a truly enhanced quality of life, better sleep, and improved performance at school and on the job. Over time, through medication and behavioral adjustments, individuals can hope to one day become completely asymptomatic.

What is Narcolepsy?


Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that affects the sleep/wake cycles in the brain. Narcolepsy is less about the length of time an individual stays asleep and more about the quality of sleep that is experienced when one is asleep. Typically an individual with narcolepsy does not stay in any one single sleep cycle phase, such as rapid eye movement (REM) or non- rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, long enough to get enough restful sleep. When they do sleep, sleep is typically fitful and full of vivid dreams. Excessive jerking or talking in the sleep, and frequent wake ups during sleep are also often experienced.

Consequently, individuals with narcolepsy typically suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, extreme tiredness and fatigue throughout the day, and can experience sudden, intermittent bouts of falling asleep uncontrollably throughout the day.

Narcolepsy can also cause a condition called “cataplexy”, which is defined as a sudden loss of muscle tone or sudden experience of muscle weakness when one is awake. For example, you may suddenly drop an object you are holding or even pass out, and these moments of cataplexy are typically triggered by and/ or frequently accompany sudden strong expressions of emotions, i. e. laughing when joyful, crying when sad, screaming when angry.

It is important to note that narcolepsy cannot be cured. It can merely be managed and treated. The reasons is that the cells that produce hypocretin die, and there is no remedy for this loss (as of yet). The symptoms can be relieved through medication and behavioral adjustments, but there is no true “cure” for narcolepsy.

A person can develop narcolepsy at any age. However, the onset of narcolepsy typically begins in between the ages of 7 and 30 years old. There is often a flurry of narcolepsy activity in the 40s as well.

In many cases, narcolepsy goes undiagnosed and untreated for years, even decades.

Classification of Narcolepsy


The American Academy of Sleep Medicine divides the diagnosis of narcolepsy into two areas of classification: Narcolepsy Type I and Narcolepsy Type II. (The International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) – Third Edition)

Individuals with type I narcolepsy suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy.
A diagnosis of type 1 narcolepsy can be confirmed with laboratory tests such as polysomnography (PSG) and a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) or a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) hypocretin-I measurement.

With this form of narcolepsy, individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness but no cataplexy is present. A diagnosis of type II narcolepsy can be confirmed by a polysomnogram (PSG) test followed by a multiple sleep latency (MLST) test.

Causes of Narcolepsy


Narcolepsy is believed to be caused by a lack of the neurotransmitter hypocretin (orexin) in the brain. This is why individuals being diagnosed for narcolepsy often undergo hypocretin testing via spinal tap.

Researchers believe narcolepsy may be caused by an autoimmune disorder, where the immune system begins mistakenly attacking parts of the brain that produce hypocretin. In Sweden in 2010, scientists discovered that the immune system begins attacking a protein called Trib 2, which is produced in the same area of the brain that controls hypocretin production. This results in a lack of hypocretin which causes the brain to become unable to regulate sleep cycles. This theory explains cases of Type I narcolepsy but not Type II narcolepsy, where loss of hypocretin is not the root cause of the narcolepsy.

Other Possible Triggers /Causes of Narcolepsy

A number of causes may work individually or together to enhance the risk of an individual being diagnosed with narcolepsy. These causes include:

Narcolepsy Causes
An infection, especially with swine flu or strep Menopause and other hormonal changes
A flu vaccine, especially Pandemrix A sudden change in sleeping patterns (switching to daytime sleeping for work, for example).
Genetic inheritance Toxins in the environment that can trigger autoimmune responses
A period of major psychological stress


Narcolepsy can also be caused by brain injury or illnesses affecting areas of the brain, especially those areas which produce hypocretin. This can be caused by brain injury, tumors of the brain, or diseases such as multiple sclerosis or encephalitis.

Diagnosis of Narcolepsy


Many individuals live most of their lives without knowing they have narcolepsy. Narcolepsy can be mild or severe, and typically mild cases are very difficult to diagnose.

It can sometimes take as long as 10 to 20 years after onset before an individual recognizes they have a sleep disorder and seek help. This is because most individuals tend to blame other factors in their lives for their exhaustion and fitful rest patterns, such as overwork, insomnia, stress, or other medical conditions such as depression.

In younger people, narcolepsy is often mistaken for laziness, learning disabilities, or a seizure disorder. Consequently, to avoid the stigma of such diagnoses (especially laziness), many young people may try to mask the very symptoms of the condition that could lead to diagnosis and treatment.

If you think you have narcolepsy, see a doctor who can diagnose your condition through questioning about your family history, a variety of tests, and a physical exam.

Symptoms of Narcolepsy


Narcolepsy presents with a variety of symptoms including

  • Suddenly and inexplicably falling asleep during the daytime
  • Vivid dreams or dream experiences, called “hypnagogic hallucinations”
    as one awakens or first falls asleep
  • Beginning to dream very quickly after one falls asleep
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Waking up very tired/exhausted
  • Cataplexy (sudden muscle weakness typically caused by strong emotions)
  • Sleep paralysis (feelings as if you cannot move when falling asleep/waking)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
  • Automatic behavior / continued actions while one is asleep (such as note taking while one is really asleep)

If you think you may have narcolepsy, one of the most effective things you can do to help your doctor quickly diagnose this disorder and begin a course of treatment is to keep a sleep/daytime sleepiness journal, charting your sleep patterns, periods of excessive fatigue and sleepiness throughout the day (and what times of the day these occur), and any instances of suddenly falling asleep throughout the day.

Types of Testing Used to Diagnose Narcolepsy


Two types of tests are used to determine if one is narcoleptic: sleep studies and hypocretin tests.

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    Sleep Studies

    Sleep studies are typically conducted at sleep centers, and your doctor should be able to direct you to a good facility. At the sleep center, they will give you two tests: a polysomnogram (PSG), followed by a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). For a polysomnogram, you typically sleep overnight at the sleep center, and your brain activity is recorded and observed as you sleep. The doctors want to record phases of sleep such as REM, note your brain activity as you sleep, chart your eye movements as you sleep, and monitor your heart rate. A polysomnogram is effective for helping doctors assess how quickly you fall asleep, when exactly you begin to move into REM sleep, and to note how often you wake up during the night. All of these factors can help them diagnose Type I or Type II narcolepsy. The PSG is followed by the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT). For this test, you are asked to take a series of 20 minute naps at 2 hour intervals throughout the day. Your brain activity is monitored to chart how quickly you fall asleep in the daytime after a full night’s sleep and if and how quickly you go into the REM phase during daytime sleeping.

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    Hypocretin Test

    For the hypocretin test, doctors take fluid from around the spine to assess levels of hypocretin in the cerebrospinal fluid (also called a spinal tap). As stated earlier, this is because most individuals with Type I narcolepsy have low levels of hypocretin, a neurotransmitter which promotes wakefulness.

Impact of Narcolepsy on Sleep


The impact narcolepsy has upon the time or length someone stays asleep is not profound. However, the quality of sleep someone with narcolepsy experiences may be highly deficient to that of a normal person. For normal sleepers, normal sleep progresses from a stage of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) to rapid eye movement (REM). During REM sleep, brain activity becomes highly increased and this is when dreaming will occur if it is going to occur. For individuals who suffer from narcolepsy, these patterns of NREM and REM are fragmented and disorganized. They tend to fall into REM sleep quite quickly and wake up several times throughout the night. This is why effects like dreaming and paralysis often occur when one is still conscious.

Treatments for Narcolepsy

In most cases of narcolepsy, the special cells in the brain that produce hypocretin (Orexin) die. Because of this, the only way to treat narcolepsy is to relieve the symptoms through medication or other treatment.

There are three approaches to the treatment of narcolepsy: medication, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies. The best treatment seems to be a blend of all of these forms of treatment.

For treatment from narcolepsy, you should be seen and treated by someone who is Certified in Sleep Medicine, experienced in treating narcolepsy (if possible), and who is certified by the Board of Neurology.

Main Medications Used to Treat Narcolepsy


There are many drugs that have been experimented with for treating narcolepsy over time, and until the creation of Modafinil, stimulants commonly prescribed for attention deficit disorder were prescribed for narcolepsy, as well as straight stimulants such as Dexedrine. Over time, Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, and anti-depressants of all kinds ranging from Effexor to Prozac have been experimented with, but none of them could completely alleviate all the symptoms of narcolepsy.

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    Modafinil and Armodafinil

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    Sodium Oxybate

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    Ritalin

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    Adderall

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    Antidepressants

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    Other Drugs

1. Modafinil (Provigil) and Armodafinil (Nuvigil)

Modafinil (Provigil) and Armodafinil (Nuvigil) are by far, the most successful medications in the treatment of narcolepsy that have been developed so far.

Modafinil (Provigil) and armodafinil (Nuvigil) are both stimulants that have yielded high success rates for patients with narcolepsy and related sleep disorders as well as for treating ADD/ADHD and other neurological disorders. Doctors typically prefer to begin with these drugs before experimenting with others because (a) they are not as addictive as other, older stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin (b) they do not produce the more negative side effects associated with these stimulants such as heart palpitations and nervousness, and (c) they do not produce the extreme highs and lows that typically accompany other stimulant-based medications. The most common side effects of Modafinil and Armodafinil are headache, dry mouth, and mild nausea.

2. Sodium Oxybate (Xyrem)

Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) is a strong hypnotic medication that has shown effectiveness in treating daytime sleepiness and cataplexy in individuals who do not respond well to other narcolepsy medications.

3. Ritalin

Ritalin is typically prescribed for children and teens with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit / hyper activity disorder (ADHD). For narcolepsy, Ritalin helps to reduce excessive daytime sleepiness and improves alertness. However, Ritalin can have many negative side effects. The most common ones include gastrointestinal problems of all sorts, headache, irritability, nervousness, heart palpitations, and insomnia. Also, there are concerns that this drug is (a) addictive and (b) easy to build up a tolerance to over the long term.

4. Adderall

Adderall is an amphetamine salt mixture that has been used to promote wakefulness in narcolepsy patients. However, because it is an amphetamine-based stimulant, Adderall often causes sleep complications for users. Also, like Ritalin, Adderall has a high potential for abuse and many side effects such as nausea, heart palpitations, insomnia, and side effects such as psychosis, mania, abnormal heart rhythm and heart attack.

5. Antidepressants

Antidepressants such as Anafranil and Tofranil, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac have been used to treat the cataplexy that often accompanies narcolepsy. Side effects of the tricyclics include fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, weight gain, loss of libido, and, in some cases, irregular heart beat (arrhythmias). Side effects of Prozac and the other SSRIs also include stomach upset and sexual dysfunction. However, side effects appear to be seen less often with Prozac and other SSRIs than with other tricyclic antidepressants.

6. Other Drugs

Prior to approval of Modafinil and Xyrem, a number of stimulants were prescribed to treat narcolepsy besides Ritalin, including Concerta (another methylphenidate), Dexedrine® (dextroamphetamine) and Desoxyn® (methamphetamine). All three of these are strong amphetamines, with Desoxyn being the strongest of the three. These medications have been shown to alleviate some of the symptoms of narcolepsy, but with many side effects, such as nervousness, heart palpitations, and a tendency to be highly addictive as well. Because of the success of safer substitutes such as Modafinil, these drugs are less prescribed today for narcolepsy.

Recommended Lifestyle Changes for Narcolepsy


Many lifestyle changes can help individuals with narcolepsy to experience less excessive daytime sleepiness and to sleep better at night as well, and a doctor will be much better able to diagnose narcolepsy if you have already tried the behaviors listed below.

  • The bed should be a place for good sleep only. When you cannot sleep, get out of bed and go do something else. The bed should be a place for positive sleep associations only. Likewise, do not go to bed until you are ready to sleep. This will decrease the chances of lying there, tossing and turning and coming to view the bed as a place of “unrest.”
  • Stay off of the computer at night. Blue light and fluorescent light can negatively impact sleep cycles. Try to stop using the computer and other digital devices, including television, an hour before you go to sleep or more.
  • Exercise: when to do it, when not. Exercise is good for helping you to sleep at night because the body will want to use sleep to repair the muscles and replenish the system. However, exercising too late at night can bump up your heart rate, making it difficult to sleep. Try to exercise before 6 p.m. or before, moving the time up by several hours if you feel too excited at night to sleep.
  • Naps. Naps can be a good idea for people with narcolepsy. In fact, people with narcolepsy should welcome any opportunity to sleep well that they can, avoiding naps right before bed, of course.
  • Nutrition and Wakefulness. For some people who indulge in a high carbohydrate and sugary diet, you can sabotage your nighttime sleeping habits through causing too many rises and falls in your blood sugar. Talk to a nutritionist about a good plan for a good diet plan if you have narcolepsy.

Alternative Therapies for Narcolepsy

Some individuals prefer alternative therapies for narcolepsy such as naturopathy, acupuncture, acupressure, or herbal treatment, and some individuals find relief from the symptoms of narcolepsy using these types of therapies. When it comes to herbal medications however, many herbs can have a wakefulness or amphetamine-like effect upon the nervous system and should not be combined either together or with other narcolepsy medications. Always ask a doctor first, as some herbs and essential oils made from them, could produce toxic results when combined.


Modafinil was approved by the FDA for treating narcolepsy in 1998, and since then, as Modafinil has been further researched and studied, it has proven effective not only as a successful drug in the treatment of narcolepsy but also in


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    FDA Approves Modafinil for Narcolepsy

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    Battleday & Brehm Study Published

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    Ongoing Research

Modafinil: The Most Successful Drug for Treating Narcolepsy

Of all of the medications used to treat narcolepsy throughout time, Modafinil and its pure isolate form, Armodafinil, have proven to be the most effective form of narcolepsy medication by far. Studies have shown that patients taking Modafinil experience as much as a 50% improvement in curbing excessive daytime sleepiness, a 25% improvement in reducing sleep-related incidences, and a great improvement in sleep quality as well.

For the sake of simplicity and to avoid repetition, the rest of this guide will focus on Modafinil, presuming that both Modafinil and Armodafinil are equally effective for narcolepsy treatment.

A Brief History of Modafinil

Modafinil was approved by the FDA for treating narcolepsy in 1998, and since then, as Modafinil has been further researched and studied, it has proven effective not only as a successful drug in the treatment of narcolepsy but also in

• Alleviating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
• Improving cognitive function in sleep deprived individuals
• Improving memory and cognitive function
• Improving higher executive thinking
• Improving decision making skills, even in sleep deprived individuals
• Treating ADD/ADHD
Improving mood and treating depression
• Improving focus and concentration (very much so)
• Promotes motivation and “vigilance” toward mental tasks

Because of its massive powers for giving its users a steely sense of mental focus, Modafinil has gained a whole new popularity as a smart drug that promotes calm and a “tunnel vision form of concentration” – a drug that can stimulate thinking without the nervousness and anxiety typically associated with amphetamine-based wakefulness promoting drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin.

A whole book could be written upon worldwide military interest in Modafinil, for helping soldiers to perform in extreme conditions when sleep is hard to come by but performance is key. This is because even in cases of great sleep deprivation, Modafinil has proven to enhance cognition and performance.

How Modafinil Works

The true way that Modafinil works to improve wakefulness (and even enhanced cognitive performance) remain a great mystery to this day, even though the drug has been around for decades. Any Google search will tell you this, because any attempts at explaining the way Modafinil works typically begin with the words, “Modafinil is thought to improve wakefulness by . . . ” or “The way Modafinil works is thought to be . . . ”In fact, a 2004 editorial titled “Modafinil: A Drug in Search of a Mechanism”, addresses this very mystery.

What we do know about how Modafinil works is this:

Modafinil works by increasing the availability of dopamine, histamine, serotonin, glutamate, and norepinephrine in the brain. This may be through the orexin system and/or by reducing dopamine transporters. It reduces GABA in the brain, a chemical that promotes sleepiness, which has a lot to do with its wakefulness and “vigilance”-promoting aspects. It also promotes the production of histamine in the brain. If you think about this, anti-histamines are known for producing a sleep-promoting effect, so it is not hard to see that a histamine promoting drug may enhance wakefulness.

Its primary actions, however, are to work on orexin and hypocretin in the brain. Neurons that respond to orexin can be found in the hypothalamus and they project beyond this area to other areas of the brain. When these neurons are activated, they increase dopamine and norepinephrine in those areas of the brain, which are believed to be the source of its cognitive enhancing and wakefulness enhancing effects.

Modafinil has been prescribed since 2004, when studies proved that Modafinil could promote wakefulness for individuals suffering from daytime sleepiness without inhibiting their ability to sleep at night, like some wakefulness promoting drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin do.

Modafinil and Dosage

Modafinil is typically prescribed in one 200 mg dose a day. Most individuals take this early in the morning, so they can sleep well at night, otherwise they might be kept up at night by the wakefulness promoting drug. If you miss a dose, doctors advise you to simply miss this one dose and resume taking it the next morning.

Some people experiment with breaking the 200 mg dose into two 100 mg. doses but most find if they do that and take the second dose too late in the day, it does interfere with sleep.

Modafinil and Tolerance Issues

Many people are concerned that narcolepsy medications such as Modafinil can be addictive or cause withdrawal symptoms when stopping their use. While individuals may be at risk of addiction and withdrawal from Modafinil, these symptoms are considerably less relative to comparable drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall.

However, users have reported that over long periods of use, Modafinil may somewhat lessen in its ability to promote wakefulness. In cases such as these, picking one day a week when you do not take Modafinil can prove highly effective in getting one’s tolerance back in check.

How is Modafinil Used Today?


Today, Modafinil is the most popularly prescribed and effective narcolepsy medication on the market. However, ever since the movies Limitless and Lucy, both of which explored the power of smart drug-like substances for helping humans become superhuman, biohackers and brainiacs alike have become more interested in smart drugs, and Modafinil is leader of the smart drug/nootropic pack. What makes it so popular as a cognitive enhancer is that it helps enhance brain function and focus without causing the jitteriness experienced with stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin.

And because of Modafinil’s wakefulness-promoting qualities, this narcolepsy drug has gained a whole new popularity with night shift workers, students, truck drivers, third shift workers, nurses, surgeons, doctors, and especially Wall Street and Silicon Valley executives, whose “money never sleeps” life philosophies allow them little time for sleep themselves.

Modafinil and Safety Issues

As of yet, doctors have not found any negative long term consequences of using Modafinil. As Barbara Sahakian, a neuropsychology professor at Cambridge University, notes “The main problem is that there are no long-term studies of safety and efficacy in healthy people. Without safety studies, we do not know that Modafinil is safe in the long-term for people to use.” Furthermore, in high doses, there could be a chance of many kinds of cardiovascular risks. So far, the most pervasive risk with Modafinil, however, comes from buying the drug from online pharmacies. As Sahakian adds, “You do not know what you are purchasing, as what you purchase could be anything.”

Modafinil: Is it Easy to Get a Prescription?

It is difficult to get a prescription for Modafinil without a justifiable medical condition that would prompt a doctor to write a prescription for it. Doctors are more likely to write a prescription for this drug if you work a second or third shift job where you have been prone to falling asleep, if you are prone to excessive daytime sleepiness which makes it difficult for you to perform routine but necessary tasks (driving, for example), or if you suffer from narcolepsy. With narcolepsy, of course, you cannot simply tell your doctor you are narcoleptic. He/she will have to determine if you are through sleep tests or hypocretin testing.

How Does Modafinil Stack Up to the Competition Cost and Benefit-wise?

Modafinil’s chief competitors are Ritalin and Adderall, both for narcolepsy or for off-label use.

Modafinil is expensive. If considering getting a prescription for this drug, it is highly important to ask one’s doctor for the generic form of Modafinil, not Provigil, because the cost is hundreds of dollars more with Provigil (depending upon which type of the drug, if any, your insurance covers). While we have researched costs for Modafinil at local US-based pharmacies, we have decided not to include the numbers here because they are dramatically different dependent on insurance, location, dosage, and brand.

In the US, many insurance companies will not cover the cost of a non-generic drug or may require a large out-of-pocket expense to the user. If you have insurance coverage, contact them directly to find out what kind of coverage you may, or may not, have for Modafinil costs.

 Adderall (amphetamine)Provigil (Modafinil)Ritalin (Methylphenidate)
MechanismCatecholamine releasing agent, weak reuptake inhibitor of dopamine (Ki = 100nM), norepinephrine (Ki = 40-50 nM), and to a lesser extent serotonin (Ki = 1.4-3.8 uM), vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitor, weak Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) inhibitorWeakly inhibits the dopamine transporter (DAT), norepinephrine transporter (NET), enhances histamine and orexin release, increases the glutamate/GABA ratio in hypothalamic regions and other brain regions.Methylphenidate's mechanism inhibits catecholamine reuptake, primarily as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. Methylphenidate blocking the dopamine transporter and norepinephrine transporter, leading to increased concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine within the synaptic cleft.
IndicationsADHD, narcolepsy, obesity, depressionExcessive daytime sleepiness caused by narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, or obstructive sleep apnea; ADHD (off-label), disorders of fatigue (e.g., fibromyalgia)
Off label nootropic
ADHD and narcolepsy. Used off label as a smart drug
Subjective EffectsEnhances arousal, motivation, goal-oriented behavior, focus, task salience, and moodPromotes wakefulness, mood elevation, arousal and concentrationImproved concentration, controls over-fidgeting, controls anxiety, enhanced self-esteem, improves focus and attention
Evidence of cognitive enhancementStudies show cognitive enhancing effects. However, Adderall has also shown to enhance cognition at the expense of creativity. Modafinil enhances vigilance, working memory, impulse control, sustained attention and other cognitive parameters in healthy controlsResearch shows that in normally prescribed doses, Ritalin can improve memory, executive function, and attention-related tasks with some risk of brain plasticity.
Safety and RisksModerate risk of dopamine-related neurotoxicityLow risk of glutamate-related neurotoxicityAs of 2016, little evidence of neurotoxicity
Risk ReductionSee this post for [more information about amphetamine harm reduction](http://www.brainprotips.com/adderall-neurotoxicity/)Magnesium and other NMDA-antagonists can mitigate neurotoxicity risksNo information on this.
Common side effectsHeadache, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, feeling restless, irritable, or agitated, insomnia, dry mouth, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, hair loss, loss of appetiteHeadache, dizziness, nervousness or agitation, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, or dry mouthNervousness, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, weight loss, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or headache may occur.
Standard dose5-20 mg100-200 mg20-30 mg. daily
Half-life10 hours15 hoursApproximately 3.5 hours

Why are the Costs for Modafinil, Provigil, and Nuvigil so High?

Modafinil is so expensive because the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture modafinil have held on tight to their patents. First by the French pharmaceutical company Lafon since the late 1990s. Lafon was then acquired by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Cephalon. Teva Pharmaceuticals has since acquired Cephalon. It is commonly believed that when their patent was scheduled to expire, Cephalon effectively used the court system to block generic production of Modafinil for an additional four years. Today, generic versions are more available, but price still remains high. It is hoped that there will soon be a cheaper alternative for this highly successful medication for narcolepsy and other neurological disorders.

Modafinil Versus Ritalin and Adderall (Cost Versus Benefits)

When it comes to treating narcolepsy, Modafinil is the clear leader among commonly prescribed narcolepsy drugs. It is more successful at relieving daytime sleepiness, promoting good sleep at night, and from relieving the other negative symptoms of narcolepsy. However, as stated above, it is far more expensive than these other drugs.

However, some individuals and doctors believe the benefits of Modafinil far outweigh the cost in terms of quality narcolepsy relief and drug safety. When you compare Adderall, Ritalin, and Modafinil, it is the latter which is the least addictive of these three stimulants, and the least likely to cause negative side effects, negative health consequences, tolerance build up, and is the least likely to cause negative interactions with other drugs.

Furthermore, Modafinil does not cause the irritability, sudden mood swings, and highs and lows typically experienced by users of Ritalin and Adderall.

However, since Ritalin and Adderall are easily available by prescription and are covered by most insurance plans, many users may never have the opportunity to try Modafinil. We are hoping this will change in the near future.

Modafinil: What Users Have to Say

“I felt way more energetic and was able to get a massive amount of focused reading done. This is rare for me. Also, my daytime sleepiness was gone. I got tons of calculus problems done, a rarity for me. I should mention, I have ADD and daytime sleepiness.”
Erowid User Experience

“Although I will not rave about it as a wonder drug, it has really helped me with a very severe period of depression that I thought would never end. Today, I feel more energetic, optimistic and youthful than I have felt in a long time.” Erowid User Experience

“This stuff works for me. It has helped me to conquer daytime fatigue and to get my work done way early.”

Erowid User Experience
“It made me a better and more productive person. I watch my diet more, I exercise, and am excelling in my academics.” Reddit Review
“I’m a doctor and both I and my friend, who’s a neurosurgeon are pretty impressed with the effects of Modafinil. He’s become a wonder at crossword puzzles and we both feel it helps us perform better at work. Currently, we are investigating the positive effect on skill and intellect of the drug for medical specialists.”

Reddit User Experience

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