As for now, to address attention deficit disorders we use Amphetamine (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin). However, concerns about the high risk of side effects which can occur while using these substances are more and more popular and alarming. We need alternatives and Modafinil is treated as such promising alternative that can be used in the treatment of ADHD.
Modafinil used at rising concentration and attention span turned out to be very effective and in the USA it is prescribed by doctors for ADHD cases, but only off-label. The drug is also sold under the name Provigil and is used to treat fatigue caused by sleep disorders. What is the most important, Modafinil brings lower chances of side effects like addiction, withdrawal or added strain on the heart. Unfortunately, Modafinil is not officially approved for ADHD in the USA. But still, it is prescribed for conditions like ADHD in 90%.
How does Modafinil exactly work?
Generally, although lots of research has been already done to find out how it interacts with brain systems and neurotransmitters, it is not yet entirely clear.
But we know that the drug increases histamine levels which explains why it is considered “wakefulness promoting agent” instead of stimulant. Histamine is a natural hormone which in our body plays the role of a sleep/wake controller and which makes us aroused during the day. When it comes to Amphetamines, these substances lead to the increase of norepinephrine which may result in stimulant side effects.
Furthermore, unlike stimulants, Modafinil does not cause a sudden drop of Dopamine levels after the drug wears off. Dopamine in our body influences our motivation, impulse control, focus and goal-directed behaviors. According to the recent experiments, low Dopamine levels and ADHD are linked.
Patients who have been using Modafinil claim that thanks to the drug they have been experiencing higher motivation and lower mental strain while working or reading for a long time. Modafinil is also known as a booster of analytic and judgment skills, memory capacity and mental performance.
Why isn’t it approved for ADHD?
Cephalon (pharmaceutical company) has already tried to have ADHD added to the Modafinil’s list of the approved conditions to treat, but the FDA did not approve it. Why? FDA’s decision was based on a reported case of a child who suffered from Steven-Johnson syndrome while using Modafinil. Although it was not proved that the syndrome was a result of using Modafinil, FDA still did not allow to treat ADHD with this drug. It can be prescribed for ADHD only as an off-label medication. You can buy modafinil online easily.
Modafinil is not entirely safe, but still it is safer than Adderall or Ritalin. Among the milder side effects of using Modafinil we can find: drowsiness, back pain, headache, nausea, nervousness, stuffy nose, diarrhea, anxiety, dizziness, upset stomach, and sleep issues.
More serious conditions which can occur while using Modafinil are: serious rash or allergic reactions, hives, mouth sores, blistering or peeling skin, swelling of the face/eyes/lips/tongue/legs/throat, trouble swallowing or breathing, fever, and shortness of breath