Modafinil is a prescriptive drug used to prevent sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder, it has also become popular as an off-label cognitive enhancing smart drug.
What is Modafinil?
Modafinil (or brand name Provigil) is a wakefulness and alertness promoting agent. It was approved by the FDA in 1998 (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as a prescription medication for adults to treat excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy and other sleeping disorders. It has also gained enormous popularity as an off-label cognitive enhancer or “smart drug”.
Physicians prescribe Modafinil for it’s approved purposes including obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS), narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) but it may also be prescribed off-label by a physician for many other conditions.
In some cases, Modafinil will be prescribed to address issues related to depression, memory, lack of attention span, mood disorders and neurological fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis.
In addition, many healthcare practitioners view Modafinil as a promising alternative to amphetamines and other stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin for adults suffering from ADHD.
Modafinil is believed to be a powerful focus enhancer with proven benefits for enhancing intellectual capabilities and mental drive and as such, it has also seen widespread demand for off-label use as a mental performance enhancer by healthy people who work or study for long hours and don’t get enough sleep.
For this reason and despite the fact that it requires a prescription, the demand for this smart drug online remains enormous, which is also due to the hype surrounding its effectiveness by the media and movies like Limitless, where it is thought to be the fictional NZT-48 pill.
Modafinil Effects For Wakefulness and Productivity
Modafinil is classified as a eugeroic drug, meaning “good arousal” or those that promote wakefulness and alertness. Clinically, it is prescribed for sleep-related disorders but it has also become a highly popular Nootropic drug used off-label for its ability to increase daytime wakefulness and promote enhanced focus, reaction time, mood and motivation with its most common use as a productivity booster, especially in people suffering from sleep deprivation or otherwise.
The foundation of eugeroics is to stimulate when stimulation is required leading to produced states of mental arousal. While the effects seem similar to amphetamines like Adderall, Ritalin or Vyvanse, the actions of Modafinil are uniquely different to stimulants.
Eugeroics, (which also include Armodafinil and Adrafinil) like Modafinil, target certain neurotransmitters and their receptors to increase alertness while stimulants act to target the entire nervous system and temporarily boost overall psychomotor activity. This mechanism of action is thought to mitigate the highs and lows associated with amphetamines and promote a smoother energy effect.
Many physicians view Modafinil as a safer alternative to standard stimulants, due to the observation that it lowers the risk for unfavorable side effects and potential addiction that is commonly associated with CNS stimulants (central nervous system).
Additionally, research suggests this drug has benefits related to many other conditions, varying from improving symptoms of ADHD in adults (which it is sometimes currently prescribed for) to effectively helping related memory issues and fatigue in people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Modafinil is also being tested for its potential positive effects on many other conditions such as depression, nicotine addiction and schizophrenia and has shown to be effective at taming impulses related to addictions including alcoholism and gambling.
Although it is not approved as a treatment for any of these conditions in the USA, it is thought to have the potential to reach far beyond its original intended purpose.
In terms of the benefits on mental functions associated with Modafinil, it may be one of the most famous Nootropic compounds, largely driven by media hype and is extremely sought out among business people, healthy individuals who need to stay alert and awake for long periods of time and students who refer to it as a “study drug” that allows them to maintain focus without having the need to sleep.
How Does it Work?
While the systems that are modulated in the brain are known, the exact mechanism of actions of Modafinil on receptor sites has not been indicated but there are several theories on the mechanism of action of this drug.
A considered action involves the stimulation of neurons that secrete neuropeptides called hypocretins or orexin found in the hypothalamus or deep area of the brain which are known to regulate wakefulness, arousal, sleep and appetite.
Hypocretins play a valuable modulatory role in plasticity related to addictive and reward-seeking behavior. Additionally, the lack of hypocretin-producing neurons is thought to be the most common cause of human narcolepsy.
When these neurons are stimulated, it is suggested that it results in elevated levels of histamine in the central nervous system. Histamine is a natural hormone that plays a vital role in sleep/wake cycles and the ability to maintain alertness and reaction time. Some research suggests that histamine availability may also positively affect learning and memory.
In addition, hypocretin neurons are thought to stimulate increased available levels of key neurotransmitters involved in sustaining alertness and wakefulness including Norepinephrine. Low levels of this neurotransmitter have been indicated to cause a lack of attention which can lead to an inability to focus and concentrate.
The location in the brain where this occurs, indicates interaction with the neurotransmitter Dopamine, acting to block its transport out of synapses. This may lead to an increase in synaptic concentrations of Dopamine which is directly associated with motivation, drive and enhanced focus.
Buying Modafinil Online
Since 2006 many other generic, less expensive brands of Modafinil (Provigil) became available and sold online due to demand for this drug by offshore pharmacies. It is also sold under names including Alertec, Modalert, Modopro, Modiodal, Modvigil and others.
This “surge” was largely due to claims of its effectiveness by the media and reports that Modafinil (Provigil) is being used by wall street bankers to Silicon Valley millionaires to enhance cognitive abilities and promote wakefulness, allowing them to work for longer periods of time. The curiosity for off-label use of this “smart drug” began to explode.
In the United States, Modafinil is a schedule IV controlled substance. It is an approved drug by the FDA to treat narcolepsy and other sleeping disorders and requires a prescription from a doctor to buy it legally. Importation is prohibited, even with a prescription. In most other countries, it also requires a prescription to purchase legally and in Russia, Modafinil is banned for medical uses and is not legal to buy or to import.
In regards to importing Modafinil when you do have a prescription, if you live in Canada, the UK or Australia, you may be able to legally import it in quantities that are considered for personal use (3 months supply or less). However, it is a good idea to check the current laws in your country as they are subject to change.
Although this drug requires a prescription, you can still find Modafinil for sale through online pharmacies from countries such as Mexico and India who do not comply with U.S. laws and where it is legal to buy without a prescription.
However, this does not mean you can import it to your country for personal use or in unlimited amounts. Although many people online have reported ordering and receiving Modafinil without a prescription, this is not recommended.
When you are purchasing Modafinil derivatives online, there are risks you may want to be aware of. The quality of the product may be in question since it is not fully clear as to what the contents are or even if they are in fact the same compound. This raises the risk that they may be potentially toxic.
In addition, authorities in customs are aware of these online pharmacies and will seize packages coming into countries where it is prohibited to import Modafinil (with or without a prescription). In this case, the receiver’s address is reported, the packages are held and there is a possibility of prosecution.
Due to this, supplements and Nootropics that may be effective and safe alternatives to Modafinil, for those that are seeking the effects of this “smart drug”, have gained a tremendous amount of interest.
Alternatives to Modafinil
If you are looking to potentiate very similar enhancing effects to Modafinil or Provigil, there are numerous powerful compounds to consider as alternatives that do not require a prescription. If you live in the USA, Modafinil is a schedule IV controlled substance that requires a prescription to buy and to use and this also applies to most countries.
1. Adrafinil is a prodrug to Modafinil, meaning when metabolized by the body, it turns into Modafinil. With nearly identical effects and significantly cheaper, it makes the most sense as the direct alternative and does not require a prescription to buy.
Originally branded as Olmifon, Adrafinil, another eugeroic substance, was developed before Modafinil (it’s chief metabolite) was isolated, which is known today as Provigil and other Modafinil derivatives.
It is a less potent precursor since not all Adrafinil consumed turns into Modafinil but instead converts into inactive Modafinilic acid. It takes approximately an hour longer than Modafinil to become active and requires a greater dose.
2. Phenylpiracetam belongs to the Racetam family of Nootropics, which are the original class of Nootropics (Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Pramiracetam and Phenylpiracetam and others).
These compounds are believed to primarily work on the cholinergic system and affect the levels of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter thought to be directly linked to learning, memory and attention.
An extensively studied Nootropic compound, Phenylpiracetam, modulates Acetylcholine like all Racetams but is believed to have a mild stimulating effect and mechanisms of action that results in more energy and enhanced focus. This may help to reduce the symptoms that accompany a lack of sleep.
It is also observed to increase the activity of several other neurotransmitters such as Dopamine, which is known to play a major role in the ability to focus, regulate mood and enhance motivation.
Racetams are legal to buy and use but laws governing the sales, distribution and labeling of these compounds are limited in the USA by the FDA, so most people import them from international vendors.
3. Sulbutiamine is a synthetic derivative of thiamine or Vitamin B1 that is able to pass the blood-brain barrier more readily. It is critical for energy metabolism in the brain and is a favored option to reproduce the effects of Modafinil, especially if you are interested in the mood enhancing effects.
It is important to always research Nootropics before taking them and to consult with a medical professional first to ensure they are right for you.
How to Use Modafinil and Potential Side Effects
There are no recommended dosages for off-label uses of Modafinil since a medical doctor will prescribe it to adults only, for narcolepsy, shift work disorder and other sleeping disorders with dosage directions. However, it is often taken at 200 mg per day, once in the morning or before shift work for these conditions.
Based on user reviews from people who take Modafinil for other purposes, it is mentioned that a lower dosage of 100 mg is taken in the morning, mostly on an occasional basis when needed. Specifically, when a long, busy day is ahead of them or a long period of studying.
The most common reported side effects of Modafinil are headaches, lack of appetite, anxiousness and nausea. In rare cases, more serious side effects have been reported including muscle weakness, tingling, vomiting, numbness and severe skin reactions. If you experience any of these side effects, see your doctor right away.
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