Modafinil: How it helps with sleep apnea

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Modafinil is a stimulant used for treating excessive sleepiness caused by conditions such as Narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea. It improves the subject’s wakefulness, and that’s why it is also common in people experiencing shift work disorder.

The drug is also known by the name Provigil. It’s an oral drug commonly found in tablet form.

You should know that Modafinil does not cure the underlying cause of your excessive sleepiness. It merely helps you stay awake when you need to. This means that the underlying condition will remain unresolved, so you are bound to continue experiencing excessive sleepiness.

How Does Modafinil Work?

This drug’s working mechanism is not fully understood, but scientists believe that it works like armodafinil and amphetamines to stimulate the brain. It’s also possible that the drug increases dopamine levels.

Dosage

The Food and Drug Administration approved Modafinil in 1998. This makes it easier to acquire the drug in drug stores. Getting dosage information and guideline is also much easier.

The ideal Modafinil dosage and administration guideline usually depends on the underlying condition affecting your sleeping. The recommended dosage for people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and Narcolepsy is 200mg per day taken in the morning. Some people take as much as 400mg per day, but there is no evidence suggesting that higher doses produce better benefits. If anything, they increase the risk of adverse reactions. It’s wiser to stick to 200mg per day unless directed otherwise by a licensed medical practitioner. The drug should be used only once a day, in the morning. You can take it with or without food, either way is fine. Modafinil is usually sold in 100mg tablets, so it’s easy to get accurate dosages.

Modafinil can be used alongside other medications for obstructive sleep apnea. You can continue using a mouth device and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines while taking Modafinil unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

The recommended Modafinil dosage for people with shift work disorder (SWD) is 200mg per day taken 1 hour before starting your shift. This is the major distinction between using Modafinil for OSA and Narcolepsy and using it for SWD. So, do not take Modafinil in the morning if your work shift starts at 8 PM. It won’t produce the desired effects. Take it 1 hour before you clock in for your shift.

Modafinil dosages for geriatric and severe hepatic impairment patients are usually much lower.

The dosages can be altered over time, depending on your condition and response to the treatment. Taking the drug regularly improves the results, but you have to be very careful not to take it for a long time because it can also cause addiction and other side effects. Using Modafinil for so long can also reduce its effectiveness.

Modafinil Side Effects

Modafinil side effects are usually mild. You may experience dizziness, nervousness, nausea, headaches, and skin rashes. You should stop taking the drug and seek medical help if these reactions persist.

It can also cause some serious side effects like skin rash, depression, anxiety, shortness of breath, fever, mouth sores, jaundice, uneven heartbeats, and swelling in the lips, tongue, throat, eyes, and face.

Taking Modafinil for too long or in high doses can result in dependence. If you try to suddenly stop taking it, you will experience some severe withdrawal symptoms like shaking, confusion, nausea, chills, sweating, aggression, confusion, and depression. It may also cause some suicidal thoughts. The risk of Modafinil addiction is higher in individuals who already have substance use disorder.

Consult a physician right away if you notice any withdrawal symptoms. They will help you get off the drug more comfortably through dosage tapering and other strategies.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using Modafinil.

Drug Interactions

Modafinil interacts with drugs like MDMA, armodafinil, and methamphetamine. It can also reduce the effectiveness of other drugs like hormonal birth control, ritonavir, axitinib, bosutinib, ombitasvir, asunaprevir, theophylline, and cyclosporine.

Anyone using hormonal contraceptives should consult a doctor to get alternatives before they start taking Modafinil. You’ll also need to continue using the alternative contraceptives for around a month after you stop taking Modafinil.

Modafinil can increase the effects or toxicity of drugs like diazepam, imipramine or Tofranil, Propranolol, and desipramine.

Consult a physician and let them know of any drugs you are using before taking Modafinil.

Final Thoughts

Modafinil is a prescription drug used to boost wakefulness in patients suffering from Narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work disorder. The drug can cause several side effects like addiction when used in excess or for long periods, so you must use it carefully. We encourage you to consult a physician and share your medical history before using this drug.

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