Modafin or Modafinil is a psychostimulant. It was developed in the late 80s of the last century by the American drug maker Cephalon for the treatment of narcolepsy, a disease in which people suddenly fall asleep in the daytime. About 0.02–0.03% of the population suffers from narcolepsy. Modafinil is used in about 20 countries.
In Finland, modafinil is not licensed for sale, but Fimea has issued a special permit for the treatment of narcolepsy with modafinil in Finland. The standard dose of modafinil for the treatment of narcolepsy is 200 milligrams in the morning.
Modafinil is also used to treat conditions other than narcolepsy, which also cause daytime sleepiness. In addition, it is sometimes used to treat memory deficiencies and attention disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
Mechanism of action
The mechanism of action of modafinil is different from the mechanism of action of amphetamine and ephedrine or other similar psychostimulants. Modafinil also does not form in the human body from amphetamine or ephedrine derivatives. Adrafinyl, an older drug than modafinil, is a drug similar to modafinil in structure and effects.
Modafinil affects various parts of the brain. Probably the most important effect is increasing the speed of mental reactions. This effect refers to the lower portion of the diencephalon, the hypothalamus, where activation of the nerve pathways occurs, in which orexin / hypocretins act, which play an important role in regulating sleep-wakefulness as mediating substances.
In addition, it activates sympathetic alpha-1 receptors of the central nervous system, increases the activity of stimulation of glutamine and histamine transmitters, and also enhances the effects of serotonin in the cerebral cortex.
Modafinil can produce pleasure effects and addiction, but to a much lesser extent than amphetamines. It is well tolerated in therapeutic doses, but side effects may include insomnia, headaches, nervousness, agitation, aggressiveness, high blood pressure, and heart symptoms.