What is the purpose of Modafinil

Risk of addiction in brain doping

Bethesda (USA) - Some drugs that are effective against insomnia or poor concentration also improve the brain performance of healthy people. It is unclear whether harmful side effects occur in those who use such drugs for the purpose of brain doping. Now American researchers have shown in a pilot study that the risk of addiction to Modafinil (German trade name: Vigil) has been underestimated. Similar to the addictive amphetamines, the drug increases dopamine levels in the brain.

"Our results indicate that, given the increasing use of Modafinil, greater awareness should be given of the potential misuse of this drug," write Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and her colleagues in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) ". Together with researchers from the Brookhaven National Laboratory, they investigated whether Modafinil blocks the transport of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain and thus increases its levels outside the cells. Ten healthy men between the ages of 23 and 46 took tablets with 200 or 400 milligrams of the active ingredient or a placebo. The Modafinil doses corresponded to the amounts that are administered for sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, the pathological daytime sleepiness.

Using positron emission tomography (PET), the researchers found an increase in dopamine levels, particularly in the nucleus accumbens, after taking modafinil. This brain region is of central importance for the development of addiction in drug abuse. The drug's dopamine effect could therefore lead to addiction in susceptible individuals. The results show that Modafinil cannot be safely taken to improve cognitive performance, as many previously believed. The drug requires a prescription in Germany. Ingestion is considered doping for athletes.

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source: "Effects of Modafinil on Dopamines and Dopamine Transporters in the Male Human Brain: Clinical Implications", Nora D. Volkow et al .; Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Vol. 301 (11), p. 1148