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Is Modafinil Safe? What You Need to Know About This Sleep Apnea Drug

is modofinil safe

Is modafinil Safe?

What are the Modafinil effects? How does this drug work? If you have obstructive sleep apnea, here's what you need to know about Modafinil.

At least 25 million adults in the United States currently suffer from sleep apnea? Are you part of this group?

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you know how frustrating and debilitating it can be to not get a good night's sleep. Having sleep apnea can even have an impact on your life insurance premiums.

The good news is that there are a lot of remedies you can use to minimize sleep apnea symptoms. One of the most popular remedies is the prescription medication known as Modafinil.

Read on to learn more about the most well-known Modafinil effects and how it can help you if you suffer from sleep apnea.

What is Modafinil?

Modafinil is an oral prescription medication. It's sold under the brand name Provigil.

Modafinil has stimulating properties and promotes wakefulness in individuals suffering from chronic fatigue.

Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea often feel groggy and tired during the day because they're unable to get adequate amounts of sleep at night.

For these people, modafinil can increase their alertness and improve their ability to perform their job, drive a car, and carry out other tasks without fear of falling asleep or losing focus.

How Does modafinil  it Work?

Modafinil works by stimulating the brain. Its effects are similar to those of amphetamines and other stimulant drugs.

Researchers are not sure exactly how modafinil works. They suspect, though, that it increases dopamine levels in the brain by reducing dopamine reuptake. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of euphoria, increased concentration, and increased motivation.

Why Use Modafinil for Sleep Apnea?

Modafinil is not meant to act as a substitute for other sleep apnea treatments, including the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP) machine. It can help to complement these other treatments, though, and increase their effectiveness.

For patients suffering from sleep apnea, physicians often recommend modafinil over other medications for several reasons. The following are some of the greatest advantages modafinil has over other drugs:

  • It does not cause adverse CNS effects (high blood pressure, dizziness, tachycardia, etc.)
  • It does not cause insomnia
  • It does not cause rebound sleepiness
  • It is not considered to be habit-forming or trigger withdrawal symptoms when it's administered at therapeutic doses

There also are no serious known drug interactions between modafinil and other drugs. Patients do not have to make any dietary changes when they consume it, either.

Most Common Modafinil Effects

Many people are worried about what will happen when they take Modafinil for the first time.

The specific effects that occur when you take Modafinil will vary from person to person. Generally speaking, though, the following positive effects are most common:

  • Increased feelings of alertness
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved attention span and focus
  • Improved short-term memory

Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea tend to experience less daytime sleepiness when they take modafinil. The results of one study showed that their driving performance and reaction times improved, too.

How long do modafinil effects typically last?

Modafinil has a half-life of around 16 hours, so that's how long Modafinil effects typically last in the body. coincidentally this means that someone who takes a dose upon waking can then go about their day with sustained energy and focus for 16 hours; and easily go to bed as normal for the recommended 8 hours.

Modafinil Side Effects

Modafinil does come with some side effects that can be unpleasant or irritating. Some of these most common side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of agitation
  • Dry mouth
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Skin reactions

In most cases, these side effects subside soon after the patient starts to take Modafinil on a regular basis.

Modafinil Risks

Modafinil has positive benefits for a lot of people dealing with sleep apnea. There are some potential risks that come with consuming it, though, including the following:

  • Fever
  • Easier bruising and/or bleeding
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of depression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Mood swings

If you experience any of these symptoms after you start taking Modafinil, it's important to let your doctor know right away. The sooner they know, the sooner he or she can adjust your dosage or prescribe a different medication.

More Tips for Living with Sleep Apnea and modafinil

Modafinil can be a beneficial medication for people who are living with sleep apnea. It can help to offset the fatigue you feel during the day and keep you alert so you can do your job and carry out other activities of daily living with more ease.

Of course, Modafinil is not meant to treat sleep apnea alone. It's important to take other steps to manage your condition, especially if you're hoping to improve your symptoms and, in turn, lower your life insurance premiums.

The following are some additional strategies you can use to keep sleep apnea under control or even eliminate your symptoms altogether:

  • Wear your CPAP machine on a regular basis -- remember, the more you wear it, the less cumbersome it will feel
  • Wear a mouthpiece that holds your tongue in place and helps to prevent snoring
  • Try to get down to a healthy body weight if you're currently overweight
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce or eliminate your alcohol consumption, especially right before bed
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Use nasal decongestants or other allergy medications
  • Sleep on your side instead of your back

Making these lifestyle changes and using devices like CPAP machines and mouthpieces can help to make your condition much more manageable. When you do these things, you may also minimize your need for Modafinil since you'll be getting better sleep at night and will feel less tired during the day.  

Should You Start Taking Modafinil?

As you can see, there are definitely benefits that come with using Modafinil to help manage your sleep apnea.

If you understand the risks and want to experience the Modafinil effects listed above, it may be worth giving this drug a try.

Keep in mind, too, that taking steps to manage your sleep apnea -- including using medications and being compliant with your CPAP machine -- can help to decrease your insurance premiums and make coverage more affordable. This fact, alone, might be enough to get you interested in trying Modafinil.

If you want to learn more about how to save money on life insurance when you suffer from sleep apnea, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about factors that influence your insurance rates, or to get a free quote.

Chris Acker, CLU, ChFC
 

Chris is an independent life insurance broker located in Palo Alto, Ca. He started helping families and businesses build strong financial safety net in 1985. He earned a BA in history from Williams College in 1985. He Earned the CLU designation in 1989 and the ChFC designation in 1991. He is a past board member of the local chapter of the Society of Financial Services Professional. He has been a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors since 1985. Chris resides in Palo Alto with his wife, Carol and daughters Rachael and Samantha. In his spare time he is a regular platelet donor for the Stanford Blood Center and actively volunteers for various organizations and alumni groups.

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