A new study from South Korea opens up the possibility that modafinil could be used to reduce high blood pressure. At the moment the study has only been performed on rats, but this would be an incredible find if it proceeded to human trials. Most stimulants increase blood pressure which makes them unsuitable for people with high blood pressure.
The dangers of hypertension are well known and documented, you can suffer heart attacks or aneurysms as well as long term organ damage. For someone with chronic hypertension, as opposed to a temporary spike in blood pressure like the kind you get when you’re angry in traffic, it’s important to keep a strict diet and be careful with strenuous activity. Caffeine is often ruled out as well.
Imagine not being able to do the same amount of work as you would like simply because it might make your heart explode. And furthermore, you need to avoid all the common things everybody else takes to stay awake. What if modafinil could be the solution for those people?
What about humans?
An older study from 1999 looked at the blood pressure in humans who were already taking modafinil. They found that their regular resting pressure didn’t decrease considerably. However, when they were under strain, such as jogging or lifting objects, their blood pressure didn’t increase as much as it normally did. This could prove to be essential to preventing sudden rises in pressure that are responsible for many of the fatal outcomes.
Did you know that mental stress can cause your blood pressure to rise? Think back to the days where you had to take a particularly painful exam, how you wracked your brain looking for the right answer. You could feel your head pounding. That’s a perfect example of how this works. The same 1999 study tested patients with mental exercises, like the types of questions commonly found on IQ tests. The results were positive: Modafinil limited the rise in blood pressure in those individuals.
At this point in time it’s unclear if modafinil will actually lower your blood pressure, but it may be able to prevent it from rising uncontrollably. That also means it’s safer for people who have high blood pressure. Regardless, if you have hypertension and are considering taking modafinil you should consult your physician prior to doing so, especially if you are already taking other medications to treat that condition.
It’s exciting to see the new developments in the modafinil arena, what new treatments will they find next?