14 Mar

Modafinil as a Cure for Addiction

When you think of modafinil you probably think about how it makes you focused or the energy it gives you, but what you probably don’t know is that modafinil can be used as a cure for addiction. Not what you’d expect, especially when that addiction is to stimulants like cocaine, but extensive research has shown this to be true.

Dr. Charles Dackis and some of his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania Treatment Research Center reported having a second successful study. The study conducted included 62 individuals (44 men, 18 women) that had ingested $200 worth of cocaine, if not more, within the past 30 days. Dr. Dackis had his patients come to the clinic twice a week for individual cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions (CBT) and provide urine samples three times a week during the 8 week study. Each week the patients were given a week’s supply of modafinil and told to take four 100mg doses a day, while the other half of the group received similar looking placebo pills and told to do the same. It was found that 33% of the patients were able to abstain from cocaine use for three weeks or more. There have also been other studies conducted separately showing that this can work for addiction to other stimulants like methamphetamine.

Modafinil was not the only factor in helping those patients to overcome their addiction, but it did play a large role. Dr. Dackis claimed that modafinil’s modulation of glutamate, an abundant excitatory neurotransmitter, may account for the striking effect. He goes on to explain that some of the patients that used again claimed that the effects of modafinil seemed to have removed the typical urge to redose that they had always felt before. Others told him that they had simply flushed the cocaine down the toilet, something Dr. Dackis says he has never heard a patient say in his 25 years of treating addiction. Modafinil reverses the cocaine-induced neurochemical disruptions of glutamate and of dopamine-containing neurons in the brain’s reward centers. Those two neurotransmitters are responsible in part for the good feeling that you get from drugs. Clinically, modafinil’s effects are in many ways the opposite of the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, which usually include oversleeping, depression, poor concentration, and craving. Modafinil is also not addictive, making it a good neutral tool for this study.

The same team went on to do another study including 210 patients this time with the plan to test the efficacy of two different doses. They divided the groups up with the same exact structure as the previous study having patients visit twice a week for cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions and providing three urine samples a week, however this time Dr. Dackis and his team would be using doses of 200mg, 400mg, and a placebo for some that would be taken daily. They did not find a notable difference between the different doses, though when they looked at the results by gender it was found that there was a slight improvement with 400mg among men.

It is amazing to think that modafinil can not only provide the average person with great focus, wakefulness, and overall improvement on cognitive function, but that it can also help someone suffering from addiction that needs that extra push to get clean. You shouldn’t try to recreate that study on yourself since it was not just modafinil that helped, but also the CBT sessions that were conducted by professionals. If you feel that is something that would benefit you then please do it under the supervision and guidance of your doctor.