The pharmaceutical world is constantly changing. Companies and researchers discover new things about old drugs while constantly searching for the next big hit. Modafinil is no exception to this. It was not the original –afinil, but it has been one of the longest lasting and is becoming the most widely used. So what is next for modfinil and who will take its place?
Not digital, Analog
As you probably know modafinil is one of the most common and widely used drugs for focus and wakefulness because of its safety. However, there are already substances out on the market and in development that are analogs of modafinil and could end up replacing it. Analogs are similar drugs that produce nearly identical effects. Many labs create these analogs for drugs to get better or longer lasting effects, or to reduce harmful side effects. Armodafinil is one of the only similar drugs on the market that is known to produce similar effects and that has had research done. This can be found under the brand name Nuvigil. Since the two are so similar with very little differences you might not notice if someone switched your pill. Armodafinil is meant to provide you with the focus and wakefulness that you get with modafinil and to keep that safety, which studies have shown so far to be true.
Future Hits, or Future Failures?
There are other analogs, but it is uncertain whether they will produce the same effects, what their side effects are, or how safe they are for regular use. These are usually referred to as research chemicals because as the name implies they’re still in the R&D phase, although sometimes there is little to no research being done if pharmaceutical companies have little interest. Another term that is used that may be more common to some is ‘designer drug’. Two such substances in the –afinil family are bisfluoromodafinil and fluorafinil, though when searching for them you may only see them as CRL-40,940 and CRL-40,941. Since they aren’t being sold by any major company, they still carry scary laboratory names.
Very little is known about both bisluoromodafinil and fluorafinil at this time and the majority of information that is out there is just based on personal experiences that people have had with them. Often these research chemicals are produced in small, unregulated laboratories in China. Buying these designer drugs when they’re in their infancy is dangerous. Without proper studies, no one knows precisely how much to take, so they make an educated guess based off of their experiences with similar products. This is extremely risky: While two products may produce similar effects, their toxicity can be wildly different! For instance, both aspirin and acetaminophen reduce pain in similar ways. A person suffering from arthritis could take 3 grams of aspirin in a single day. If you took three grams of acetaminophen, you could die.
Making matters worse, you have no clue about any possible long term side effects. It could be many months or even years until there is reliable information about these two chemicals since modafinil is so effective at what it does there is really no incentive for labs to find a successor. Stick to what works, don’t take unnecessary risks when a perfectly proven product exists, and is readily affordable.
What’s next for Modafinil?
So then what is next for modafinil? Well, you can be certain that modafinil will be around for a long time, unless a pharmaceutical company invents a better version of it and can obtain a new patent, guaranteeing more profits. Even so, most analogs do not completely replace the previous drug. Modafinil has been very effective at not just the intended uses of things like focus, wakefulness, being alert, and helping out with problems like narcolepsy, but also has been shown to benefit stimulant addicts along with therapy. With no real risk of abuse or addiction it is one of the safest drugs of this kind on the market, especially when compared to commonly used things like Adderall or Ritalin with have been known to be abused and can be very addictive if used improperly. Modafinil is great at what it does and going to be around a long time doing it.