Wednesday, March 18, 2009


New research shows that modafinil (aka Provigil) is not as safe as once thought at least when it comes to addiction.

That was the thinking, at least — but the thinking now turns out to be wrong, according to a new study published on March 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors say modafinil is not only the latest in a long line of chemical stimulants designed to keep users awake, alert and happy; it's also the latest to go straight to the brain's addiction centers in the process.

"This drug is not safe to use the way people are using it," says Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and co-author of the new study. "Not safe at all."

I take Provigil because one of the side-effects of my MS is fatigue whether or not I've done anything to warrant it. I've written about it before, how I usually feel sluggish and out of it by mid-afternoon if I do not take it. On the weekends, I try to not take it and nap instead. My neurologist suggested I do this in order to not build up a tolerance to the drug, but this was before this study came out so there was never a mention of addiction.

I've been taking it for two years now, but I don't feel like I have an addiction. I can quit anytime I want! More seriously, I often don't take one on the weekend, at least not both days. There are also days I forget to take my pill. I don't feel anything other than fatigue when I don't take it.

The growing number of people taking Provigil simply because they want a "pick me up" probably need to re-evaluate their decision. Of course, it's only one small part of our society's decision to take drugs anytime they have a sniffle or just want to feel good. Get high on life, man! *crickets chirp* Well, maybe not that; but when is our society going to realize that we can't avoid all things (aging, common illnesses, emotional woes) that we might like to. A life full of ups would be tedious because there would be nothing to measure the highs against. Day is beautiful because we have night. Life is meaningful because we have death. The human condition is about the awe-inspiring highs and the devastating lows. Attempting to avoid it rather than simply accepting it is a path to madness.

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