What is Armodafinil?
Armodafinil is a wakefulness-promoting drug used for the treatment of sleep disorders. It is used primarily in the treatment of narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder. Narcolepsy causes excessive sleepiness in the daytime. Meanwhile, shift work sleep disorder is associated with people working night shifts resulting in sleepiness during waking hours that causes trouble staying asleep in the sleeping hours.
Armodafinil is also used as a combination treatment in Sleep apnea. It is a condition in which a person’s breathing is disturbed during their sleep hours, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, and breathing obstruction during sleep, morning headache, etc.
Off label uses
Armodafinil (Waklert) has cognitive enhancement tendencies. As a result, they are also used to treat ADHD, chronic fatigue disorder, depression, and research medication to treat bipolar disorders. Off-label use is the use of a medication for purposes other than its prescribed mode. In the off-label category, prescription medications are used irrespective of the approved age group and required dose.
Off label use of Armodafinil is extended in the treatment of jet lags, for improving vigilance in air traffic controllers and even as an adjunct therapy or part of the treatment plans in treating schizophrenia.
Is Armodafinil safe in the long run?
A study of 743 subjects was conducted to test the long term tolerability of Armodafinil in patients with sleep disorders such as Narcolepsy, Sleep Apnea and Sleep-related work disorder.
Out of 743 subjects, 474 were treated for sleep disorders, 113 for sleep-work disorders, while 156 subjects were undergoing treatment for Narcolepsy.
In all three groups, Armodafinil showed satisfactory results with mild side effects. Armodafinil showed good tolerance on regular and intermittent use for up to 2 years, with blood pressure being the only problematic factor in the cases. The study results showed that Armodafinil shows promising results for long term treatment of sleep disorders with regular monitoring of blood pressure.
In another study conducted with 867 patients to find out the efficacy of the medication for bipolar depression, Armodafinil showed effective results as well. Out of the 863 patients, 95% received >= 1 dose of Modafinil, while 58% completed the 6-month study. Headache, insomnia and anxiety were the most common side effects observed.
Armodafinil was safe and well-tolerated over six months of open-label treatment at a selective dose of 150-200mg/ when combined with medications for bipolar depression. The study was conducted over six months and proved that Armodafinil augmentations in bipolar therapies had a favorable risk profile and improved depressive symptoms to a constructive extent.
Studies have even proved that Armodafinil can be used for up to 10 years in pediatric patients with Narcolepsy. The medication improved their ability to stay awake and didn’t interfere with their pre-existing psychiatric conditions. These studies have proved that Armodafinil can be used for a long term basis in both children and adults to treat sleep disorders without any severe side effects.
Armodafinil as a Nootropic
To understand Armodafinil’s role as a nootropic, it is essential to understand its relationship to Modafinil. Modafinil is one of the best-known psychostimulant medications, and a cognitive enhancer is known worldwide for its stress-relieving properties. Modafinil manufacturers developed Armodafinil for patent-related purposes, i.e. to continue the medication’s patent after the expiry of Modafinil’s patent.
Modafinil and Armodafinil are sister drugs, with the only difference between them being the number of enantiomers. While Armodafinil has one enantiomer, Modafinil has two. As a result, they share the same properties. Armodafinil, apart from its sleepiness improving properties, can improve memory, alertness and productivity. However, the side effects in Armodafinil are much less than those in Modafinil, mainly because of its reduced enantiomer effects and can be managed better than other Modafinil related complications.
Side effects of Armodafinil
Headache, nausea and insomnia are some of the primary side-effects associated with the use of Armodafinil. Headache and nausea can be effectively dealt with by drinking plenty of water and eating a full meal before consuming Armodafinil. Insomnia can be successfully dealt with by taking the medication early in the morning. You can get a full workday effect without affecting your nighttime sleep.
Dry mouth, diarrhea and a decreased appetite are the other two side-effects associated with Armodafinil usage. Researchers have found that Armodafinil achieves its sleep treatment and other cognitive enhancement properties by working on the dopamine levels of the brain cells. It is supposed that excess levels of Dopamine are related to these side effects. While these problems are still minimal, long-term side effects like possible weight loss, Stevens Johnsons Syndrome and mania with depression with that of mania and even dependence and addiction are associated with the use of Armodafinil.
How to minimize the Side Effects of Armodafinil?
Armodafinil is considered the purer form of Modafinil. Therefore, the level of side effects is also lower than Modafinil. Armodafinil has to be strictly taken as per the practitioner’s advice for sleep disorders. Suppose you are using it as s cognitive enhancer. In that case, you need to take a test batch first to ensure these medications comply with your palette and do not have any adverse reactions before regularly using it. Care also must be taken not to overuse it beyond its safety parameters to avoid risks of dependence and addiction.
Armodafinil is primarily prescribed to treat excessive or daytime sleep disorders, and for that, its long term use is absolutely safe. For cognitive enhancement, long term use of the medication can lead to several problems. As a possible remedy, the dose should be taken in moderate amounts and discontinued in a short period to ensure its safety in the long run. Government should initiate more research papers for the use of Armodafinil as a cognitive enhancer to ensure more public awareness.