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ADHD and Narcoleptic drugs

Written by Molly Hartle, green crane.

Narcoleptic drugs are those specifically designed for the treatment of narcolepsy, a syndrome by which individuals involuntarily fall asleep. Modafinil—sold under the brand name Provigil for adults and Sparlon for chidren—is the narcoleptic drug most commonly used in the treatment of ADHD.

Effect of Narcoleptic drugs on ADHD

A prohistamine, modafinil promotes wakefulness by stimulating the histamine in the brain. Specifically, modafinil helps to promote frontal-lobe functions such as decision-making, organization, time management and prioritizing.1 Individuals taking modafinil for ADHD have reported feeling calmer and less impulsive.2 Unlike stimulants, modafinil has the effect of making a person alert without feeling driven. Modafinil has also been used in conjunction with other stimulants and atomoxetine to smooth out their effects.3

Read more details about Narcoleptic drugs.

Research Evidence on Narcoleptic drugs

The efficacy of modafinil remains unclear. Whereas some studies showed it to be effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD in adults, other larger studies on adults found it to be no more effective than a placebo.4 And despite evidence pointing to the drug’s positive effect with younger people, the Federal Drug and Administration would not approve of its use for children with ADHD. The organization objected to its side effects particularly in light of the fact that is lacked significant advantages over other medications.5

How to Use Narcoleptic drugs

Modafinil comes in the form of a tablet and is generally taken once daily in the morning. The standard dose is 200 mg.

Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment

Medical practitioners and psychiatrists

Side effects include difficulty headaches, nervousness, nausea, nose irritation, diarrhea, back pain, insomnia, dizziness, anxiety and heartburn.6

References

  1. Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D. Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. (New York: Ballantine Books, 2005), 257.
  2. Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D. Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. (New York: Ballantine Books, 2005), 255.
  3. Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D. Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. (New York: Ballantine Books, 2005), 256.
  4. Carol Watkins, M.D. “Non-Stimulant Medications for Children, Adolescents and Adults with ADHD,” Northern County Psychiatric Associates, October 13, 2007, http://www.ncpamd.com/
  5. Carol Watkins, M.D. “Non-Stimulant Medications for Children, Adolescents and Adults with ADHD,” Northern County Psychiatric Associates, October 13, 2007, http://www.ncpamd.com/
  6. “Provigil,” RxList, September 11, 2007, http://www.rxlist.com/provigil-drug.htm

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