Modafinil in Australia

This’ll keep you up at night

Smart drugs give you greater control over your sleep cycle but is there a downside?

Time is always the most valuable commodity, one that’s in short supply for most people as they try to balance work and play. Let’s take the example of the man we’ll call Yves, a coder in his early thirties who lives in Seattle. Yves simply doesn’t have the luxury of a full eight hours of sleep. Instead, he takes a pill which allows him to get by on much less. Yves reports that he takes a pill just before bedtime and this allows him to wake up fully-refreshed after five hours of sleep, or less. When that alarm rings, he’s up and moving.


The pill Yves recommends is called Modafinil, which is branded as Modavigil inside Australia or Modvigil , equivalent from India. Modafinil is growing popularity among students in the biggest Australia cities such as: Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne, Victoria, Brisbane, Queensland, Perth, Western Australia, Adelaide South Australia,
Gold Coast and Canberra.
Wollongong New South WalesLogan City Queensland This alertness-booster has been available for over fifteen years and has garnered plenty of recognition for its efficacy in that time. It restores focus and wakefulness without the nervous or hyper side-effects and abrupt crash of other stimulants, such as amphetamines or coffee. Yves has been using Modafinil in Australia sporadically for a few years and recommends it as “extremely helpful.” He says it boosts his job performance by making him more driven and efficient. It allows him to lead his preferred, active lifestyle, meaning he can party until early Saturday morning and then still hit the ski slopes in the afternoon.


Smart drugs are a new pharmaceutical category which holds the potential to free our lifestyles from our underlying human biology, much like contraceptives did for sexual activity. People have historically built their lifestyles around the basic need for sleep but perhaps in future, we’ll be able to structure sleep to fit into our lifestyles instead.

Circadian biologist, Prof. Russel Foster of Imperial College London, believes that a greater understanding of the bio-rhythms which drive the human body will allow us greater control over sleep. He goes on to say that in one or two short decades, we’ll be able to fully regulate sleep through pharmacology. We can already induce or delay sleep, the key will be mimicking its restorative effects via medicine. Depending on such a medicine’s effectiveness, he envisages a world in which humans need only a couple hours of downtime during every 24 hour period.

Some people find such a prospect to be a nightmare. Doctor Neil Stanley, legal leader of the sleep research program at Human Psychopharmacology Research Unit at Surrey University in England, is among them. He considers such a social outcome to be terrible.

Yet the consensus view among those who study sleep is that such a future is inexorable.

A world of two hour sleep may seem unlikely until you consider the advances already made in this direction. Modafinil can allow for two full days of alert awareness with barely any adverse effects. Novel sleeping tablets are being developed which may enhance sleep quality dramatically, such that an hour of chemically-improved sleep is worth several hours of regular sleep. Also at the R&D stage are stimulants which might keep people functional without sleep for many consecutive days. Not all such interventions take a pharmacological form as wearable devices which can promote wakefulness via electrical stimulation of the brain are also being researched.

Regulating sleep is nothing new, at a basic level. It’s common for people to skip sleep during the work week and catch up on weekends, for example. Several widely-available stimulants, such as nicotine and caffeine, allow us to forego regular sleep. Controlled or prohibited substances like amphetamines and cocaine are also sometimes used for this purpose, but it is strongly forbidden for import through customs. Sleep-promoting drugs are also in great demand. It has been estimated that three in four adults experience one or more symptoms of sleep disruption three nights out of every seven. A research team from the Detroit, Michigan-based Henry Ford Health Sciences Research Institute published their findings in 1998, to the effect that thirteen percent of mature Americans resorted to alcohol to promote sleep over the year of 1997. They further reported that eighteen percent resorted to sleeping tablets over the same period.

Although we collectively spend a fortune on ergonomically-designed bedframes, mattresses and pillows, sleep-related pharmaceuticals are fairly unsophisticated by comparison. Most sleeping tablets, or “hypnotics” as they’re known medically, have a rather crude action of shunting one into unconsciousness but don’t provide the associated benefits of true sleep. Doctor Stanley maintains that sleep induced by hypnotics is preferable to sleep deprivation yet inferior to regular, unforced sleep. Stimulants such as amphetamines and caffeine are also problematic due to their propensity to be habit-forming. Reliance upon such these substances to get to sleep and then to wake up is what Prof. Foster describes as a sedative-stimulant cycle.

Modafinil is a breakthrough in sleep management. Modafinil is technically a eugeroic, a term of Greek origin translating as “positive arousal.” It is so-called as it produces a state of mind which feels much like natural wakefulness and refreshment, rather than the “high” associated with many other stimulants. Yves claims that there are no unpleasant associated effects as one would expect from amphetamines and, in his case at least, it’s quite possible to fall asleep soon after having taken Modafinil.

Many users report feeling no obvious effects upon taking Modafinil, as its actions are both smooth and subtle. It’s common for people to experience no noticeable boost to alertness or lessening of fatigue; instead they claim to simply not notice any feelings of tiredness. Yves echoed such accounts, remarking that he feels extremely focused when performing a task but, if relaxing during some free time, he feels no different for having taken Modafinil.

Those who buy Modafinil in Australia to treat health problems, such as narcolepsy, will generally take a light dosage in the morning to ensure no unwanted lapse into dormancy over the course of the day. However, the drug’s use by the military suggests that it may be potent enough to keep a healthy person awake for at least two days straight. Jeffrey Vaught, president of R&D at Modafinil’s Pennsylvania-sited manufacturer, Cephalon, explains: “the army has trialed consecutive dosages of Modafinil. It allows two solid days of wakefulness, however sleep remains necessary thereafter.”

A particularly interesting property of Modafinil is that, as shown by the military tests and other users, there is no negative balance incurred if one overdraws from the sleep bank. If deprived of sleep for an extended period like two days, generally one would be forced to sleep about half a day in order to feel normal again. Through some as-yet-mysterious action, this is not the case when using Modafinil, in which case the standard eight hours would suffice. Before Cephalon acquired the drug, its original French manufactures discovered this intriguing property in the early nineties when conducting animal trials involving cats. Happily it works for people as well.

This raises the awkward point that, as Mr. Vaught frankly admits, nobody outside of Cephalon fully understands how Modafinil works. Indeed, Cephalon is keeping its cards close to its chest and has not released the details. However, what is apparent is that Modafinil blocks neurons from re-absorbing released dopamine, a neurotransmitter with a stimulatory effect on the brain. This is similar to the function of many stimulatory drugs, legal or otherwise, but in contrast Modafinil achieves this effect without triggering any euphoric highs and the craving for same. As it wears off, Modafinil is also unique in that users experience no lows or crash. Certain studies hint that Modafinil’s smooth and non-addictive effects may be due to its interference with the re-absorption of noradrenalin, another important neurotransmitter.

Modafinil’s precise mechanism may be unknown but its profits are well-established. After coming to market in ’98, it has enjoyed ever-increasing sales. It achieved US$25M in sales from its debut until ’99 and as of ’05 its sales figures had risen to $575M. A lot of this growth comes from people taking the drug to improve their work or study performance, although Cephalon are adamant that the drug is only intended for its approved purpose of treating sleep disorders.

Nevertheless, it’s obvious that Modafinil is regarded as a smart drug or lifestyle-enhancer by a subset of users, like Yves who uses it as an alertness booster. Yves said he first acquired Modafinil through a contact but then received an online diagnosis of narcolepsy in order to get it via prescription.

Thus far no credible evidence has surfaced to suggest Modafinil is anything but safe. Like any drug, it has side effects but these are relatively minor: headaches mostly. Mr. Vaught states that no major adverse reactions have been observed and it’s rare to find users who report negatively on Modafinil. However, none of this disproves the possibility of complications in future over a longer timeframe of more widespread usage. Prof. Foster weighs in on this issue as follows, “I believe it implausible that such a strong alertness drug will have no measurable impact.” One such consequence may be that regular users of Modafinil develop tolerance and so up their dosage to a level where problems are experienced. Neil Stanley echoes such cautions, raising the possibility that Modafinil may eventually become a street drug with abuse potential.

Cephalon are unconcerned and have already developed an heir to Modafinil’s crown, known as Armodafinil. Other such eugorics are in their R&D pipeline, such as a drug currently identified only as CEP-16795, which turns off the receptor for H3 histamine which is known to play a role in regulating the sleep/wake function of the brain. Mr. Vaught says that Modafinil will be hard to surpass, given its strong record for safety and efficacy.

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