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How Modafinil Treats Narcolepsy (Obstructive Sleep Apnea)

Modafinil comes as a tablet to take orally by mouth. It’s usually taken once a day with or without food. On one side, if you are taking it to treat Narcolepsy or OSAHS, you will probably take it in the morning. Whereby, Obstructive Sleep Apnea/Hypopnea Syndrome (OSAHS) is characterized by recurrent events of partial or complete upper airway collapse.

More so, that is highlighted by a reduction in, or complete cessation of, airflow despite documented ongoing inspiratory efforts. On the other side, if you are taking it to treat shift work sleep disorder, you should probably take it at least one hour before your shift begins. Important to realize, that it’s usually good to take Modafinil at the same time every day.

Otherwise, you should not change the time of day that you take it without talking to your doctor. Talk to your doctor if your work shift does not begin at the same time every day. Also, make sure that you follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. And then, ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any directions part you do not understand.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil, sold under the brand name Provigil among others, is a medication to treat sleepiness due to Narcolepsy or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. So, Modafinil is a form of drug used to treat excessive sleepiness due to Narcolepsy — a condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness — shift work sleep disorder — sleepiness during waking hours.

As well as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during sleeping hours schedule. It’s also used alongside other breathing devices. Particularly, to prevent excessive sleepiness caused by OSAHS. And, as aforementioned, it’s a sleep disorder in which patients briefly stop breathing, or breathes shallowly during sleep.

Therefore, this means that they don’t get enough restful sleep. Basically, Modafinil is in a class of medications called wakefulness-promoting agents. At all costs, you should take it exactly as your doctor or pharmacist directs you. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the area of the brain that controls sleep and wakefulness.

Usually, it’s very common in people who work at night or on rotating shifts. Realistically, Sleep Apnea and Hypopnea are closely related. Not to mention, the two disorders share similar symptoms, risk factors, and outcomes. The main difference is that people stop breathing entirely during an Apnea event rather than only breathing shallowly during Hypopnea.

Sleep Apnea happens when upper airway muscles relax during sleep. And, as a result, it pinches off the airway — it prevents getting enough air. To enumerate, Narcolepsy is a rare long-term brain condition that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times. Normally, the brain is unable to regulate sleeping and waking patterns.

This can result in:
  • finding it difficult to concentrate and stay awake
  • sleep attacks  that lead to falling asleep suddenly and without warning
  • excessive daytime sleepiness that results in feeling very drowsy throughout the day
  • temporary loss of muscle control resulting in weakness and possible collapse
  • a cataplexy event that is often in response to emotions such as laughter and anger
  • sleep paralysis results in a temporary inability to move or speak when waking up or falling asleep
  • excessive dreaming and waking in the night with dreams that often come as you fall asleep
  • hypnogogic hallucinations or hypnopompic hallucinations just before or during waking periods

However, Narcolepsy does not cause serious or long-term physical health problems. But, it can have a significant impact on daily life and be difficult to cope with emotionally. And, this is where Modafinil comes in. With that in mind, before we mention some causes of Narcolepsy, you can learn more about the Symptoms of Narcolepsy in detail.

Sleep Apnea Causes, Types, And Early Signs

Several studies have shown an association between sleep apnea and problems like type 2 diabetesstrokeheart attack, and even a shortened lifespan. Why this connection? For one thing, obesity is common in Sleep Apnea patients. And, it greatly increases the risks of diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. In most cases, obesity is the main culprit in both.

Still, it’s important to note that not everyone with sleep apnea is obese. Furthermore, evidence suggests an independent link between sleep apnea and diabetes. Some lab studies and others have shown that Sleep Apnea is associated with higher risks of diabetes. Whilst, independent of obesity and that Sleep Apnea can increase blood sugar levels.

Women, in particular, should be careful as they age. While premenopausal women tend to put on weight in the hips and in the lower body instead of the belly, this shifts with time. Weight begins to accumulate in traditionally “male” areas like the tummy, and this leads to a greater chance of sleep apnea. After menopause, there is some hormones change.

And, as a result, women tend to start looking like men in terms of where the weight gets put on. It’s a time to be paying attention to the risks because women begin to catch up to men in the rates of Sleep Apnea after menopause.  In particular, undiagnosed Sleep Apnea is directly tied to an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic health.

The scariest part, right? You might not even know you have this very common problem. But, there are other various things in the suggestions list that have been known as possible triggers of Narcolepsy.

The most possible triggers include:
  • major psychological stress
  • hormonal changes, which can occur during puberty or the menopause
  • an infection, such as swine flu, or the medicine used to vaccinate against it (Pandemrix)

That said, you can find out more about the Causes of Narcolepsy in detail before we learn about Sleep Apnea signs.

There are two kinds of Sleep Apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea happens when air can’t flow into or out of the nose or mouth, although you’re trying to breathe. Central Sleep Apnea happens when the brain fails to send the right signals to your muscles to make you start breathing. (This type is less common.)

Sleep Apnea may be noticed more by the bed partner than by the sleeper. Your bed partner might notice that your breathing pauses, or they may complain about your loud snoring. That said, snoring itself — though annoying — isn’t the same as Sleep Apnea. Snoring is just the vibration sound created by airway resistance.

Diagnosing Narcolepsy And Treating Sleep Apnea 

Ultimately, you can snore loudly and not have Sleep Apnea — you may even have sleep apnea without much snoring. It’s important to treat Sleep Apnea because it can have long-term consequences for your health. Narcolepsy is often caused by a lack of the brain chemical hypocretin (also known as orexin), which regulates wakefulness.

The lack of hypocretin is thought to be a result of the immune system. Whereby, it mistakenly attacks the cells that produce it or the receptors that allow it to work. However, this does not explain all cases of Narcolepsy. Thus, the exact cause of the problem is often unclear. For people who are overweight or obese, weight loss is key for Sleep Apnea control.

People who accumulate fat in the neck, tongue, and upper belly are so vulnerable to Sleep Apnea. This weight reduces the diameter of the throat and pushes against the lungs, contributing to airway collapse during sleep.

There have been some high-profile deaths linked to Sleep Apnea — like Judge Antonin Scalia — over time damage is the true risk. Obstructive Sleep Apnea can range from mild to severe, based on a measurement system called the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). The AHI measures the number of breathing pauses that you experience per hour that you sleep.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Severity Classification:
  • Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea means that your AHI is greater than 30 (more than 30 episodes per hour)
  • Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea means that your AHI is between 15 and 30
  • Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea means that your AHI is between 5 and 15

Whether you’ll need treatment for Sleep Apnea or not depends on its severity. Either you have symptoms such as sleepiness and other health conditions or not. For example, for high-risk factors of heart disease, a doctor might opt to treat you even for Mild Sleep Apnea. On the other hand, for a severe Sleep Apnea case, they might insist on treatment even if you’re not sleepy. To prevent cataplexy attacks, and improve your sleep at night.

The main choice of therapy is a breathing device called a CPAP, or a continuous positive airway pressure machine. A CPAP machine pipe humidified air through the nose, which creates air pressure to keep your throat open while asleep. This prevents pauses in breathing. CPAP is the first line of treatment, and it’s very effective.

A recent Johns Hopkins study looked at what happens to metabolism at night when sleep apnea patients don’t wear their CPAP. The study found that the resulting apnea caused a spike in blood sugar, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones — a response similar to what might happen if you were asked to get up in front of a crowd to speak.

It’s very similar to that type of stress response. I would liken Sleep Apnea to something like that happening on a nightly basis. Not very relaxing, right? Luckily, it’s treatable. Find out more about Diagnosing Narcolepsy in detail. If you’re diagnosed with narcolepsy, it may affect your ability to drive. Learn more about Narcolepsy and Driving in detail also.

Guideline: Find Out More About Treating And Managing Narcolepsy

Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for Narcolepsy. But, making changes to improve your sleeping habits and taking medicine can help minimize the impact the condition has on your daily life. Taking frequent, brief naps evenly spaced throughout the day is one of the best ways to manage excessive daytime drowsiness.

This may be difficult when you’re at work or school, but a GP or specialist may be able to devise a sleep schedule that will help you get into a routine of taking naps. Keeping to a strict bedtime routine can also help, so you should go to bed at the same time each night whenever possible. See a GP if you think you may have narcolepsy.

They may ask about your sleeping habits and any other symptoms you have. In addition, they may also carry out tests to help rule out other conditions that could be causing your excessive daytime sleepiness, such as sleep apnoearestless legs in bed and kicking during sleep, or an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

If necessary, you’ll be referred to a specialist in sleep disorders, who’ll analyze your sleep patterns. This will usually involve staying overnight in a specialist sleep center so various aspects of your sleep can be monitored. If your symptoms are particularly troublesome, you may be prescribed medicine that can help reduce daytime sleepiness such as Modafinil.

Modafinil Dosage Forms & Strengths For Better Health

Sleep Apnea occurs in about 3 percent of normal-weight individuals but affects over 20 percent of obese people. In general, it affects men more than women. However, Sleep Apnea rates increase sharply in women after menopause. It’s often linked to heart disease and metabolic issues like diabetes.

The symptoms of narcolepsy often begin during adolescence, although it’s usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. People with Sleep Apnea might also suffer from unexplained fatigue and mood swings. Obviously, because of the fact that their breathing interruptions continually wake them and prevent them from settling into a deep, nourishing sleep.

Overall, the consequences can be quite significant. We’re talking about car accidents in the daytime, lost productivity at work, mood swings, waking up feeling groggy, and falling asleep in class. Other sufferers might wake up with a dry mouth, since sleep apnea tends to make you breathe with an open mouth, drying out your saliva.

Some awaken with a headache, which may be caused by low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels during sleep. These medicines are usually taken as daily tablets, capsules, or drinkable solutions. Having said that, in general, the main Modafinil Tablet intake is between 100mg and 200mg. Below are other Modafinil dosage forms and strengths:

(a). Narcolepsy

Indicated to improve wakefulness in adults with excessive sleepiness associated with Narcolepsy

200 mg PO QAM

Modafinil doses up to 400 mg/day, given as a single dose, have been well-tolerated.

But, there is no consistent evidence that this dose confers additional benefits beyond that of the 200 mg/day dose.

(b). Narcolepsy (Orphan)

Orphan designation is a fixed-dose combination of Modafinil and Flecainide for Narcolepsy

(c). Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Indicated to improve wakefulness in adults with excessive sleepiness associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

200 mg PO QAM

Modafinil doses up to 400 mg/day, given as a single dose, have been well-tolerated.

However, there is no consistent evidence that it confers additional benefits beyond that of the 200 mg/day dose.

(d). Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Indicated to improve wakefulness in adults with excessive sleepiness associated with shift work disorder (SWD)

200 mg PO as a single dose

Mostly, one hour prior to the patient’s work shift.

Modafinil Dosage Modifications for hepatic impairment (severe case) is 100 mg PO QAM.

But, is weight control linked to Sleep Apnea? Well, weight control is very important. There are many studies showing that losing weight can either completely cure you of sleep apnea or at least make it less severe. Navigating the home can be a struggle for those with chronic illness or mobility concerns, but it doesn’t have to be.

All you’ll need is to Get the Medical Equipment You Need at Home, to begin with. If you need assistance at home, talk to your care provider to determine if home medical equipment can help. After your referral, you can let the experts like those at the Johns Hopkins Home Care Group deliver, set up, and teach you how to use your new home medical equipment.

Per studies, regular CPAP use reduces blood pressure and improves wakefulness during the day. People with Sleep Apnea on CPAP also report improved quality of life. In some observational studies that compare people with apnea who use CPAP versus those who don’t, the CPAP users have a lower risk of stroke, heart attack, and lower blood glucose.

How Modafinil Medicine Should Be Used?

Modafinil comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. If you are taking Modafinil to treat Narcolepsy or OSAHS, you’ll probably take it in the morning. If you are taking modafinil to treat shift work sleep disorder, you will probably take it 1 hour before the beginning of your work shift. Take it at the same time daily.

Do not change the time of day that you take modafinil without talking to your doctor. Talk to your doctor if your work shift does not begin at the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take modafinil exactly as directed.

Modafinil may be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor. It may decrease your sleepiness, but it will not cure your sleep disorder. Continue to take modafinil even if you feel well-rested. Do not stop taking modafinil without talking to your doctor.

Modafinil should not be used in place of getting enough sleep. Follow your doctor’s advice about good sleep habits. Continue to use any breathing devices or other treatments that your doctor has prescribed to treat your condition, especially if you have OSAHS. For other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information (learn more).

Summary Thoughts:

You’ve probably heard that regular exercise and a heart-healthy diet are the most important things you can do for your cardiovascular health. As it turns out, though, the quality of sleep you receive is also critical to your heart’s wellbeing. Narcolepsy is a fairly rare condition that in most cases doctors use Modafinil to manage or treat its notable symptoms.

It’s difficult to know exactly how many people have Narcolepsy because many cases are thought to go unreported. But, it’s estimated to affect about 30K people in the UK alone. Men and women are thought to be affected equally by Narcolepsy. Although some studies have suggested the condition may be more common in men.

If you or your partner has noticed signs of sleep apnea, visit your doctor. Whereby, a sleep specialist can order a Sleep Apnea Test for you — it uses equipment to monitor your breathing and oxygen levels while you sleep. Often, you’ll visit a laboratory to spend the night monitoring. Other times, it’s possible to use a portable, take-home kit.

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  4. Chronic Stress | Signs, Symptoms, Risks & Management Tips
  5. Late-Night Workout | 6 Benefits To Body Health Wellness
  6. Ketogenic Diet | Its Health Benefits You Should Consider

That’s it! A review guide on how Modafinil helps treat Narcolepsy, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, when to see a doctor, and a few tips to stay safe. So, what’s your take on this? Do you think there’s something more we can add? Well, you can share your thoughts, opinions, suggestions, or even questions (for FAQ Answers) in our comments section.

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