Is Modafinil Effective in Treating Stimulant Addiction?

Modafinil has been suggested as potentially being an effective treatment for crack cocaine and methamphetamine addiction.

Modafinil (Provigil) is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is often used to treat narcolepsy in individuals. This medication is a eugeroic medication and is also considered a psychostimulant. Modafinil promotes wakefulness so it is sometimes prescribed for shift work sleep disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea, to combat fatigue, increase concentration, and treat ADHD. The exact mechanism of action of this drug is not known, but researchers believe that modafinil works by stimulating certain neurotransmitters in the brain like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

Is Modafinil Effective in Treating Stimulant Addiction

Is Modafinil an Addictive Medication?

Modafinil is considered a Schedule IV controlled substance by the DEA. Schedule IV drugs are considered to be a low potential for abuse and a low risk of dependence. Although it is not as powerful as amphetamine, it does produce similar effects as a stimulant at a less intense level of CNS arousal.

Even though Modafinil has a low risk for dependence compared to other substances, it can certainly be addictive. The chemical mechanisms of the drug are just like other more addictive stimulants. Studies have found that at low to moderate doses it does not produce addictive behaviors, but at high doses, one can develop an addiction. Those with a history of drug abuse are cautioned against using this medication.

Modafinil for Treating Crack Cocaine or Methamphetamine Abuse

 Due to research indicating the drug’s low potential for addiction, it has been suggested as potentially being an effective treatment for cocaine or methamphetamine addiction. A recent study found no overall effects of treatment with Modafinil compared to a placebo for cocaine addiction. However, it did show significant differences in the reduction of self-reported cocaine cravings and a higher number of consecutive days clean from cocaine use versus the placebo.

The National Institute of Health Drug and alcohol dependence “Modafinil for the Treatment of Methamphetamine Dependence” states:

There are several rationales for using modafinil to treat methamphetamine dependence. For example, modafinil has stimulant properties, which could be therapeutic for alleviating some stimulant withdrawal symptoms (McGregor et al., 2008). In animal testing, it has been found to attenuate the reinstatement of meth self-administration (Reichel and See, 2010). Also, modafinil appears to have lower abuse potential than methylphenidate or amphetamine (Myrick et al., 2004). Modafinil improves cognition and mood (Turner et al., 2004; Taneja et al., 2007), and has shown efficacy in the treatment of child and adult ADHD (Lindsay et al., 2006). Modafinil has been used in several trials of treatment for cocaine dependence, with mixed results (Dackis et al., 2005; Anderson et al., 2009). Finally, modafinil was safe and well-tolerated in a Phase I interaction study with intravenous methamphetamine (unpublished report, Jones, 2007). (NIH)

Another study showed no significant effect versus the placebo for treating methamphetamine addiction, but further research needed to be completed as suggested by the researchers. This study had some weaknesses including small sample sizes, limited doses used, and limited study duration. The study also is also probably inconclusive due to the inadequate compliance with taking the medication.

How Does Modafinil Work?

Modafinil does improve mood by stimulating the production of a class of neurotransmitters called monoamines. These neurotransmitters include dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. This alone could potentially be helpful when treating meth and cocaine addiction. Those that seek out these illicit substances are usually looking for the rush of dopamine that they produce, so taking a medication that stimulates the production of dopamine, along with psychotherapy, of course, may be effective for some individuals. No two treatment plans for any are going to be the same, so what works for one person may not be effective for another and vice versa.

Treatment for Stimulant Addiction

Evoke Wellness MA offers evidence-based addiction treatment to cater to the individual needs of each patient. Our solution-focused treatment provides men, women, and families integrated and comprehensive care that is geared towards leading you on a road to long-lasting recovery. At Evoke Wellness MA, our primary goal is to make your treatment experience as comfortable as possible.

If you are having issues with any substances let us help you. Our specialists and professionals are highly qualified and supportive and will help you start your recovery journey today. Recovery today for a better tomorrow.