The FDA has approved Modafinil to treat narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. Specifically, it is for excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is responsible for people feeling very sleepy during the day. However, other people without the condition have long recognized the drug can e used to enhance alertness, concentration, focus, and low mental energy. It makes a lot of sense. A powerful drug designed to stir people out of daytime sleepiness is probably going to have a powerful effect on people who are already awake and alert during the day.
There was a recent article in The Guardian that described the narcolepsy medication Modafinil as the “world’s first safe ‘smart drug’”. So, even though it is designed to treat narcolepsy, it can do a whole lot more. It is just not officially approved to treat much of what it is prescribed for. Researchers at Oxford and Harvard have come out to say they’ve reviewed the drug, and they’ve discovered it to be a safe smart drug. It is prescribed for narcolepsy, but it is increasingly being taken by healthy people to improve their mental performance.
The website for Provigil (Modafinil) says that it is designed to improve alertness and wakefulness in people who are excessively sleepy because of one of the following serious sleep disorders: narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, or shift work disorder. Provigil is not designed to treat the underlying causes, but it can help with the excessive daytime tiredness. It does not cure narcolepsy.
Put simply, Modafinil is a medication that promotes wakefulness. The exact way these types of drugs work in the brain is unknown, but it is believed to work by changing the natural chemical mix in the brain.
Medication can be extremely useful in treating the major symptoms of narcolepsy, such as sleepiness and cataplexy. Stimulants are commonly prescribed for narcolepsy.