Modafinil and Alcohol – A Savior or Deadly Combination?

We have all been at a time in life where we have needed some extra push to get ourselves going and bring ourselves on track and in this moment, we have often wished for a magical pill to maybe appear and take all our lethargy away and bring about focus in our lives. Well, Modafinil is that life-saving, wakefulness-promoting drug.

Modafinil

What is Modafinil? It is a drug indicated to treat excessive sleepiness in patients associated with narcolepsy (a condition that causes increased daytime sleepiness), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or sleep work disorder (sleeping between unscheduled sleeping hours or working hours and lack of sleep in scheduled sleeping hours). Its primary mechanism of action is releasing substances in areas of the brain dealing with sleep and wake cycles. However, the use in people without these diseases is increasing because it works to enhance alertness and to negate lethargy. Modafinil is prescription only drug in most of the countries therefore people can buy modafinil without any prescription.

Modafinil is used to have less severe adverse effects as compared to other psychoactive drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine, etc., hence the increased use in individuals. In conclusion to a recent study, Modafinil can be used anyone to enhance their activity, increases their awake span and brighten their mood. It is also of high interest to the military to increase alertness and decreasing battle fatigue. Doses up to 400 mg have been tolerated in individuals. If increased than this dose, Modafinil can show adverse effects like a headache, rhinitis, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, arrhythmias, hypertension, etc.

Alcohol

One of the other psychoactive stimulants the world is trapped under is – Alcohol. The main stimulating ingredient of alcohol is ethanol. Produced by adding yeasts to certain carb-rich foods like grapes, grains, etc. alcohol is one of the most psycho-stimulating substance in the world that can affect the mental state and mood of a person. It allows people to act without hesitation by reducing their shyness and lack of confidence. It can brighten up their mood on a depressing day. It impairs judgment and clouds over cognitive behavior of an individual causing them to act in a way they might end up regretting later.

Because of the calming effect, there remains a thin line between some usual drinks and an overdose, that can cause detrimental effects on one’s life. An overdose can ultimately lead to various diseases like blurry vision, short term memory loss, liver cirrhosis, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, infertility, cardiovascular diseases, physical dependence on the drug, withdrawal symptoms, etc.

Using Modafinil and Alcohol Together

Where Modafinil is being consumed by both adults and students alike to delay their fatigue and enhance their concentration and alertness and alcohol had an adverse effect on mental state and cognitive behavior alike- Using them together can be an unlikely combination.

There can be times when mixing the two drugs can prove to beneficial. At times when you have had a tiring day, and instead of hitting the bed, you need to attend an important event, its times like this when Modafinil and Alcohol can come in handy and give you a boost in energy. Modafinil and Alcohol combination is also used to stay up all night if one has to make a very important presentation, study for your exams or stay up to attend a party. This is likely to cause a reaction of Modafinil with other illicit substances too. While Modafinil releases neurotransmitters that make us more alert, Alcohol releases neurotransmitters that relax us; hence they both lie on the opposite sides of the spectrum.

Adverse Effects of Taking Modafinil and Alcohol as a Combination

When the Modafinil and Alcohol lie on the opposite sides and have the exact opposite function, they are bound to have some seriously damaging effects as well.

Using the Modafinil and Alcohol at the same time can increase water loss from the body. The body requires more water to metabolize these toxic compounds, and the kidneys produce more urine to get rid of their toxic wastes. Therefore, using the two drugs simultaneously can result in water loss and cause dehydration.

The liver in our body is the organ that deals with converting active substances into inactive metabolic substances and preparing them for excretion. The liver has to spend extra energy to metabolize toxic substances like Modafinil and Alcohol. It requires a special set of enzymes, CYP450 isoenzymes, to metabolize these compounds. When Modafinil and Alcohol are metabolizing, there is a heavy burden on the liver to break them down. It is a slow procedure, and other issues may arise like inflammation, tissue injury, hormonal imbalance, and poor digestion.

Minimizing the Side-effects of Modafinil and Alcohol

At times when you need to administer Modafinil and Alcohol together, there are a few things you can do to simmer down the adverse reactions.

When taking Modafinil and Alcohol, minimize the dose as much as possible. The lowered dose can result in lesser complications. It can help the liver perform its functions properly, and there are reduced chances of dehydration.

Many of the cases of side-effects of Modafinil and Alcohol are because the drugs are taken on an empty stomach. Administering the drugs with food increases their absorption time and provides proper nutrient as required by the liver and the brain.

Drinking plenty of water and keeping yourself hydrated is one of the key points in keeping the side effects at bay.

In conclusion, mixing Modafinil and Alcohol is not recommended. However, when required, the two drugs can be taken with careful administration and dosage and understanding of how the drugs work and effects the body.