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Modafinil and weight loss
Modafinil, a drug against narcolepsy, has shown effectiveness in the treatment of obesity, which is a consequence of food dependencies. The results of the study are published in the publication Personality and Individual Differences.
Professor Ivo Vlaev of the University of Warwick and his colleagues found that the use of modafinil reduces the intensity of impulsive behavior that plays a key role in the development of food dependencies.
Although the mechanism of action of modafinil has not yet been fully studied, it is believed that it alters the concentration of neurotransmitters associated with falling asleep and awakening (eg, serotonin) and encourages a feeling of vivacity.
In addition, in some studies, it was stated that the use of modafinil helps to increase the level of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, related both to the sense of reward and the development of addictions. In other studies, it was noted that people with food dependencies often have a deficiency in certain forms of dopamine. And, since the food can provoke a release of dopamine, the researchers suggested that uncontrolled absorption of food can be an attempt to fill this deficit.
Modafinil is prescribed to combat increased drowsiness resulting from narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and sleep disturbances due to shift work. We have already written about the ability of modafinil to increase cognitive function and reduce the need for sleep.
Professor Vlaev and his colleagues noted that modafinil reduces the severity of impulsive behavior in patients with schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and alcohol dependence. Since impulsive behavior is considered the primary mechanism for the development of food dependencies, scientists have suggested that the drug can help people who, due to eating disorders, developed obesity.
The researchers collected 80 healthy men between the ages of 19 and 32 and divided them into three groups. 20 participants in the first group were given modafinil, 20 participants in the second group had Atomoxetine (a drug for the treatment of ADHD). Forty volunteers from the third group received a placebo.
The scientists found that the intensity of impulsive behavior among those who received modafinil decreased significantly. Atomoxetine in terms of influence on self-control was comparable to placebo.
Obesity has become a serious public health problem in developed countries. So, in the USA more than a third of adults suffer from it. Obesity increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer.
Based on the results of their work, researchers argue that the appointment of modafinil can be an effective strategy to combat obesity, caused by food dependencies.
"We found that modafinil is able to influence the impulsive behavior of healthy volunteers. Presumably, its impact on the behavior of people suffering from food dependencies due to a deficiency of dopamine, will be more pronounced, - said Professor Vlaev. - This drug can be a real help to people who continue to struggle with the desire to eat something, even realizing that they need to lose weight. Modafinil strengthens self-control, which, in turn, determines whether a person will develop obesity. Therefore, we believe that the drug should help in the fight against this disease. "