Sleep Drug May Help Fight Food Addiction
According to a recent study, modafinil—a drug approved to treat sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, shift work disorder, and narcolepsy—shows promise for obesity fueled by an addiction to food. Researchers found the drug reduces impulsive behavior.
The exact mechanism of action is unknown, but modafinil (Provigil) may promote wakefulness by altering neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin—which regulates sleep and wakefulness—and dopamine—which is involved in reward and addiction. Research has shown that people with food addiction may lack specific forms of dopamine and eat uncontrollably in an attempt to compensate for this. (Eating can trigger the release of dopamine.)
The study enrolled 60 healthy men between the ages of 19 and 32. One group was given modafinil, one was giving an ADHD medication called atomoxetine, and the control group was given a placebo. According to researchers, the group that was given modafinil showed a significant reduction in impulsivity and an increase in self-control.
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