The drug Adrafinil was launched in 1985 by the pharmaceutical company Cephalon. The drug narcolepsy and sleep disorders associated with narcolepsy are treated.

What is Adrafinil?

The drug narcolepsy and sleep disorders associated with narcolepsy are treated.

The drug Adrafinil belongs to group of the psychostimulating substances which are stimulating to an organism. Its effect is similar to morphine-like substances, but adrafinil differs significantly in the molecular structure of this group of drugs.

The preparation is a prodrug. These are substances that have only a slight pharmacological effect. Only during the metabolism, the active ingredient modafinil is released, which is included as the main metabolite in adrafinil. Therefore, both preparations are identical in their effect on the human organism.

The big difference is that Adrafinil only takes effect after a certain delay. The drug was developed by the US pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Cephalon. Because Adrafinil as well as modafinil has a performance-enhancing effect, it is considered a prohibited doping substance.

Pharmacological action

The mechanism of how adrafinil affects the body and its organs has not been fully explored. However, some studies have found that after administration of adrafinil, the concentration of various neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine increases significantly. It is believed that the active part of the adrenaline, modafinil, stimulates the transmission of chemical or electrical excitations in the nerve cells.

A possible explanation for this effect has been found in various tests with the organism of a mouse: It was found here that after the administration of adrafinil increased secretion of histamine in the central nervous system takes place. Histamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role as a neurotransmitter in a variety of organisms. In other mammals and humans, histamine plays an important role in allergic reactions as well as in the immune system.

Here, the histamine is one of those messenger substances that make inflammation cause the tissue to swell. Furthermore, histamine plays an important role in the central nervous system. Here it is especially important in the appetite control and in the control of the sleep-wake cycle. Histamine is formed during the metabolism from the amino acid histidine, it is then stored mainly in nerve cells.

Medical application & use

Adrafinil is used exclusively for the treatment of sleep disorders. The most common is the treatment of narcolepsy and symptoms associated with narcolepsy. This sleep disorder, which is also known as sleeping sickness in the vernacular, is based on a disturbance of the sleep-wake rhythm.

The causes of narcolepsy, estimated by about 40, 000 people in Germany, are still largely unknown. Typical symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness as well as almost complete immobilization during sleep (sleep paralysis), emotional and short-term loss of muscle tension, and hypnagogic hallucinations. Other symptoms include disturbed night sleep with many and sometimes long interruptions and concentration and memory disorders.

The latter symptoms, however, are more a consequence of daytime sleepiness. A diagnosis of narcolepsy is difficult in that the symptoms can be individually very different. In addition, many narcolepsy patients additionally suffer from other impairments, such as sleep-disordered breathing or Restless Legs Syndrome. Although this is actually a neurological disorder, it is attributed to sleep related movement disorders. Adrafinil narcolepsy patients are mainly given to suppress the symptom of daytime sleepiness. The other symptoms are partially treated with antidepressants.

Risks & Side Effects

For certain pre-existing conditions, such as addictions or dysfunction of the liver and kidneys, adrafinil should not be given. The reason: side effects such as hepatotoxicity or the DRESS syndrome may occur.

It is a serious reaction of the immune system to the drug, in which various organs such as the liver, kidneys or lungs can be attacked. If side effects occur, they often show allergic reactions of the skin. Thus, the skin disease Stevens-Johnson syndrome and Lyell's syndrome will be listed among the side effects of Adrafinil. Tags: 

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