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One of the offshoots of globalisation and outsourcing of work is a profusion of IT and BPO jobs which require night shifts or odd hour shifts to suit the source country. The body’s biological clock is confused when it is asked to stay awake at a time when it has to in fact be asleep.

Many young workers take on jobs in the night shift only to realise that they are overpowered by sleep and are hardly able to keep their eyes open, let alone do a competent job. They are in a dilemma whether to stay on and rough it out or quit their hard earned job because of a little sleep.

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Help is at Hand with Modafinil

For such people, taking Modafinil may help.

What is Modafinil? Modafinil is prescribed by doctors to patients who suffer from shift work sleep disorders, narcolepsy or sleep apnea- all of which make the patient feel very sleepy. Modafinil encourages wakefulness in patients. Other than these, Modafinil is also prescribed for some other sleep related disorders. Modafinil is the generic name of the drug and brand names include Provigil and Nuvigil.

What kind of a medicine is Modafinil?

Modafinil is not an over – the – counter (OTC) drug and has to be prescribed by a certified physician. Self-medication may lead to complications. It promotes wakefulness and is now used more for work related requirements, rather than medical needs.

Keep Your Doctor Informed when Taking Modafinil

Effective as it is, Modafinil cannot be taken by anyone and everyone. It is very important to take Modafinil only on being prescribed by your physician. It is also imperative that you disclose all your health problems to your doctor, so that he makes a proper diagnosis of your requirements and prescribe a suitable medication. Also be sure to inform your doctor about any other medication you use, even if it is just something you bought over the counter. Even a seemingly straightforward herbal product or a commonly popped vitamin pill could set off a side effect.

Use Modafinil Right for Best Results

While your physician is sure to give you proper guidance on how to use Modafinil, these simple guidelines would be of help to you to maximize the benefits of taking it.

Modafinil has to be stored at room temperature away from heat or moisture.

Take the exact dosage prescribed by your doctor. Over or under usage may not yield the best results. Follow directions on prescription meticulously. If you have concerns about its use, feel free to ask your doctor.

The prescription is usually for a period of 12 weeks. Be sure to consult your doctor, before continuing for more time.

Be cautioned that getting enough sleep is imperative and taking Modafinil and staying awake is not a substitute for sufficient sleep.

Depending on when you need to stay awake, you need to take the dosage. If it is to prevent daytime sleepiness, it should be taken in the morning. If, however, it is to stay awake during an oddly timed work shift, Modafinil should be taken an hour before wakefulness is desired.

One should also keep in mind that if Modafinil is prescribed to treat sleepiness because of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a Continuous Airway Passage Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine should be at hand to keep your airway open to prevent obstruction. The machine, which is connected to a mask, keeps a steady flow of pressurized air blowing into your nose so that you may breathe smoothly and easily.

Usually Modafinil and CPAP machines are used in combination to treat OSA. Keep using the CPAP machine till instructed otherwise by the doctor. Though Modafinil will not cure OSA or alleviate its cause, relief is quick and sure. If you continue feeling excessively sleepy even while using Modafinil, you should immediately consult your doctor and keep him informed.

Dosage Advice for Modafinil

Common dosage for adults to treat Shift work sleep disorder: 200 mg taken orally an hour before commencement of shift.

Common dosage for adults to treat Narcolepsy: 200 mg taken orally every morning.

Common dosage for adults to treat Hypopnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea: 200 mg taken orally every morning.

Modafinil Side effects to be Aware of

While Modafinil is generally considered safe, one should be aware of and should take immediate action if any of the following side effects is noticed. At the first sign of swelling of face, throat, lips or tongue, difficulty in breathing or hives – all allergic reactions, rush to the doctor. Stop taking Modafinil immediately.

Other known side effects of Modafinil are chest pain, uneven heartbeats, easy bruising and bleeding, sores or white patches on your palette or lips, sudden mood swings – depression, aggression, anxiety, muscular weakness, aches and pains, fever, vomiting, sore throat and violent rash on the skin accompanied by peeling or severe blistering of skin.

Modafinil Information You can Use

Modafinil affects the central nervous system, so it may hamper your reflex and thinking. So be very careful and abstain from activities that need you to be alert such as driving and crossing streets. All dangerous activities need to be avoided or put off till you are out of the after effects of Modafinil. Alcohol is strictly taboo and the two culminate in a dangerous cocktail, confusing the brain.

If you miss a dose, you may take it as soon as you remember; however, if you have no need to stay awake for the next few hours, desist from taking a dosage. If you remember very late and you will be sleeping shortly, do not take the medication as it will hamper sleep and turn your sleep pattern upside down.

In case you overdose on Modafinil, call the emergency Poison help or rush to the nearest hospital.

When friend can turn foe?

There are certain times/conditions when one should not take Modafinil:

People with angina or chest pain, a history of drug abuse, heart related problems, recent heart attack, kidney or liver diseases, or prescribed medication for hyper tension and blood pressure should not take Modafinil. There may be adverse effects on them from mild rash and skin irritation, fever, sore throat and vomiting to serious side effects that may even require hospitalization.

Do be sure to take Modafinil only under the advice of your physician. If taken under the doctor’s guidance and all precautions are adhered to, Modafinil may be a blessing in disguise to promote wakefulness.

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