Citation: Benjy. "Thoughts on Provigil: An Experience with Modafinil (exp24573)". Erowid.org. Jun 30, 2003. erowid.org/exp/24573
Provigil (modafinil) is not dopaminergic. It doesn't crank you up in a blunt way; it suppresses the decline of wakefulness. Or something. I test-drove Provigil for a while, and didn't find it inherently 'fun' in the way that dopaminergics like amphetamines, methylphenidate, or Wellbutrin are. I wasn't driven -- I didn't find myself alphabetizing my spice rack or scrubbing the bathroom floor with a Q-Tip -- I was just alert, with no unwelcome desire to go curl up and snooze unless I wanted to -- and I could if I wanted to. Provigil just turned off the sleep-urge.
Part of why uppers are so destructive is that there's no off-switch: the comedown's a bitch. If you could crank up, go about your fidgety business, and then go beddy-bye, the harm would be limited to the body load of the drug itself and the loss of all your non-tweeker friends.
With speed, the reinforcing event is the horrible eternity when sleep's no option but the sparkle is gone -- that's what makes people blow another line at 4 AM. Provigil isn't like that; it doesn't make me think I'm Jean Fucking Baudrillard, and it doesn't make another hit seem quite so compelling. All it does is make me alert, anytime I want. Like coffee without the corpse breath.
But for folks who are accustomed to feeling sleepy, for reasons endogenous or imposed, I could see the Provigil experience as being a real boost from baseline, and any boost from baseline can be compelling. I suspect that's what's behind the some of the reports of 'amphetamine-like' results in trials with experienced users of drugs of abuse: the subject set. The way the abuse potential trials work, as I understand, is that they get a bunch of semi-pro test loadies to eat the pill and engage in a kind of connoiseurship. 'A bit speedy, with notes of vigilance, anxiety, and a hint of impulsivity. Reminiscent of 10mg Dexedrine while smoking Moroccan red hash. Would go well with final exams or a road trip.'
But experience with seriously addictive drugs creates drug-seeking behavior that will drive users to latch onto other less-addictive substances more readily than folks who've never been addicted. It's hard to say whether a user of Provigil would be likely to treat it as a drug of abuse unless they have a back-monkey watching for stimulants with a wee hairy finger poised twitching over the DOSE button.
Incidentally, Cephalon was spanked by the FDA for making unapproved claims and releasing protocols for transitioning from Adderall to Provigil, even though Provigil's not actually approved for use in ADHD, and results are showing inconclusive effectiveness for improving attention in ADHD.
Through the common practice of off-label prescribing, a doctor can prescribe Provigil for any reason s/he sees fit without much fear of it coming back to haunt him/her. So, seeing as how another Sched IV drug, Xanax, is routinely prescribed to people afraid of flying or who have to attend a parent's funeral, it'll be interesting to see how this drug's being used two years from now.
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