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Drug for Sleep Disorders May Help Curb Food Addiction

Drug for Sleep Disorders May Help Curb Food Addiction

A recent study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that a prescription medication used to treat sleep disorders like sleep apnea and narcolepsy might be helpful to treat those with food addiction. 


UK Researchers Ivo Vlaev from the Warwick Business School and Myutan Kulendran, Laura Wingfield, Colin Sugden, and Ara Darzi of the Imperial College London found that Provigil (modafinil) is linked to “the impulsive behavior that is often associated with food addiction” (Gaita, 2016). While scientists aren’t sure exactly how modafinil operates in the body—perhaps by altering neurotransmitter levels, and thereby regulating sleep and wakefulness—the drug “has been attributed with increasing levels of dopamine, which studies have indicated as a contributing factor in impulsive behavior” (Gaita, 2016). 


The study by Vlaev and his colleagues was conducted on sixty men aged nineteen to thirty-two who were separated into three groups: a group receiving modafinil, a group receiving an ADHD drug (atomoxetine), and a group receiving a placebo. The researchers found that men who received modafinil had reduced levels of impulsive behavior. 


“This drug could be a real help to those people struggling to control their desire for food, even though they know they should lose weight. [Modafinil] improves self-control, which is a key factor in determining obesity, so our hypothesis is that this drug should help in treating the disease,” stated Vlaev (Gaita, 2016). 




Gaita, P. (2016). Sleep disorder drug Provigil could help treat food addiction. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/sleep-disorder-drug-provigil-could-help-treat-food-addiction