Touch for Health
Hidden Dangers from
June 30, 2004
Hidden Dangers from New Drug
-- Two decades of research offers "No Clue"
-- Danger of undiagnosed Diabetes
-- On the United States Olympic Committee's list of banned stimulants
-- Impaired judgment from sleepiness is blamed for about 100,000 accidents
Two decades of research offers "No Clue"
In an article in The New York Times, June
29, 2004 by Anahad O'Connor, the benefits and dangers of a new drug
are outlined and it concerns me that they are selling so much of it
without having any idea of how it works. "Since 1998, modafinil,
made by Cephalon and sold under the brand name Provigil, has quietly
altered the lives of millions of people. No one knows exactly how it
works, but sales of the drug are skyrocketing." "After more
than two decades of research, scientists are still trying to figure
out just how it manipulates the brain. "It is amazing that this
drug has become so widely used without any real understanding of the
basic science behind it," Dr. Siegel said.
"People who take it say it keeps them awake for hours or even days.
It has been described as a nap in the form of a pill, making most users
feel refreshed and alert but still able to go to bed when they are ready.
And because its side effects are rarely worse than a mild headache or
slight nausea, experts fear that it has rapidly become a tempting pick-me-up
to a nation that battles sleep with more than 100 million cups of coffee
a day." That is correct people in the USA are so anxious to do
well that they are willing to take drugs without considering the long
Danger of undiagnosed Diabetes
"Some worry that an array of common disorders,
like diabetes and sleep apnea, will go undiagnosed if doctors dole out
Provigil instead of seeking the underlying diseases that cause fatigue."
If diseases like diabetes go undetected and blindness results how can
they say the side effects a mild, just because they don't show up immediately.
"This drug enables us to be that much more workaholic and that
much more obsessed with accomplishments and productivity, and I think
our society is already extreme along those lines," said Dr. Martha
J. Farah, director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University
of Pennsylvania. "The natural checks on that tendency, like needing
to go to bed, are being rolled back by modafinil." Is it a good
idea to make the natural tendency of Americans to overwork be stimulated
by a drug that the people that make it don't really have any idea how
it effects the brain or other aspects of a person long term?
On the United States Olympic Committee's list
of banned stimulants
"In the last year, six American track and field
athletes have tested positive for the substance, which is on the United
States Olympic Committee's list of banned stimulants." It is a
puzzle to me why the people charged with protecting the public will
not do more, when the doctors that are charged with protecting the honesty
of the Olympics ban the drug.
"An effort by Cephalon to have the drug approved for a third indication,
excessive sleepiness from any cause, was rejected." Here at least
the FDA is not taking more chances of encouraging the off label use
of the drug, due to the fact there are no proven studies that it is
safe for the general public and it's bad effects may be worse in a long
run than the temporary benefits.
Impaired judgment from sleepiness is
blamed for about 100,000 accidents a year
"The toll of this deprivation has been visible
for years on the nation's highways, where impaired judgment from sleepiness
is blamed for about 100,000 accidents a year. Lack of sleep is also
believed to have played a role in the space shuttle Challenger disaster,
the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Will
accident victims care if the cause of the accident was f rom a improver
use of a prescription drug to stay awake when they should get more rest.
Will we even ever know if this drug is effecting our highway accident
rate? Will we need an American Chernobyl nuclear accident to thing differently
"In terms of error rate, 18 hours of no sleep,
which many of us regularly do, is equivalent to a blood alcohol level
of about .05," said Dr. Ronald Chervin, who was involved in clinical
trials of modafinil and is the director of the University of Michigan
sleep disorders center. "Twenty-one hours of no sleep is equivalent
to a blood alcohol level of .08, which is illegal in many states."
I hope you will urge everyone you know to be smart about why they are
staying awake with drugs. There maybe times when this is important,
however we need to look closely at when this might not be the case.
Should there be warning about staying up for 18 or more straight hours
is equivalent to being drunk and not fit for driving or operating machinery
or making judgment calls for your future?
voice: 310 589 5269
Touch for Health Education · 6162 La Gloria Drive · Malibu
· CA · 90265 3195