Wakefulness-promoting agent

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A wakefulness-promoting agent, or eugeroic, is a type of drug which specifically improves wakefulness and alertness. They are used mainly in the treatment of sleeping disorders, excessive daytime sleepiness and narcolepsy.[medical citation needed] They are also used merely to counteract fatigue and lethargy and to enhance motivation and productivity.[medical citation needed] Wakefulness-promoting agents appear to function primarily by increasing catecholaminergic (adrenergic, dopaminergic), histaminergic, and orexinergic activity in the brain. Unlike many other stimulants, wakefulness-promoting agents are relatively non-addictive and non-dependence-forming.[citation needed]

The prototypical eugeroic is modafinil, and other drugs include adrafinil and armodafinil. The primary difference between these drugs and amphetamine-like stimulants is that wakefulness-promoting agents specifically trigger activation of neurons in the hypothalamus-based wakefulness circuits, as opposed to producing diffuse neuronal activation.[1]

The functional opposites of wakefulness-promoting agents are hypnotics, such as antihistamines and benzodiazepines, as well as suvorexant, an orexin antagonist.


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  1. ^ Ballon, D.D.; Feifel, D. (2006). "A systematic review of modafinil: potential clinical uses and mechanisms of action". Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 67 (4): 554–66. doi:10.4088/JCP.v67n0406. PMID 16669720. Retrieved June 11, 2010. (subscription required (help)).