Wakefulness-promoting agent

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A wakefulness-promoting agent, or eugeroic, is a type of drug which specifically improves wakefulness and alertness, and reduces tiredness, drowsiness, and the need for sleep. They are used mainly in the treatment of sleeping disorders, excessive daytime sleepiness and narcolepsy, though they are also used merely to counteract fatigue and lethargy and to enhance motivation and productivity. 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)).