Everyone takes in caffeine during exams, but what if that’s not enough? Study drugs are becoming popular, with 20% of students nationally saying they’ve tried them, but how do they work and are they safe?
Modafinil, prescribed for sleep disorders, promotes wakefulness similarly to amphetamines, but scientists are unsure exactly how Modafinil works. It is broken down in the liver, therefore Modafinil can cause issues if taken alongside a variety of other medications such as steroidal contraceptives, most antibiotics and antidepressants, and even foods like grapefruit juice!
Patients have reported effects such as insomnia and worsening of conditions such as depression, as well as increased blood pressure and Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a severe skin reaction which can be lethal. Modafinil is addictive if taken for an extended period… like the revision and exam period.
Another drug is Noopept, currently only licensed in Russia for brain rehabilitation. It’s a prodrug, so doesn’t have any effect until it is metabolised to Cycloprolylglycine, and improves brain function by reducing the number of delta-waves responsible for feelings of tiredness, and increasing the number of chemicals called neurotrophins which naturally occur in the brain to enhance memory.
There is not a lot of information available about Cycloprolylglycine, which means it cannot be assessed for safety in the UK and we don’t know which other drugs could interact.
So whilst study drugs can be a useful resource, they can be unpredictable and there are risks involved with taking any drug that isn’t prescribed by a healthcare professional. Don’t do drugs, kids.