Sometimes the Disease is Better

23:42 Mon 15 Nov 2010
[, , ]

Tired. And there are things to do. Aren’t there always? Tired enough to start thinking about chemical solutions. Like modafinil!

I was hoping that the website for the drug would have some appropriately cheesy lines, but it’s really quite responsible-looking. Damn. Some video footage of highly energetic and perhaps creepily awake people accompanied by soft music and the usual background of muted side effect warnings would have been ideal.

And hey, those are quite the side effects. Toxic epidermal necrolysis is just as bad as it sounds… and has mortality rates of thirty to forty percent. Does that sound insane to you? It sounds insane to me. Of course, the chances of Modafinil causing that reaction in a given person are incredibly small—but just knowing that the risk is there makes me unwilling. This is not a rational attitude, given that I have more chance of being hit by a car every time I cycle to work, most likely, than encountering that reaction.

But I’m someone who also refused general anaesthetic on the same grounds, sine some vanishingly small number of patients fail to wake up from it, and, low pain threshold or not, it seemed much better to endure the pain than to risk permanent sleep.

The other thing that makes modafinil less appealing is this line from the Wikipedia article: “Despite extensive research into the interaction of modafinil with a large number of neurotransmitter systems, a precise mechanism or set of mechanisms of action remains unclear.” I’m sure there are lots of drugs like that, especially one that alter brain function, but, again, my reaction here isn’t that rational. I just combine “we don’t know how it works” with “may cause your skin to fall off” and decide it’s not for me.

So no modafinil for me; I’m too risk averse, not to mention too much of a control freak, for that solution. That, and I’ve read The Dark Fields.

(next) »

2 Responses to “Sometimes the Disease is Better”

  1. Zac Says:

    Modafinil is great. Was able to plow through 5 hours of data entry after 2 hours sleep with minimal errors or jitters. No wonder the military likes it. NO substitute for sleep though.

  2. monsun Says:

    Everything has side effects. Even life.

Leave a Reply