Warwick professor claims Modafinil could help food addicts lose weight

Apparently it increases dopamine levels and reduces impulses towards food


A recent study carried out by researchers from the University of Warwick and Imperial College London has found that Modafinil, a drug used to treat sleep disorders, assists in reducing impulsive behaviour.

Modafinil is typically given to sufferers of narcolepsy, but the study found that when Modafinil was given to overweight adults, it helped to curb cravings to eat.

As a result, scientists now claim Modafinil which is used to treat a chronic sleep disorder, could help food addicts lose weight. In the study, a series of trials were carried out on 60 men aged between 19 and 32.

A third of them were given Modafinil, a third took a similar drug, Atomoxetine, whilst the final 20 were given a placebo to act as a control.

The results showed that the participants who had taken Modafinil had a significantly reduced level of impulsiveness, in comparison to Atomoxetine which produced no difference compared to the placebo group.

The science behind it, is that food addicts are known to have a deficiency of dopamine, resulting in a reduced sense of pleasure from eating. Modafinil helps to combat this, as it increases dopamine levels, which in turn helps to reduce impulses towards food.

One of the leading researchers, Professor Ivo Vlaey from Warwick University said: “We found Modafinil, which is already on the market, did reduce people’s impulsive behaviour”.

Professor Vlaey added:  “This drug could be a real help to those people struggling to control their desire for food even though they know they should lose weight.

“The drug improves self-control, which is a key factor in determining obesity, so our hypothesis is that this drug should help in treating the disease.”