The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of modafinil (Provigil) as treatment for people suffering from sleep disorders such as those who have narcolepsy, a brain disorder which causes an individual to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times or to experience excessive sleepiness.

Most of the drug’s users, particularly students, use it off label when studying for exams believing that this could help them focus regardless of lack of evidence that the drug can work this way.

A review of 24 modafinil studies, however, has shown that modafinil actually works as a “smart drug” for some individuals. The findings, which was published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, suggest that in healthy people, the drug can improve attention, learning and memory as well as increase what is known as fluid intelligence, or a person’s ability to solve problems and think creatively.


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