Memory Loss: the Use of Modafinil, Armodafinil, and Other Drugs

What many do not know is that the cause of impaired memory could be the side-effects of medications that we use to treat certain diseases, such as depression, anxiety and heart problems. Some of those medications can have a negative effect on the brain and often damage nerve cells, which in certain people may cause long-lasting loss of memory.

Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention and to study the side-effects of medications you use daily, whether as a prescribed therapy or not. The list of medications causing memory loss is shown below:

Medications for anxiety

Medicaments such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and other drugs which doctors prescribe to people suffering from anxiety to alleviate the symptoms of this disorder, can lead to a temporary memory loss.

These drugs affect certain areas of the brain and can cause disturbances in the transfer of data from short-term to long-term memory, which can further cause the person to not remember many things. In order to avoid these side-effects, pharmacists advise that patients should be well informed when taking these medications, and if they notice any of the symptoms, to immediately visit their doctor.

If it is a milder form of anxiety that is manifested with insomnia, it is better to turn to alternative methods, such as herbal teas.


Beta-blockers aid in normalizing heartbeat and high blood pressure, but unfortunately, some of its ingredients, such as norepinephrine and epinephrine, can lead to memory loss. Some medications of this type that can cause problems are carvedilol (Coreg), propranolol (Inderal), timolol (Timoptic), etc. Therefore, many experts advise taking benzodiazepine calcium channel blockers, which are often safer and more efficient than beta-blockers.


Simvastatin (Zocor), Fluvastatin (Lescol), and pravastatin (Pravachol), are medications used to lower blood cholesterol levels. However, these pills can decrease the cholesterol level in the brain, too, which can then lead to nerve cell damage. That is why experts advise that if the increased level of cholesterol in the blood is not worrying, rather than medications, you should adjust diet and take vitamins. Vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid are a much better choice than these medications.


Eszopiclone (Lunesta), zolpidem (Ambien), and zaleplon (Sonata), can help you fall asleep, but their effects can limit the interaction between short-term and long-term memory. That is why alternative medications are a much better solution. Taking melatonin in doses of 3-10 mg before sleep can bring a healthy sleep. However, before any type of insomnia treatment, it is best to consult with a doctor first.


For the treatment of depression and mental disorders, such as eating disorders, chronic pain, and obsessive-compulsive behavior, doctors usually prescribe medications such as imipramine (Tofranil), clomipramine (Anafranil), doxepin (Sinequan), and other drugs. Although they are often used in the treatment of those disorders, studies have shown that more than one-third of adults using this therapy experience intermittent memory loss and concentration problems.


The nootropic drugs, such as Modafinil (Provigil) and Armodafinil (Waklert) are used for treating sleep disorders.

In 1998, Modafinil was approved by FDA as a cure in the treatment of narcolepsy, while today a spectrum of consumers is extremely wide, from pilots on 40 hour-flying missions to students who want to prepare an exam shortly.

Namely, this stimulant drug does not only keep you awake, but you will be fully capable of performing all duties without a sense of tiredness. After taking one dose, effects should last for about twenty hours.

However, from the Cephalon factory in Frazer (Pennsylvania), they prepared yet another FDA approved nootropic drug, Armodafinil, which extends the effects of a single dose of Modafinil. And the Company Cortex (Irvine, California), with the support of US Army, developed a medicament by the code name CX717, called Ampakine.

The experiments on rhesus monkeys have shown that people with sleep disorders taking these drugs often achieve better results on tests than those who are not taking it. The new drugs target brain functions responsible for the sleep cycle, neutralizing nervousness and irritability, the side-effects of the old generation stimulants.

Constant sleepiness or constant alertness: Which is worse?

The accelerated tempo of life and daily tasks at work has resulted in major changes in everyone's lifestyle, so that besides the everyday duties becoming increasingly stressful, the work requires more and more time. Imagine just how much more you could do if you sleep, let's say, for 3 to 4 hours. On a weekly level it would be a bonus of 20 hours, or more than 2 business days, with the annual number rising over an incredible 1000 hours.

However, you should know that neither caffeine, nor Modafinil is a substitute for sleep, and with such increased intensity of work, you could seriously harm your mental and physical health. Many studies have shown that a lack of sleep over time causes low immunity, depression, memory loss, and many other disorders.

Time will show whether the new stimulants will completely kick out the old ones from everyday life, but given the current trend of using these stimulants, that idea seems to be completely realistic.