Modafinil and Other Stimulants Used in Sports

Hyperactivity, together with ADHD, is one of the most common disorders according to the prevalence of all conditions and diseases which concern school age. The most important symptoms of behavior disorder are reduced attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Stimulant drugs make the basis of the treatment of behavior disorder, and that implies using short, medium and long-lasting methylphenidate or dextroamphetamine drugs, though Modafinil, Armodafinil, and other nootropics are also used for similar attention disorders, although mainly for adults.

MPH treatment and abuse of this drug among athletes

Methylphenidate (MPH) is one of the primary medicines used for treating symptoms of head injury, symptoms of sleepiness in case of narcolepsy, symptoms of chronic obesity, and as the secondary assisting medicine in treating depression. Brand names of medicines that contain methylphenidate are Ritalin, Attenta, and Concerta (pills with slow releasing).

Today MPH is the medicament most commonly prescribed for the treatment of the ADHD syndrome. More than 75% of the prescriptions of methylphenidate are intended for children. Methylphenidate is the stimulant of the central nervous system that was illegally used by foreign students to whom medicine wasn't prescribed; they used it for enhancing their cognitive abilities before exams.

Adults that have ADHD often claim that methylphenidate increases the ability to focus on work and to organize their lives. It is discovered that methylphenidate has less chance to cause side-effect in comparison to dextroamphetamine, a bit rarely prescribed medicament for treating attention disorder.

Prescribed in right doses, it is usually tolerable by the patients. Most important for athletes that use methylphenidate or dextroamphetamine is to get an annual estimation proof and a specialist check in order to follow the development of the disorder. Here are some schemes for dosing:

  • Short-acting medicines - 5-20 mg per day in 2 or 3 doses;
  • Medium-acting medicines - 20-40 mg a day;
  • Extended-acting medicine - 18-72 mg a day.

Amphetamines in sports

Amphetamine is used in the form of a pills, capsules, injections, and crystal powder. In everyday practice, it is prescribed in order to improve energy and mood, and to reduce appetite. It helps in building muscular mass, stamina, enhances wakefulness, and accelerates recovery after an injury.

It is mostly used by cyclists and contestants in speed skating. Most important side-effects of the amphetamine are a strong motor unrest, hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, headache, palpitation, hypertension, arrhythmias, chest pain, and hyperpyrexia.

All described effects can be seen in athletes that use amphetamine as doping. Described symptoms can be removed by using sedative and adrenergic medicines. The acidification of urine (taking vitamin C) increases the elimination of amphetamines from the body.

Amphetamine causes mental and physical addiction, and its main characteristic is suppressing tiredness, and increasing the wakefulness and stamina of the athlete.

Suspension of athletes who used stimulant drugs

An arbitration court in sports suspended a Brazilian football player Ricardo Lukas for two years because he used illegal substances. Lukas was positive on amphetamine; he fell on doping test in June 2007 after the championship game in his former club Botafogo.

The famous athletes that used amphetamines are Danish cyclist Kurt Jansen (collapsed and died of a heart attack after overdosing with amphetamine on Olympic games in Rome in 1960); British cyclist Tommy Simpson (died of a heart attack after complications during Tour de France); German cyclist Jan Ulrich (the winner of Tour de France); Argentine high jumper Solange Vitevin, center of Philadelphia, etc.

Amphetamine and methylphenidate are, as psychostimulants of the nervous system, often abused in sports, in order to achieve top results, no matter the consequences. Because of this, they were put on the list of forbidden substances.

Nootropic drugs in sports

Mechanism of action of Modafinil is not thoroughly tested. It is well known today it has effects similar to amphetamine, but with a better risk-benefit ratio, which found an application in treating seasonal depression. It can cause euphoria inclination to addictedness, but to a less extent. Researchers have agreed that Modafinil improves memory. It showed good results with persons with lower IQ, and it is also noticed that it has a neuroprotective function.

Because of its medicinal properties, Modafinil has quickly become a misused drug in sports. It's funny how every year, like some kind of epidemic, the number of narcoleptic athletes increases every year, with their "narcolepsy" diagnosis justifying the use of Modafinil.

For example, an American runner, Calvin Harrison, was the last athlete who was identified with Modafinil in urine. An American sprinter Kelli White has lost the opportunity to keep her gold medal in 2003 when it was confirmed that B sample was positive for this stimulant. The same year, an American athlete Chris Phillips used Modafinil as doping. Frozen urine samples of contestants, who took place in the US race in 2003, were tested to examine the abuse of one new steroid called THG. The results were surprising - Modafinil was found in a few samples. Athletes use it because it improves their abilities, and boosts them with energy and sharpness.

The therapeutic dose is 100-200 mg a day, but athletes take more than 300 mg. Effects are visible after half an hour. Half-life is 10-12 hours.