The federal Food and Drug Administration
has approved a new drug for people who suffer sleep apnea that helps them stay
awake during the day, Cephalon Inc., the company that makes
the drug, said in a statement.
Provigil, a brand name for the drug
modafinil, has been shown to improve wakefulness in people who suffer from
sleep apnea or shift work sleep disorder.
For truckers, the news is especially
good: Cephalon said in a release that Provigil does keep sleep
apnea victims more awake, but does not stop them from sleeping when they want
The drug’s side effects are listed as
mild to moderate, and occur only about as often as the same effects appear in
people taking placebos.
Obstructive sleep apnea is an obstruction of a person’s airways caused
when the soft tissue in the back of
the throat relaxes and closes the airway during sleep. It often causes a
sleeper to wake numerous times during the night, disrupting their ability to
rest properly. Shift work sleep
disorder is caused when a person’s work schedule disrupts their regular,
24-hour sleep/work cycle. Both can cause excessive sleepiness during the day.
about the drug is available at www.provigil.com or by calling 1-800-896-5855.