A certain Dr. Mark Frye has done a study on a drug called modafinil, originally used to treat people with sleep disorders. He says: "There are very few treatments for the depressive phase of bipolar disorder and as a result there is an urgent need to evaluate potential new therapeutics. Mood stabilisers in general are better at treating mania than depression, but the depressive phase of the illness is far more common. We really need continued research in this area." (I strongly agree!)
Modafinil is used to treat patients with excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder. During the depressive phase of bipolar disorder, symptoms include excessive sleepiness ("hypersomnia") and fatigue, (boy, do I know it), so researchers wondered if modafinil could address these symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder.
Half of the patients in the study were given modafinil and the other half were given a placebo over a six-week period. At least 44% of the participants given modafinil said they felt better, while 39% said their symptoms were in remission after six weeks. This compares to 23% and 18% of those taking the placebo. Modafinil was not associated with any greater risk of the manic and depressive mood swings associated with bipolar disorder. How exactly modafinil works isn't known but research is continuing.
Read the full article here. I want me some modafinil! Actually, I'd quite like not to need the damn drugs in the first place.