In a 2010 White House report on President Obama’s medical exam is a list of medications he takes regularly. The report states that the President take a medicine for jet-lag which is believed to be Modafinil or Armodafinil.
The report states the medicine is for “Jet lag/time zone management, direct physician prescribed program, occasional medication use.” Obama’s doctor, Navy Capt. Jeffrey Kuhlman, didn’t say what specific drug the president might be taking to counter jet-lag. Sleep doctors consulted by journalist Barbara Kantrowitz say the most likely possibility is a Provigil class drug, which are regularly prescribed to help people fend off excessive sleepiness.
“If they’re going to give him something to wake him up, Provigil (Modafinil) is the way to go,” says Dr. Lisa Shives, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois.
While the White House won’t say what the president is actually taking, Provigil (also known by its generic name modafinil) is an intriguing possibility. The drug has acquired an almost mythic status in recent years as a pill that makes it possible for the user to bypass the all-too-human need for sleep and work 24 or even 36 hours at a stretch. Manufactured by Cephalon, it’s in a class of medications called “wakefulness promoting agents.” Fans claim you get all the benefits of a triple shot of espresso without the jitters or anxiety that can accompany a massive hit of caffeine. It’s reported to be increasingly popular among sleep-deprived cohorts like long-distance truckers, fighter pilots, and students pulling all-nighters—and brought in $1 billion for Cephalon in 2008.One little hitch: It’s not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this purpose. The FDA says modafinil can only be marketed as a treatment for three things: narcolepsy, shift-work sleep disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness in patients who have been treated for obstructive sleep apnea. Using the drug to keep patients awake after a long trip would be considered “off-label,” although it’s perfectly legal and very common, says Shives.
And that off-label status could soon change. The FDA is reviewing Cephalon’s application to market a drug called Nuvigil or Armodafinil, which is similar to Provigil, as a jet-lag remedy.
Cited article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/03/04/the-white-house-mystery-drug.html