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Provigil Extends Your Day? 660

John Mearns writes "It looks like before long all caffeine junkies will be able to ditch the bottle of Mountain Dew or cup of coffee in favor of pill. Its not a true stimulant so you don't get the "caffeine crash," just countless hours of alert attentiveness. " It's also still in testing so it'll probably make you grow horns or something, and is supposed to only be used for people who are sleepy during the day, but it raises several interesting ethical questions.
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Provigil Extends Your Day?

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  • First Post. (Score:5, Funny)

    by QuodEratDemonstratum ( 569501 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:15PM (#3361352) Homepage

    Cool, if I take these it will increase my chances of getting a first post.

    Pop pill.
    Reload /.
    Pop pill.
    Reload /.
    Pop pill.
    Reload /.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:16PM (#3361356) Homepage
    How else do i know it's time to give up and go to bed? when you finally come crashing down in the bathroom as your body is expelling all that water...

    Boom.... now sleep for 12 hours.

    I want something that will reduce my bodies need for sleep... make me feel good and refreshed on 3 or 4 hours of sleep.
    • by Wonko42 ( 29194 ) <ryan+slashdot@wo[ ].com ['nko' in gap]> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:23PM (#3361415) Homepage
      Try Uberman's Sleep Cycle []. If your schedule allows it, and you're able to adjust to the cycle, you'll end up getting around two to three hours of sleep per day (just not consecutively) and you'll feel better than after a normal eight hours of sleep. Or so people say.
      • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:48PM (#3361627) Homepage Journal
        I saw a news magazine program once which monitored a guy doing this for weeks. They had a camera setup in the bedroom, and this dude was supposed to perform mental tasks (puzzles, memorization, etc.) at periodic intervals.

        He seemed to be getting along just fine, until about day 62 or so, and then he crashed, and crashed hard!

        • by dbretton ( 242493 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @06:13PM (#3361774) Homepage
          That's because he began to deviate from the pattern.

          I've been on the Uberman cycle for about ~95 days now, and I feel great. I've average about 3.5 hours of sleep a day, and I realy feel as refreshed as I used to be after a 10 hour sleep-fest.
          I highly recommend it to anyone who is willing to
          ..Hccchhhh.............zZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • by SandSpider ( 60727 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:54PM (#3361653) Homepage Journal
        Yeah, some kids in my dorm did this. They had heard that DaVinci did it or something. It went for a few days, until they overslept and nothing at all would wake them. They only missed a few classes.

      • As I've learned the hard way in recent years, you NEED several hours of REM sleep a day. It's not just a matter of feeling "refreshed" in the morning, it's a big factor in mental health.
        • With Uberman's cycle, you end up getting more REM sleep every day than you would with 8 hours of consecutive sleep. Your brain learns to drop into REM sleep immediately, so each 20-30 minute nap is entirely REM, which adds up to between 2 and 3 hours of purely REM sleep per day, which is more than enough.
    • Da Vinci (Score:2, Insightful)

      Like many other people I wanted get more productive hours out my 24 hour day so began studying napping in college and ending up doing my undergrad research project on napping. I ended up doing a fairly lame project but my original idea was to adopt this sleep pattern (awake 4 hours, sleep 15-30 minutes) and do tests on myself. While there have been anecodotes of this sleep schedule, there have been no documented cases and no scientific research. Incidentally, Leonardo da Vinci was supposed to have adopted this sleep schedule. It can certainly help explain the amazing work that he produced.

      The human body has many continuous overlapping cycles. The most prominent is the circadian rythymn, our daily clock. But there are longer cycles (women's monthly cycles) and a shorter one of approximatly 4 hours. Adopting this sleeping pattern would maximize restorative sleep (Stage 4 and REM) while minimizing the less productive sleep stages (Stages 1-3). When you adopt this sleep schedule, you immediately go into deep sleep and then dream within 5 or 10 minutes. The normal delay for dreaming is usually 3-5 hours.
      One last thing that I found in my research. While most people can deal with moderate sleep loss for an extended time 2-3 hours a night, there is a core sleep time of 4-5 hours that the average person must get otherwise they become non-functional.
      I would love to read up more on this drug and to see how the research has changed in the three years that I have left school.
  • Seriously (Score:4, Funny)

    by crumbz ( 41803 ) <(moc.liamg>maps ... uj>maps_evomer> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:16PM (#3361360) Homepage
    What would happen if you took this with an Ambien, a couple of beers, a Tylenol-3 and a grande mocha? I think you would time travel...
    • by Indras ( 515472 )
      I think you would time travel...

      Yeah, in a "whoa, is it really August already?" kind of way.
    • by JZ_Tonka ( 570336 )
      I'm sure the guys at could find a way to sell that.
    • by chainsaw1 ( 89967 )
      I'm more concerned with just being able to sleep at night. I used to be able to say i'm not in the mood, but Viagra kill that one. The only one left was i'm too tired...

      Guess that one's gone too...

    • by TheDarkRogue ( 245521 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @06:00PM (#3361700)
      one glass vodka, $3
      one shot nyquil (The icky green liquid stuff, not Gelcaps), $2
      two tablets nodoze, $3

      not knowing where the fuck you are, what day it is, what time it is, your name, what language your speaking, and then comming too 7 hours later and finding you wrote a web/gopher/ftp/qotd/chargen server that works, priceless
      • so YOU wrote xinetd?
  • Wow... (Score:4, Funny)

    by MonkeyBot ( 545313 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:17PM (#3361368)
    If I would have had this during my undergrad career as an engineer, maybe I could have gotten a degree AND had a social life!
    • Get a degree AND have a social life? I would think that would cause a black hole or tear the fabric of space-time or something. That's probably why it's never happened before.
  • by Hiro Antagonist ( 310179 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:17PM (#3361369) Journal
    There's something incredibly cozy about having a cup of hot coffee or tea to sip on throughout the day, a sort of tangibility that you won't get from popping a pill. It's kind of like the difference between muzak(tm) and Pink Floyd...sure, both are music, but only one is music.
    • Do both. One can still have the cup of coffee or tea. This just allows one to choose a better tasing tea without having to select for caffein content. This also opens up a hole slew of other better tasting beverages that are sans caffein.
      • "This just allows one to choose a better tasing tea without having to select for caffein content."

        Might I suggest Good Earth [] teas? Their Black tea is the strongest, with Green tea in second place. The Green tea tastes better than Black, and still has enough caffiene to get me going. It's also not nearly as hard on my digestive system as coffee.

        It is more expensive, but don't let that fool you. I've saved quite a bit of cash since I switched, since I no longer eat three tins of Altoids a day for my creature-from-the-black-coffee-lagoon breath.
        • Call me a whore, but I am rather fond of the Starbucks Tazo teas. Their Chai and Black tea (dubbed 'Awake') are really quite good. Since I switched to drinking only tea, and got off caffeine other than when I am craving the taste of the beverage I feel a lot better.

          Drinking tea vs. hyped-up-overcost-insulting-italians-grande-no-foa m-extra-whip-non-fat-soy-coffee will save you a helluva lot of money.

          $5 for the coffee, vs. $1.15 for the tea that you can refill for free till your bag goes dead...

          As for the altoids, have you tried those Listerine strips? W0000...
  • Sleep and dreams... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Steveftoth ( 78419 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:20PM (#3361395) Homepage
    Since this deprives you of sleep, but somehow keeps you from falling asleep, the long-term side effects of this are compeletly unknown. All the studies show that not sleeping is extreamly bad for you in the long run. Lowers immune systems, increases stress, reduces hapiness, etc.
    One thing they don't mention is if you have to sleep for a 'normal' amount after the drug wares off. So if you are awake for like 36 hours, then how long do you sleep? 8 hours? or 16 hours?

    Even if this has bad long term effects, this will be very popular, everyone has those nights that they 'have' to stay up and work. Could be the procrationators drug of choice.
    • Normal Sleep (Score:2, Insightful)

      by phriedom ( 561200 )
      Yes they do mention that. Its at the end of the section that explains how it is different from caffiene and other stimulants.
      Caffeine and older prescription stimulants buzz the entire central nervous system, causing jitteriness, insomnia and other unwanted effects. When people who use coffee or amphetamines to stay awake finally doze off, they often remain in bed for much longer than usual, their bodies paralyzed by the need for "rebound sleep." Provigil, meanwhile, seems to target only the part of the brain that keeps us awake. When its effects wear off, the user resumes a normal sleep pattern.
    • All the studies show that not sleeping is extreamly bad for you in the long run.

      I don't think that this is true. I read a New Yorker article a few months ago about the same drug. It said that not getting enough sleep will impair your performance at the time, but it doesn't cause any long-term effects. It talked about Randy Gardner who stayed awake for 11 days straight. He didn't experience any real problems during the experiment, and was completely back to normal after sleeping for something like 14 hours after the experiment.

      And the really interesting thing about this new drug is that you can stay awake for long periods of time without any performance impairment, or even any sleepiness. Cool and scary at the same time...
    • This is true once I took thee vivrin and 4 bottles of caffinated water to finish a project while in school persuing architecture. I started friday and worked through the entire weekend, no sleep. I handed in my project thank God it was a silent crit, went home and slept at 11am, then woke up 9:30 wednesday morning. I would never do it again, but the level of creativity I attained on that project I have never been able to reach again. I guess there is much to be said for vivrin, caffinated water, and marker fumes huh.
  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:22PM (#3361410) Homepage
    From the article:
    Provigil was developed in France in the 1970s. Although no one is sure how it works, animal studies show that the medication--unlike other drugs that induce wakefulness--doesn't seem to dramatically increase levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with arousal and alertness.

    If you want to take a drug that no one knows how it works, go for it. However, I will not be taking a drug that scientists are clueless about.

    The best treatment for sleepiness is SLEEPING!!! If you are engaging in an activity that is depriving you of sleep, STOP!!! There is a reason you get sleepy. Your body and mind needs to rest and recharge and sleepiness is the signal to do so. Medical test after medical test has shown that people that deprive themselves of sleep go insane and lose their ability to perform even the easiest of tasks. That is why sleep deprivation is used so often as a torture device to break down subjects, so they will spill the proverbial beans.

    • If you want to take a drug that no one knows how it works, go for it. However, I will not be taking a drug that scientists are clueless about.

      Exactly. Now's your chance to get ahead of the curve, while normal people (see above) are worried about "long term effects" and other such nonsense. Once it's certified healthy, we're back to square one with heightened expectations, when everyone's using it. So don't delay-- start using it now, and get 10 years up on everyone else!
    • I seem to recall that scientists aren't exactly sure how aspirin works either. I have no problem using it, and I also don't see a reason people can't just go the hell to bed when they are tired.
    • Hate to break it to you but if you check out [] you'll find that doctors and scientists don't really know how a lot of drugs work.
    • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:36PM (#3361538) Homepage Journal
      Medical test after medical test has shown that people that deprive themselves of sleep go insane and lose their ability to perform even the easiest of tasks.

      Lol, I got an insanity story to tell...

      When I was 18, I worked construction down in bakersfield. Everyday my boss would give me a little bit of krank to stick in my gums. I honestly didn't know what I was getting into as I had never done it before.

      After a week of no sleep, drinking pint's of whiskey like they were soda pops, and various hallucinations. I decided it would be a *Good Thing* to take on my friends 350lb father with my 150lb kranked out self.

      Lucky for me, all he did was throw me 30 feet to which, I landed on my feet, ran across the street and started yelling, "C'mon you pussy come on this side of the street i'll kick your ass!" After that episode I went home, slept for 28 hours, and vowed never to do that shit again. Haven't touched the stuff since.
    • The best treatment for sleepiness is SLEEPING!!! If you are engaging in an activity that is depriving you of sleep, STOP!!! There is a reason you get sleepy.

      This was modded as "insightful." And I agree.

      But isn't it pathetic and sad we (or at least I) have gotten to the point where a statement like "The best treatment for sleepiness is sleeping" is now insightful.

      Good point, toup. Thank you for the remind.

    • The best treatment for sleepiness is SLEEPING!!! If you are engaging in an activity that is depriving you of sleep, STOP!!! There is a reason you get sleepy.
      Thank you, doctor, but if you will take the time to read the article, it said it is indicated for "diagnosed medical conditions." Feeling sleepy because you have missed sleep is not a medical condition. Feeling perpetually sleepy regardless of diet, exercise, or number of hours slept is. I do not know if this is being tested as a treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or not, but people who suffer from that can sleep up to 20 hours and still feel wiped out. (And, in anticipation of the geniuses who will respond by saying "oversleep makes you tired, too," people who suffer from CFS also feel exhausted after eight, ten, twelve, or three hours of sleep as well.)

      As to your point about nobody knowing how a drug works, well...too many other people have already rebutted that.

    • There is a reason you get sleepy. Your body and mind needs to rest and recharge and sleepiness is the signal to do so.

      You make this claim as if it were intuitively obvious, but please let me argue that it may be wrong.

      There are other possible reasons we sleep, for example it may be because we are day hunters and we would just be using excessive calories if our bodies were at full burn 24 hrs/day. Sleep may be nothing but a food conservation program built into our evolution. Lions sleep a huge number of hours a day, probably because not burning calories when you aren't hunting for a huge calorie glut of a meal is the best strategy for surviving lean times. Some (all?) bears hibernate, probably for the same reason.

      So while you may be right, I think it is wrong to say sleep is a given and that's the end of it. Pregnancy used to be a given if you had sex, and while there are many people who still believe the only natural motivation and consequence of sex is procreation, many people now separate the two activities. I think Tiredness and Sleep may someday be separated in the same way. Sleep can be fun, but so can other things with which sleep can interfere.

    • If you want to take a drug that no one knows how it works, go for it. However, I will not be taking a drug that scientists are clueless about.
      The primary mode of action of many drugs is unknown. (In fact, nobody has been able to explain how a single general anesthetic works!)

      And that's the good part: side effects are almost completely unknown. They're found by administering the drug and seeing what happens. Sometimes there are no side effects, sometimes you get a dry mouth, sometimes your fingernails fall off, sometimes all your mitochondria die, etc. There's a reason drug trials are carefully planned and monitored.

      There is a reason you get sleepy. Your body and mind needs to rest and recharge and sleepiness is the signal to do so.
      Completely wrong. There are some people who *never* sleep, yet do not suffer from bad effects. If the need for sleep where a fundamental characteristic of higher neural activity, they would die in childhood, but they do not.

      It is entirely possible (and I would say likely) that sleep is caused by a clock mechanism that tries to modulate consciousness. It is plausible that the "turn off" signal from the clock becomes hyperactive if it isn't satisfied and wreaks havoc on the rest of the brain, which is perfectly capable of staying online. If you could block or reset this hypothetical clock with a drug, you could stay awake forever.

    • The best treatment for sleepiness is SLEEPING!!! If you are engaging in an activity that is depriving you of sleep, STOP!!! There is a reason you get sleepy. Your body and mind needs to rest and recharge and sleepiness is the signal to do so.

      This is a Microsoft attitude. Like one Microsoft support guy once said: "Memory is like gasoline - you use it up, then your computer has to fill up the tank again by restarting." This is mostly the same reasoning which you use in your pro-sleep argument, but I think that when you need sleep after so short uptime like 18 hours or so, then it means you have some serious problems with your mind getting unstable very quickly. Remember, rebooting is not an answer. Real hackers fix their systems and don't have to reset them any more. Please, stop listening to that Microsoft anti-GPL FUD propaganda, for God's sake!

  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:23PM (#3361418) Journal
    so I can work more, so I can make more money, so I can do more coke, so I can work more, so I can make more money, so I can do more coke, so I can work more, so I can make more money, so I can do more coke,so I can work more, so I can make more money, so I can do more coke,so I can work more, so I can make more money, so I can do more coke.....

    ....I'm always chasing rainbows...

  • by levl289 ( 72277 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:24PM (#3361421) Homepage
    sleep 2 hours a day and feel great []

    I'm REALLY curious about trying that new sleep pattern, but oddly enough, I don't have the time to try it!

  • It's sad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lizard_King ( 149713 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:24PM (#3361428) Journal see how people underestimate the value of a good night's sleep to your health. I'd rather get a little less done during the day than deal with the whole laundry list of problems you are opening yourself up to when you are sleep deprived. Ever notice that people who don't get much sleep get sick a lot?

    Sleep is fundamental, period. There are no substitutions.
    • thats the entire purpose of this pill, it may not be fundamental anymore.

      If (big if there), it is doing the chemical equiv of sleep in your body, then it is effectively SLEEP.

      we'll just have to wait and see though
    • Well, there are also people in the population medically known as 'non-somniacs'. They require sleep as well, but only 2 or 3 hours every couple of days (though, of course, it varies from person to person). They're generally healthy people, they just have a massively reduced need for sleep. And when they sleep, they get up and feel refreshed (or as refreshed as anyone does when they first wake up. :)

      So, sleep isn't as fundamental as all that, I think. We really just don't understand it very well.

      That said, I LIKE sleeping. Humans have done a lot to make sure that sleeping is a pleasurable experience. I have a nice bed, nice sheets, nice blankets and fluffy pillows. I don't think I really want to give that up.
  • Is this wise? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FurryFeet ( 562847 ) <> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:27PM (#3361459)
    Sleepiness is your body's way of telling you it needs rest (basically, your brain needs rest). Using drugs to avoid it strikes me as foolish, like using analgesics to ignore the pain of a broken bone (as opposed to curing it).
    If you're sleepy, you need to sleep. If you're sleepy during the day, well, maybe you need to go to bed earlier.
    Plus, sleeping is one of the seven capital pleasures of being human. Going to bed when you're sleepy is actually pretty nice. Why give it up?
  • IIRC there was an experiment where a factory secretly "spiked" the water cooler with pure caffiene goodness. It produced a whopping 15% in productivity amongst the workers.

    I can see the drugs manufactuer now going through trial test.

    Hi we'd like to spike your water coolers with a new drug we've developed

    I think it's against the law to put anything other than water in those things

    This new drug is *Better* than caffiene. It should increase worker production up to 25%!

    That sounds great! Where do we sign up?

  • by SkyLeach ( 188871 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:29PM (#3361469) Homepage
    This will have horrible side effects. When will people learn that there is simply no substitute for a good night's sleep.

    Even natural stuff like gensing makes you feel like pure total SH*T when it wears off. Does funky things to yer pee to...

    My dad is a hard-line baptist, will not drink ANYTHING with alcohol (or even anything that looks like alcohol, i.e. IBC Root Beer and Welches sparkling grape juice) but drinks up to 5 pots of coffee a day.

    He gets kinds irate when I point out he's addicted, but...
    • Several people have already pointed out that "natural" doesn't mean "good for you". Perhaps a little more emphasis is in order.

      Back when I did more botany I discovered that plants produce chemicals that do two basic sorts of things:

      1)Produce more plant tissue by making food, growing, reproducing, or something of the sort

      2)Bug killer. Stuff that makes them poisonous or unpalatable to things that eat them at the macroscopic or microscopic level.

      Our favorite alkaloid - caffeine - is the second sort of chemical. We just happen to find the effects useful or pleasurable. Think about it, a bug that has its appetite suppressed and is jittery is going to eat less of you and eat that less efficiently.

      Other perfectly natural substances like oil of wormwood will eat holes in your brain because that is what makes it worth the metabolic cost to the plant to produce them. Dead bugs don't eat you if you are a plant.
      • Several people have already pointed out that "natural" doesn't mean "good for you".

        And even beyond your points, natural and good for you don't always mean in your best interest. One of the effects of receiving sufficient or excessive nutrition is that cells (and animals) tend to focus on procreating at the expense of their own lifespans. There is a fundamental biological process that kills cells faster when there is an abundance of nutrience. That means, even though malnurishment is "bad" for you, you may live longer on a carefully malnourished diet.

        This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint because in lean times you are best served by just surviving until better times when you can procreate or help your tribe/etc in other ways. Similarly, if you are stressed and not getting enough sleep, it may mean that you are going through some other kind of negative period in which the body's best bet is simply to extend life until better times roll around. In fact, recent studies suggest that those who sleep about 6-7 hours a night live longer than those who sleep 8-10.

        Go figure.

  • If you're THAT in need of staying awake. You can stay awake for days on that stuff. Sure you feel funny, you may vomit, and there is a chance of death, but the devil you know is better than the one you don't, right? Right?
  • Pro Plus []

    I know a few people who pop those things all the time. I can't see the point though.. they don't work for me. Red Bull all the way baby!
  • by stuce ( 81089 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:31PM (#3361488)
    Where does society get off saying what people can and can't do with their own bodies, given that they are aware of the risks (or at least aware that the risks are not known). These are not questions for the government or society to ask. These are questions for individuals to ask. "Is this a good choice for me and my body?"
    • What if your employer asks you to take it so you can be more productive? It's just for this big push to get the new product out by the deadline.

      What if at some future time when this drug is commonplace, you can't get a job in your field unless you agree to take the pill during the work week?

      What if the traditional work week disappears, replaced by 168 non-stop hours of wakeful, productive work?

      People are fond of responding to workplace privacy issues by pointing out that you're being paid for your time, and shouldn't be surfing or getting high or whatever, and so spyware and logging and drug tests are to be expected, and are an employer's right. How is this really any different? You don't have to work at a place that requires 168 hours of wakefulness, but if every employer in your town who has a position in your field is requiring this drug to be taken as a condition of employment, your kinda SOL.

      Is that enough ethical questions for ya?
    • As long as the current state of politics is allowed to continue, society IS going to decide what you do with your body. See the reaction of the Federal Government to the recent assisted suicide decision in Oregon or the 'virtual porn' decision. Give 'em a few more years and it will be illegal to pick your nose.

      That's the business politicians are in: Manufacture laws to look useful to an apathetic non-voting public. Then they can stay in office forever, and collect a healthy retirement. (Their salary when they were in office, every year until they die.)

      Wow, huh?

    • What if, before you're allowed to work for a company, they make you take a drug test, and then make you take drugs?

    • That would be great, if every person lived in isolation, and damage that a person does to one's self doesn't affect anyone else, but that's not the world we live in.

      I don't want some stupid fuck crashing hard after a week-long stimulant binge, falling asleep behind the wheel, and killing me and my family.
  • If you're looking for a beverage that contributes to general alertness without the jitters, nervousness, irritation and general ill health that accompanies regular coffee and tea, you should take a look at drinking yerba mate.
    • [] - Information and online order
    • Nativa []- manufacturer, online order and general information.
    • Ma-Tea [] - online ordering
    • Urban Jungle Mate [] - Online ordering and information.
    • Guayaki [] - Makers of a really good mint blend and chai spiced blend.
  • I was going to get all snotty and say I'd had one of those for years in Vivarin, but this seems to avoid all the nasty side effects (Jitters... irritability... nosebleeds...) The army study had a guy go 40 hours while staying alert on this stuff. I would always crash at around 30-35 at the height of my caffiene abuse, and after about 28 everything would start getting kind of surreal.

    They got to sell this stuff over the counter. I don't care if it makes you grow a damn tail! Gimmee!

  • in the (fictional) book, some children are genetically engineered to not need to sleep. They become superhuman, due to all the extra time they have to live life. But in real life, at what point do we say, enough is enough, we don't have to push ourselves this hard, and if we do, do we recalibrate what society expects of a person. Instead of giving your kids ritalin, give them Provigal.
    • They become superhuman, due to all the extra time they have to live life

      In the book the "sleepless" also don't age and are super smart to boot. As far as I know this drug doesn't do that... (the book, and it's sequel "Beggars and Choosers" are both really good fiction though)

  • I've used it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by dietz ( 553239 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:31PM (#3361497)
    I've used it. The longest I've ever stayed up is 40 hours or so. The only noticible side effect was a slight headache, but that could've been caused by any number of things (I get headaches a fair amount because I don't eat very well :/). Headaches are the most common reported side-effect [] by far.

    Even after 40 hours of being awake, I was still at nearly full mental capactity and able to work, etc. I did not feel the normal symptoms of sleep deprevation at all (I've stayed awake too long many times, and I'm familiar with how it makes you feel). I did not feel high, either. I was just... awake. I also didn't feel many physical problems (sore back, sore legs, etc) like I expected to, but YMMV, of course.

    Afterwards I slept about 9 hours and had a normal next day. By my calculations (figuring you normally sleep .5 hours for each hour of wakefulness), that means I gained 22 hours of wakefulness.

    You can find them on the internet if you look around enough. I am hesitant to mention sites, but there are two in the UK that sell 100mg pills. I have been unable to find the 200mg pills. They sell for about $145 + shipping ($15 or so) for 30 pills. That's $5.33 a pill. During my 40 hours awake, I took four, which works out to about $1 per hour.

    Many people I tell this to think it would be a good idea to take them during finals. I must warn you that it's probably not a good idea because there is a very good chance your sleep schedule will get completely fucked up. For example, you may stay up for 32 hours, decide it's time for sleep, and then sleep through a final. In other words, I would take it a few times beforehand to get used to it before you decide to jump in and potentially fuck up something important.
    • Re:I've used it. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by John Whitley ( 6067 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @06:32PM (#3361885) Homepage
      Many people I tell this to think it would be a good idea to take them during finals.

      I never grokked why this stay-up-for-hours mentality became such a powerful meme with college students. I *always* did better by getting a reasonable amount of sleep than by staying up to cram. Give yourself a few extra days lead time for in-depth studying. Get proper sleep sleep for the period just before and during exams. Watch your performance soar.
      • Re:I've used it. (Score:3, Informative)

        by 3ryon ( 415000 )
        I never grokked why this stay-up-for-hours mentality became such a powerful meme with college students. I *always* did better by getting a reasonable amount of sleep than by staying up to cram. Give yourself a few extra days lead time for in-depth studying. Get proper sleep sleep for the period just before and during exams. Watch your performance soar.

        There have been several important studies [] which show [] the importance [] of sleep on learning []. If you want to do better on tests, get enough sleep.

      • Re:I've used it. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tswinzig ( 210999 )
        I never grokked why this stay-up-for-hours mentality became such a powerful meme with college students. I *always* did better by getting a reasonable amount of sleep than by staying up to cram. Give yourself a few extra days lead time for in-depth studying.

        Maybe you retain knowledge differently than most? If it's a subject that bores me, I do what most people do, I wait until the night before the exam, and cram on the topics most likely to be tested. Perhaps pulling an all-nighter if the class is early the next day.

        Procastination is a common problem. For example, I waited until the last second to post this response.
    • I have too. (Score:3, Informative)

      by onjay ( 27282 )
      As someone who literally can fall asleep in two minutes and someone who has to pull 24-28 hour shifts requiring intense attention on a monthly basis (and still make it home), I did reach beyond the caffeine to the antinarcoleptic Provigil. I am not impressed, and will stick to coffee. YMMV, and FWIW I do keep one tab on me in case I absolutely absolutely had to stay awake into the 40-50 hour range for a road trip.

      My test drive opinions, negatives first:

      - headaches - Very distracting and not fixed with OTC remedies. I consider this a killer side effect. I saw this at both 100mg and 200mg.

      - da jitters - well, if you are going all Cornholio, it is going to cut into your productivity. I went from juggling 5 different things at once to dropping three and fucking up one of the remaining two. Maybe you can train yourself to keep it all together.

      - elevated blood pressure - This may have something to do with the headaches, but that feeling of impending aneurysm does not rock.

      - dehydration - I fly through the water, and all of my piss smells really rank and chemical-like. There is a productivity hit to this I suppose, and it seems like more than that imposed by chugging coffee.

      - rebound - the crash can be hard, and the duration of sleep is not really predictable. I tended to be irritable the day after, as well.

      positive: you are slightly more alert. 100mg and I can still sleep no problem. in my chair. . .not good. 200mg and you are are awake, but more side effect manifestation.

      DO NOT take 4 per shift like the guy up there. You are going to get prescription info from Slashdot?

      Don't be a dumbass: check out the info on ANY drug before you take it. Know the maximum dose. Know the interactions. Know the side effects. Know if it is excreted by the liver or kidney if you have problems with one of them. If you are going to take the doctor out of the loop, who is going to look out for your sorry ass?

  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:32PM (#3361503) Homepage
    What happens if you mixed a pot of coffee a few liters of mountain dew and a few Provigal pills? Would you become the Kwisatz Haderach ?
  • by YouAreFatMan ( 470882 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:36PM (#3361535) Homepage
    Hmm, now if I can get pills that remove my need for food, air, water, and sex, I will legally qualify as a robot.
  • Provigal extends your day, Viagra extends your performance, Now I can bonk all night long without falling asleep.
  • and that stuff claims that you can be up for days and then after 8 hours sleep be fine again.

    yet they always seem to gloss over the fact that rats that were kept on it, if awake long enough without sleep - ALWAYS died of blood infections.

    your body needs sleep.

    • of course, but how much?
      Everybody seems to be told 8 hours, but there have been several eperments with widely different sleep patterns that work well.
      Can our body lear to deal with 6 hours sleep? 4?
      I saw an interview with a guy who slept for 2 hours 3 times a day, evenly spaced. After the experiment he kept doing it, and had been doing so for years. He claimed it was great.
      there have been people through out history, from Marth Stewart, to Napleon, that only slept 4 hours a night, there entire lives.
      I could use the extra 4 hour, personally.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was on provigil for a few weeks instead of Methelphenadate HCL as treatment for narcolepsy. The Privigil had wierd side effects, It effected my tiniking and kept seeing things out of the corner of my eye but when looked nothing was their. I looked on a news group about provigil and other people had similar side effects. Personally I would rather have a stomach ache or nose bleed as side effects instead of a messed up head/eyes.
  • If you want to improve your powers of concentration, try Ginko Biloba []. I've been taking it for years, 60 mg every morning. I've noticed that my alertness levels are waaay up. I swear by it.

    Others [] might agree [].

    Note that ginko takes several weeks to build up in your system. Have fun!
  • I was prescribed the drug by my doctor because a different medication I was on made me very sleepy in the morning. I was so tired it was affecting my ability to get up and go to work. When I was on Provigal I did notice some minor improvements; more alertness in the morning being the #1 effect. The effect was very minor, almost indetectable. I didn't feel wired or anything like what you get from coffee, and there was no 'crash' later in the day.

    I stopped taking it because I thought it was causing me to feel very sick to my stomach, but of course that might have just been because I live in downtown NYC and this was in October.

    Generally this is a drug taken by people with serious sleeping problems, like people that fall asleep while driving all the time, etc. It is also thought to have some affect on depression, although the mechanism by which it accomplishes that is unknown. It might just be that getting a good start on the day helps depressed people!

    Since this drug is not a traditional stimulant, such as caffeine, or cocaine, it can affect people in very different ways. It's more like Prozac, which seemed to help some people a lot, while others were not helped at all.
  • ...that dealt with experiments in sleep deprivation? While it's not likely that Provigil (make note of the spelling...if the editors had read the article, they would've gotten it right) is the result of some clandestine project to create soldiers who never sleep, it would appear to open the door to certain possibilities...
  • I don't think it raises any interesting ethical
    questions at all. Could you suggest one?
  • Today cavewoman groky invented a device that will make work easier. She does not know exactly how it works, but she calls it the 'wheel'.Hey anything that makes my life easier but it raises several interesting ethical questions.

    Everything raises ethical questions, whether or not there interesting is for people to decide for themselves.

  • They'll take away my Dew when they pry it from my cold, dead, still-shaking hands.

    Besides, Mountain Dew reduces your sperm count [], so it keeps those bastard children away!
  • So what if you made a combo pill of provigil and viagra? ;)
  • It is a stimulant, although it was described to me by a doctor as not being one.

    Nevertheless, it is listed a class IV controlled substance, not as bad a Ritalin, but it is supposedly addictive.

    However, it does work as advertised.

  • by BlackGriffen ( 521856 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @06:55PM (#3362011)
    I would advise against using this if you want your memory to function. It's still probably just a theory, but I still remember hearing the most probable explanation for the brain's need to sleep that I've ever heard. Basically, the theory goes that when you enter deep sleep (i.e. non-REM sleep) your brain is literally wiring new connections: shifting memories to long term storage, connections are reinforced with more connections, etc. Your brain then goes in to REM sleep to test those connections, which is why REM sleep seems pretty random, but is often related to what's going on in your life.

    Some evidence for this: there is a specific type of autism (I can't remember the name) that baffled researchers until they started monitoring the EEG's at night. The researchers found out that the people with this type of autism were literally going in to seizures at night, at least they were experiencing the "electrical storm" in their brains that characterize a seizure. The researchers put the patients on anti-epilepsy medication, and it cleared up the symptoms right away. As the theory goes, the brain was using all of it's connections every night, preventing unused/unneeded connections from atrophying. So the patient was literally unable to forget anything, but also didn't have any more room for more connections.

    The moral of the story (considering that only a fool wouldn't realize that these pills won't be more abused than Viagra)? Don't use/abuse these pills if you want to be able to remember/learn anything long-term.

  • Fantastic! (Score:3, Funny)

    by brooks_talley ( 86840 ) <brooks@frn[ ]om ['k.c' in gap]> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @07:04PM (#3362049) Journal

    It's also still in testing so it'll probably make you grow horns or something

    So I can get more work done in a day, and grow horns? I want in on the clinical trial!


    Girlfriend sez: "In your case, it would just make the ones you already have visible."

  • by darkstar2a ( 546635 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @08:02PM (#3362378) Homepage
    Other than headaches (50%) and Nausea (13%), there are some issues here.

    Provigal affects Birth Control!

    Patients should be advised to notify their physician if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy. Patients should be cautioned regarding the potential increased risk of pregnancy when using steroidal contraceptives (including depot or implantable contraceptives) with PROVIGIL tablets and for one month after discontinuation of therapy
    I found a few references to possible birth defects as well, however not seriously sightable statements. Even the official website [] states that dosage during pregnancy should seriously consider the benefits to outweigh the risks.

    The strangest issue is that for a drug that has been around since the 70's there is very little data about interaction with other drugs and they just recommend you don't use alot of different types. Brings up something I remember hearing about a company in the past that found negative results and decided that they just "hadn't performed those tests". Who knows.

    Buyer Beware.

    I'm male though, so where do I order my emergency supply! :)


  • Lembas (Score:3, Funny)

    by wdr1 ( 31310 ) <{moc.xobop} {ta} {1rdw}> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @08:02PM (#3362380) Homepage Journal
    ...Provigil, whose name is shorthand for "promotes vigilance."


    Lembas would have been such a better name.

  • by mikosullivan ( 320993 ) <miko.idocs@com> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @08:11PM (#3362437)
    I've had a problem with getting sleep during the day for years. It has nothing to with how interested in my projects I am or how much sleep I get: I would always get sleepy right at 10 am and about 2pm. Lately I've taken to walking to work each morning (about five miles) and it's made a huge difference. It took me a week to realize that most of my sleepiness problems had disappeared. Now, a month later, there's no mistaking the difference: if I walk to work I feel alert. If I don't, I get sleepy. I usually hate exercise but I enjoy the walk.
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @10:09PM (#3362917)
    A lot of people seem to think this is a pretty cool idea for those long binges of coding/system administration/photoshopping/etc.. Sure it keeps you awake, but what about one of the really nasty downsides to sleep deprivation that I am sure most /. readers have experienced: hallucinations. I can honestly say that I have on numerous occasions been up all night playing EverQuest/Final Fantasy and then gone straight to work with little if any sleep (And help from my friends at Starbucks.); resulting in aural and visual hallucinations. About that time I pass out, but I have a friend who can go for 36+ hours without crashing, and experiences what he calls "LGMs," short for little green men. What happens when the geeks of the world can stay up for days at a time- do we go into hallucinatory overdrive? Or does Provigil deal with the LGMs? Anybody know?

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith