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3 S’pore Men Hospitalised After Taking Narcolepsy Drugs, Allegedly Wanted To Improve Alertness

3 Hospitalised After Taking Narcolepsy Drugs To Improve Alertness

Three men in Singapore are now in hospital after developing severe side effects from taking narcolepsy drugs in an attempt to improve alertness.

According to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), there have been reports of people using modafinil and armodafinil as “cognitive enhancers”.

Now, the authority is warning people against taking these drugs without medical supervision.

It added that modafinil and armodafinil are not registered in Singapore, and doctors need to apply to bring them in.

Man develops life-threatening skin condition after taking modafinil

On Monday (6 Nov), the HSA shared that three men, all in their 30s, are in hospital after taking these drugs.

The first man had taken modafinil and was subsequently hospitalised after developing Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS).

Source: Wikimedia Commons

SJS is a life-threatening skin condition that involves blistering and severe peeling of the skin.

He had obtained the drug from his friend, said the HSA.

Apparently, he took it once to improve his alertness.

He then started to feel unwell over the following days and experienced the following symptoms:fevermultiple mouth ulcersconjunctivitis (red eyes)severe rash which started on the neck before spreading to other parts of the body.

2 men develop severe reactions to armodafinil

The second man got armodafinil from a friend to stay awake during the day.

Source: HSA

After a few doses, he developed multiple mouth ulcers and an inflammation of the mouth.

Additionally, he experienced pain while swallowing and was unable to eat or talk.

He also developed conjunctivitis and had to go to the hospital afterwards.

The third man had been taking armodafinil for about a month to stay alert at work prior to his hospitalisation.

He reportedly obtained it from a street peddler in Geylang.

Later, he also developed SJS and suffered similar reactions as the first man.

Modafinil & armodafinil are unregistered medicines in Singapore

Modafinil and armodafinil are potent medicines that are not registered in Singapore, the HSA noted.

However, they are available in some countries as prescription medicines.

Should it be medically necessary, such as in the case of narcolepsy, doctors may apply to the HSA to bring in these drugs for their patients.

Narcolepsy is a condition where patients find it hard to stay awake for long periods of time.narcolepsy drugs alertnessnarcolepsy drugs alertness

Source: Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash, for illustration purposes only

Those using modafinil and armodafinil also need to be under strict medical supervision.

HSA warns against self-medicating with these drugs

The HSA noted that there have been reports of people using these drugs as “cognitive enhancers” to improve memory and focus.

However, modafinil and armodafinil can cause cause serious side effects such as heart problems, hypertension, skin reactions including SJS, and psychiatric conditions including anxiety, hallucinations or mania.

As such, the authority is warning against self-medicating with these drugs without proper medical supervision.

It also urged the public to not share potent prescription medication with family or friends, even if they have similar medical conditions.

The HSA explained that this is because these medicines may not be suitable or safe for them, and their conditions may require a doctor’s attention.

“You may be harming them instead of helping them,” it stated.

Also read: Cough Syrup Medicines That Cause Kidney Injury In Children Not Distributed In S’pore: HSA

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from HSA and Wikimedia Commons.

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