A wakefulness-promoting agent (eugeroics) is a type of psychoactive drug which improves wakefulness and alertness, and reduces tiredness, drowsiness, and the need for sleep. They are used mainly in the treatment of sleeping disorders, excessive daytime sleepiness and narcolepsy, though they are also used merely to counteract fatigue and lethargy and to enhance motivation and productivity. Wakefullness-promoting agents appear to function primarily by increasing catecholaminergic (adrenergic, dopaminergic) and histaminergic activity in the brain. Unlike many other stimulants, eugeroics are relatively non-addictive and non-dependence-forming.
The prototype drug in this class is modafinil, and other drugs include adrafinil and armodafinil. The primary difference between these drugs and amphetamine-like stimulants is that wakefulness-promoting agents trigger activation of neurons in the hypothalamus-based wakefulness circuits, as opposed to producing diffuse neuronal activation.
- Adrafinil (Olmifon)
- Armodafinil (Nuvigil)
- CRL-40,941 (never marketed)
- Modafinil (Provigil, Alertec)