[CQ-Contest] Contesting Supplements

Rich K2WR k2wr at njdxa.org
Fri May 22 07:47:57 PDT 2009

To underscore what KQ2M said, see the following quote from Wikipedia (the same information can be had from multiple sources you can find via Google.  Modafinil is the generic name for Provigil.)

In the United States, modafinil is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea and shift work sleep disorder. In some countries, it is also approved for idiopathic hypersomnia (all forms of excessive daytime sleepiness where causes can't be established).

Modafinil is widely used off-label to suppress the need for sleep. It is also used off-label in combating general fatigue unrelated to lack of sleep such as in treating ADHD and as an adjunct to antidepressants (particularly in individuals with significant residual fatigue).

Further comment: You might think taking Provigil for contesting is the same as for "shift work sleep disorder".  It isn't.  Shift workers are trying to get a full course of sleep, just not in the middle of the night.  Ham radio contest use would come under "suppressing the need for sleep".  It's legal for doctors to prescribe FDA - approved medications for purposes they weren't tested and approved for.  That's what "off-label use" means.  But it seems foolish to me to screw around this way for the purpose of winning a radio contest.

Recent New Yorker article about off-label uses of Provigil and Adderall:


Recent local TV news story on the same subject:


Bottom line:  Taking medication to suppress the need for sleep is a performance-enhancing use, not a therapeutic use.  Screw around with this at your peril.


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