Brave New World: Is Your Success Tied to a Drug?

Leslie Carol Botha: Well, this drug will mess up every circadian rhythm in your body. A drug to be successful? Really? What are the long term effects? How many people’s hearts will give out? And how many women will need a hysterectomy? And will this affect our aging process? At what cost success?

Provigil: The Secret to Success?

 World News with Diane Sawyer

By DAN HARRIS (@danbharris) , LANA ZAK (@LanaZak) and DR. MARK ABDELMALEK (@DrMarkABC)
July 17, 2012

They are all around us, a secret society of the successful. They say what gives them an advantage, though, isn’t just purposefulness or perseverance but a little secret weapon, a pill called Provigil.

There is the lobbyist, who wakes up at 5 a.m. to complete two full workouts before heading to work.

“I could not do this without Provigil. You know, it just wouldn’t be the same,” she told ABC News, asking that ABC News not identify her. “It’s amazing. … I just don’t get … why more people don’t know about it.”

John Withers, a computer programmer, can write code for 12 hours at a time.

“It helps you focus up for exceptionally long periods of time,” he said.

And then there is the brain researcher who can find connections no one else is seeing. She asked that we not name her.

“It’s just a clear day,” she said. “The fog isn’t there.”

Provigil is approved only for narcolepsy, sleep apnea or for people who work irregular hours, but hidden among those who take it are pockets of healthy Americans taking it just to boost energy and enhance focus. It excites the mind so much that Provigil has been nicknamed “Viagra for the brain.”

Prescription sales for this class of drugs has increased by 73 percent in four years, from $832,687,000 in 2007 to $1,440,160,000 in 2011, according to IMS Health.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.