changes to online prescribing


The world of online prescribing services is always evolving to serve the best interests of patients. Sometimes, it means that certain products are reviewed and restricted from online sale in order to make sure that patient safety stays at the top of everybody’s priority list

Last summer, we saw one of the biggest restrictions to date, with online prescribing services having to remove drugs such as opiates and sedatives from their websites in a bid to reduce addiction across the country. However, this month also sees the end of another popular medication – Modafinil.

From the 29th of February, Doctor4U, as well as all other reputable online prescribing services will no longer be able to supply Modafinil to patients.


Why won’t I be able to buy modafinil online?

We understand that it can be disappointing and frustrating to learn that you’ll no longer be able to buy your treatment online, but the decision has come about due to fears over the drug being misused.

Modafinil is licenced for the treatment of Narcolepsy, which is categorised by excessive daytime sleepiness, falling asleep suddenly without warning at random times of the day, and in some cases, patients with narcolepsy also experience a temporary loss of muscle control. Narcolepsy can be an incredibly frustrating condition to live with, but the NHS estimates that it affects only 30,000 of the UK population.

Unfortunately, modafinil has gained a reputation as a “study drug”, with some believing that it can help them to focus more on revision or assignments. However, the drug isn’t licenced for this purpose, and fears arose that it was being misused and abused, with online prescribing services making it easy to access.

Because of this, the GPhC have enforced new guidelines that restrict modafinil from being sold via online services.


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Where can I get Modafinil from?

The good news is that modafinil isn’t restricted if you’re having a face-to-face consultation with your own GP, so those that need the drug to function in their day to day life should still be able to access it both on the NHS and through private healthcare as long as you see a GP for a physical consultation. However, it’s important to remember that the ultimate decision lies with the doctor as to whether modafinil is an appropriate treatment for you, so a prescription may not necessarily be guaranteed, even if you’ve been buying it online.

Are there any alternatives to modafinil?

As it stands at the moment, modafinil and any alternatives to the drug will only be available to you if you make an appointment to see your own GP. However, if you’re looking to combat daytime sleepiness, there are certain things you can be doing to encourage your body to abide by your natural sleep cycle and circadian rhythm.

Narcolepsy can sometimes be caused by other conditions that affect the quality of sleep that you experience during the night, so it might be worth talking to your GP about whether or not you’re getting enough good quality sleep to see you through the day. If the answer is “no”, then there are certain things that you can try.

If you struggle with waking during the night, or struggling to get to sleep at an appropriate time, you might wish to try Circadin – a form of the natural chemical melatonin, which helps your body to prepare for sleep at the right time. Melatonin levels rise naturally as the sun goes down, signalling to our brain that it’s time to prepare for rest, but some people with various sleep disorders don’t produce enough melatonin to help them with restful sleep, so Circadin is recommended in these cases.

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Some people believe that CBD can help to reduce daytime sleepiness by aiding a restful night’s sleep. However, it’s important to know that there isn’t yet any medical research to support this claim, but several social media forums can produce anecdotal evidence of some of the perceived benefits of CBD. Doctor4U does provide a range of CBD products, including edibles for those that want to try it, but research into the benefits of CBD is still in its infancy, so whilst it can’t be recommended as a treatment for any conditions or ailments, it might be useful to try due to the incredibly low risk of adverse effects.

Good sleep hygiene

Whilst medications and herbal remedies do have their place when it comes to sleep disorders, one of the best things that you can do for your body is to practice good sleep hygiene to boost your chances of quality sleep, and reduce the risk of daytime sleepiness.
Some of the things that you can try include:

  • Leaving your phone, tablet or other electronics out of the bedroom.

    Blue light that’s given off from screens can affect the body’s circadian rhythm, so scrolling through social media at night or watching something on TV can be enough to throw your body’s natural sleep cycle out of alignment. This can contribute to restlessness and difficulty falling asleep – something that you want to avoid if you’re already experiencing sleepiness during the day.

  • Having a set routine

    Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help your body to recognise regular sleeping patterns, and can encourage good quality sleep. A consistent routine is important for your sleep health, and it includes the days where you don’t have to get up early for work.

  • Regular exercise

    Exercise has an incredible range of benefits, and not just for those that are wanting to gain muscle or lose weight. Exercise helps your body to use energy, so you may be more likely to sleep well at night. In addition to helping you to sleep, exercise can promote general alertness, reducing your symptoms during the day.

  • Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake

    Caffeine is a stimulant, whilst alcohol is a depressant. These two substances can affect your natural sleep cycle and wreak havoc with those that already experience a sleep disorder. By eliminating or reducing your intake of both of these substances can help your body to fall back into a natural circadian rhythm.

Our advice:

If you’re concerned about not being able to get modafinil once online prescribing services stop offering it at the end of February, you should make an appointment with your own doctor to talk about your symptoms and whether it would be possible to obtain a prescription from them.

We understand that it can be difficult to schedule an appointment at times, but many GP surgeries now offer late or weekend appointments, and some even offer the option for a video consultation or phone call. It’s always worth asking about your options when booking an appointment with your GP surgery, as there may be a way to make it easier for you to speak to your doctor.