Watch CBS News

The Real-Life 'Limitless'? Narcolepsy Drug Used To Provide Extra Energy Boost

STUDIO CITY (CBS2) — A narcolepsy drug, dubbed the "Viagra for the brain", is being used by some people to increase their brain function.

Although the primary function of FDA-approved Provigil is to treat sleeping disorders, some people take the pill because they're simply tired and want more energy.

Dave Asprey, the VP of a billion dollar internet security firm and the CEO of The Bulletproof Executive, said he was given a prescription for the pill nine years ago and it's changed his life.

"This is the sort of thing that lets you perform at levels you didn't know you were capable of," he said. "You have a laser-like focus you didn't have before."

Sleep specialist Dr. Ron Popper said users of the medication need to be careful because it hasn't been approved by the FDA for brain boosting or fatigue alone.

"Until the studies are done to show the long-term effectiveness and long-term potential side effects, it should be used according to the FDA guidelines," he said.

CBS2's Lisa Sigell said the side effects of Provigil include headaches, back pain, anxiety, and an extremely rare life-threatening rash.

Asprey said he hasn't experienced any side effects from the medication.

He thinks people will benefit from "smart drugs".

"I'm really convinced that when people take it for a while, they get used to operating at a higher level performance. Even without the drug, they maintain the ability to focus," Asprey said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.