The drug was primarily developed in France by the emeritus experimental medicine professor and neurophysiologist Michel Jouvet at Lafon Laboratories. The drug was first developed in the late 1970s during the invention of a series of benzhydryl sulfinyl compounds. This includes adrafinil and was offered as an experimental treatment option for narcolepsy back in 1986. Modafinil came into being since it was the primary metabolite of the drug mentioned above. It lacked the â€“OH group on the last amide which gives it a similar effect to the parent drug but has greater use. It has been used in France since 1994 under the brand name Modiodal.
On the other hand, it has been in use in the US since 1998 under the brand name Provigil. The US FDA approved the drug for narcolepsy treatment during this year and later added in 2003 to treat obstructive sleep apnea and shift work-related sleep disorder. This was added even though studies have shown that amphetamines and caffeine have proven to be more effective in promoting narcolepsy based on the Stanford Sleepiness Test Score. It is marketed by Cephalon Inc in the country as they originally leased the rights from Lafon before buying the company back in 2001.
Cepahlon started marketing the R-enantiomer arModafinil form of Modafinil in the US in 2007. Generic versions of the drug became available in 2012 due to protracted patent litigation.