Mechanistically, the researchers found "using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging that modafinil bound to and occupied a protein in the brain called the dopamine transporter," he explained. "This protein is the same one that cocaine binds to."
"Furthermore, they found that modafinil increased dopamine neurotransmission," Murnane said. "This is the same mechanism thought to mediate the euphoric and addictive properties of cocaine."
He pointed out that the findings "closely paralleled those of a study by Volkow and colleagues in human subjects that was published in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association."
"Collectively, these studies show that modafinil has similar behavioral and pharmacological effects to stimulant-type drugs of abuse, such as cocaine," he wrote.