New pill to tackle jet lag
A world first to beat the long haul blues
A pill that helps travellers to stay awake by stimulating the central nervous system could tackle jet lag.
Jet lagis a common condition that usually occurs only whenflying long distances. As the body crosses different time zones, itsinternal biological clockbecomes disrupted. This is the mechanism that tells you when tosleepand when to wake up.
The drug, calledNuvigil, is licensed in some countries, such as the U.S., to help shift-workers keepalertthrough the night. It works by stimulating activity in thecentral nervous system– in other words, the brain and spinal cord.
Now the results of a new clinical trial suggest it could also be beneficial for passengers coping with the exhausting effects oflong-distance flights. Tests on more than 400 volunteers who flew from the U.S. to France showed those who took one pill shortly before boarding the plane were considerablyless drowsyandmore alerton arrival than those who did not.
The U.S. company that makes the drug is applying for permission to market it as theworld’s first jet lag pill. If successful, it could be on sale in the U.S. and Europe by the end of this year or early 2010.
However, some reportedside-effectsincluded headaches, anxiety, nausea and heart palpitations. Sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley, from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said he was concerned the drug would help to medicalise a normal reaction to time change.
‘Jet lag isnot an illness, it’s simply a consequence of long-distance travel,’ he said. ‘You get jet lag because it’s light or dark when, as far as your body is concerned, it should not be. Now it seems it is being treated as a reason to take medicine.
Video: How to Beat Jet Lag - Honest Travel Advice
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