modafinil safety

Do you know the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius!”? Well, these words are now actual not only for sportsmen but for millions of students and business people, and regular workers who strive to achieve more in their education and work. The competition is huge. That’s why human body resources not always can cope with the tasks set.

To support the cognitive functions of the organism, improve the memory, get more focused, and more effective and productive in the professional or educational sphere, people use nootropics with modafinil being the brightest representative of the class. Check out this guide to modafinil for more details.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a smart drug. This drug was developed by French scientists in the late 1970s. And since that time it becomes more and more popular. Modafinil is known to the majority of people under the brand name Provigil. This medication is approved for the therapy of narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift-work sleep disorder. However, its efficiency for the treatment of ADHD, multiple sclerosis, depression, and some other diseases that cause drowsiness is also being studied.

What Is Modafinil

However, the wide use of the medication is mainly associated with off-label uses. People take modafinil to promote wakefulness, increase concentration, and stimulate their workability. The medication is produced in two dosage strengths – 100 mg and 200 mg.

What Makes Modafinil so Popular?

The reasons that make modafinil so popular among the people of all ages are similar:

  • High efficiency. Modafinil works for everyone without exceptions. Though the effect of the drug is rather mild, it fulfills its tasks for 100%, which cannot but cause interest and thus, popularity.
  • No threat of addiction. Unlike amphetamines and other psychostimulants, modafinil won’t make you an addict. There have been many studies on this matter, yet none could prove the danger of the medication in terms of addictiveness.
  • Minimum side effects. Modafinil is considered a very safe drug. It rarely induces any unwanted reactions and even if they do appear, their intensity is low.

Is Modafinil Safe?

Modafinil safety has been proven both in the clinical studies and in the post-marketing period. One of the studies covering more than 2700 patients revealed that modafinil became the reason for serious side effects in only 0.66% of the volunteers. The most common modafinil side effects are as listed below:

  • Headache (experienced by approximately 34% of users);
  • Nausea (reported by 11% of patients);
  • Upper respiratory tract infections (in about 10% of users).

Also, people taking modafinil may experience increased heart rate, a slight increase in blood pressure, dizziness, anxiety, trouble sleeping, nervousness, diarrhea, and stomachache. However, many of these reactions can be avoided if you drink a lot of water and keep your body hydrated.

What Type of Modafinil Is There?

On the shelves of the drugstores and on the webpages of numerous modafinil online vendors, you can find two types of this drug – brand and generic.

We’ve already mentioned that the brand medicine is known under the name Provigil. It is produced by the American pharmaceutical company Cephalon, which has already become a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

In case you prefer generics, you have a much bigger choice. Here are just a few of the most popular modafinil offered online: Modvigil, Modaheal, Modalert, Waklert, Artvigil, Vilafinil, etc. These drugs are produced in India. The world leaders in the manufacturing of modafinil generics are the Indian companies Sun Pharma and HAB Pharma. How to choose the best medicine for yourself? What’s the difference between these medications?

In fact, the difference lies primarily in their names and package design. The composition of the brand medication and its generic version is identical. Still, if you choose to order Waklert or Artvigil, which belong to a new generation of nootropics, there will be some dissimilarities. The reason is that these drugs contain only R-enantiomer of modafinil, whereas the others have R- and S-enantiomers of modafinil in their composition. Speaking about the differences in their effects, Waklert and Artvigil work longer and are effective in lower doses than other modafinil generics or Provigil.

How Does Modafinil Work?

How Does Modafinil Work?

Unfortunately, science still doesn’t know the exact mechanism of modafinil action. However, the information available claims that this medication acts as weak dopamine reuptake and GABA inhibitor. Such effects result in the increase in the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, orexin, and other neurotransmitters in the human brain, which take part in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, this medication can promote wakefulness and alertness in people taking it.

When Do Effects Appear and for How Long?

The speed of modafinil onset of action is different in different patients. The time needed for the drug to come into effect depends on the dose administered, the person’s tolerance to the preparation, age, and some other factors. But, on average, it takes about 30 – 60 minutes to feel the first effects of modafinil.

The drug can keep you awake, alert, and focused for 8 – 10 hours. Again, it depends on individual peculiarities. The duration of the effects of Waklert and Artvigil is about 10 – 14 hours.

Is Long-Term Use of Modafinil Harmful?

The researchers studied modafinil safety and toxicity within various timeframes. If taken in the recommended doses, modafinil is not likely to induce any harm to the user. The safety of modafinil in the long-term use perspective has been proven not only in adults but also in pediatric patients.

However, there are some grounds to consider modafinil can cause addiction; Especially in those who used to have problems with alcohol or substance abuse. Such cases are extremely rare and cannot be considered a general tendency. Modafinil abrupt discontinuation doesn’t cause any withdrawal symptoms.

What Does Modafinil Do to the Brain?

Stimulation of the human cognitive functions presupposes modafinil to influence some processes in the brain. So what does the drug do to it? There is no common thought about the exact way modafinil affects the brain. This medication influences the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and orexin in the brain thus regulating wakefulness.


Speaking about drug safety, some scientists consider it safe, whereas the others claim that modafinil can negatively influence the brain plasticity if it is used by the individuals aged under 30. Such a theory is supported by the knowledge that by this age, the brain continues its development. Therefore, the use of cognitive stimulants can induce harm to the person’s abilities for planning, multitasking, and organizing. Still, this hypothesis needs further studies to prove its truthfulness.

Can You Overdose on Modafinil?

If using more than 400 mg modafinil a day, a person gets under the risk of overdosing on the drug. Modafinil overdose manifests via the increase in the severity of side effects. The medical condition of the patients in such cases differs depending on the dose taken, tolerance to the drug, and their health condition.

Usually, modafinil overdose symptoms are the following:

  • Insomnia;
  • Nausea;
  • Headache;
  • Tachycardia;
  • QT prolongation;

All these health issues go away after about 15 hours. Some may be felt for as long as four days. In the case of modafinil overdose, hospitalization is not obligatory. It depends on the severity of the individual’s health condition.

Key Findings of Modafinil

Modafinil is a potent nootropic with a wakefulness-promoting effect. The effects of this drug are similar to those of amphetamines, yet its safety and toxicity profiles are much more favorable to the people needing such cognitive support. Modafinil rarely causes any adverse reactions. Those that do appear are usually mild-to-moderate in nature and don’t need any special treatment.

Despite the overall safety, modafinil can cause overdose with a number of debilitating side effects. Fortunately, the death risks associated with modafinil overdose are close to zero.