Generic modafinil and the brand name Provigil can be purchased online from different pharmacies, including RiteAID, ModafinilXL, CVS Pharmacy, and Duane Reade.

  • In terms of the 30-day supply cost of modafinil, ModafinilXL is the best nootropic vendor with a pricing of $2.30 per 200mg modafinil tablet while Duane Reade by Walgreens is the least competitive ($11.69 per tablet).
  • The 30-day supply cost of 200mg brand-name modafinil (Provigil) ranges from $1,161.35 at CVS Pharmacy and $1,223.21 at Duane Reade to $1,224.46 at Capsule, making it up to 17.74 times more expensive compared to generics.
  • Modafinil (Provigil) is a prescription drug (RX) that isn’t available to order over the counter (OTC) operating in the US, UK, Europe, and Canada. However, Indian-based online pharmacies allow their clients to buy modafinil online without the need for a prescription due to less stringent regulations.
  • Payment methods like PayPal, credit cards, and Bitcoin (BTC), can be used to get modafinil from online pharmacies.
  • The shipping time for online orders starts from 1 day at CVS Pharmacy.
  • Modafinil has an average user rating of 7.2 out of 10 for both on-label (narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder) and off-label indications (cognitive enhancement, ADHD, depression).

Research shows that modafinil, a Schedule IV prescription drug, has several benefits, including promoting wakefulness and enhancing executive functions, making it a pro-cognitive (nootropic) drug. The main side effects of modafinil, with an occurrence rate higher than 10%, are headache, nausea, and nervousness. Modafinil overdose is rare when following the correct dosage guidelines. There are no absolute contraindications to the use of modafinil. Consult with a doctor or pharmacist prior to buying modafinil to learn about modafinil food and drug interactions.

Where To Buy Modafinil Online?

Consider buying generic modafinil and brand-name Provigil tablets from the following online pharmacies:

Pharmacy Name:ModafinilXLRite AIDCVS PharmacyDuane Reade
Drug Name:Generic modafinilGeneric modafinilGeneric modafinilGeneric modafinil
Tablet Strength:200mg200mg200mg200mg
Price Per Tablet:$2.30$7.75$9.32$11.69
Add To Cart:Buy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy Now
Payment Methods:Debit/Credit Cards & Bitcoin (BTC)Debit/Credit Card & CashDebit/Credit Card & CashDebit/Credit Card & Cash
Shipment:US Domestic (3-4 days & Overnight)Standard (3-5 days)Standard (1-4 days)Standard (1-2 days)
Prescription:Over The Counter (OTC)RequiredRequiredRequired

ModafinilXL is an Indian-based online nootropic pharmacy that sells generic modafinil brands that are available in 100mg and 200mg tablet strength. Modafinil vendors Rite AID, CVS Pharmacy, and Duane Reade by Walgreens are also legal online pharmacies selling prescription medications, including generic and brand-name modafinil in tablet strengths of 100mg and 200mg. When asking “Where to get modafinil?”, ModafinilXL is one of the best vendors to buy modafinil online because of competitive pricing and wide nootropic generics selection.

=> Buy Generic Modafinil at Low Prices <=

How to Buy Modafinil Without Prescription (RX) From a Pharmacy?

Modafinil is a controlled substance, meaning buying it from a pharmacy without a prescription isn’t allowed. A prescription from a licensed healthcare professional is needed to buy modafinil in the United States of America (US) as the drug is a Schedule IV controlled substance (low potential for abuse). In Canada, a prescription is needed to buy modafinil as it’s classified as a Schedule F prescription drug. In addition to the US and Canada, modafinil is classified as a prescription-only drug in the UK (United Kingdom). Despite modafinil being a controlled substance in the US, Canada, and the UK, it’s still widely available for purchase over the counter through online pharmacies operating in India, Mexico, Peru, Columbia, and Ecuador.

Where To Get Modafinil Over The Counter (OTC)?

Modafinil isn’t available to order over the counter in physical pharmacies operating in the US, UK, Europe, and Canada. However, individuals from the US, Canada, and the UK can order modafinil over the counter from pharmacies operating in India, Mexico, Peru, Columbia, and Ecuador.

For example, an Indian-based online nootropic drugstore ModafinilXL allows its customers in the USA, UK, Europe, New Zealand, and Canada to get modafinil medication OTC. ModafinilXL sources high-quality modafinil nootropic tablets directly from reputable India-based generic drug manufacturers (HAB Pharmaceuticals & Research Ltd. and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd) where prescription drug dispensing regulation isn’t tightly enforced. The cost of generic 200mg modafinil manufactured by Indian pharmaceutical companies can be 2-3 cheaper compared to US-based pharmacy prices, making generic modafinil highly sought-after for OTC purchases.

How Much Does 200mg Modafinil Cost?

200mg generic modafinil cost per 30-day supply can be found in the table below.  

Pharmacy Name:   Modafinil XLRite AID CVS Pharmacy Duane Reade
Drug Name:Generic ModafinilGeneric ModafinilGeneric ModafinilGeneric Modafinil
Tablet Strength:200mg200mg200mg200mg
Price Per Pill:$2.30$7.75$9.32$11.69

For a 30-day supply, the cost per tablet of 200 mg generic modafinil at ModafinilXL drugstore is 80.32% ($281.63) cheaper compared to Duane Reade by Walgreens, 75.33% ($210.69) cheaper vs. CVS Pharmacy, and 70.31% ($163.37) cheaper vs. Rite AID.

As a comparison, the 30-day supply of 200mg brand-name modafinil (Provigil) costs $1,224.46 at Capsule, $1,223.21 at Duane Reade by Walgreens, $1,161.35 at CVS Pharmacy, and $1,200.47 at Rite AID. Duane Reade by Walgreens has a reward and loyalty program named my Walgreens, allowing customers to access discounted pricing for modafinil, but even considering discounts and cash rewards, Modafinil XL pricing is the lowest.

Are There Modafinil Price Discounts, Coupons, and Free Samples When Purchasing in Bulk?

200mg generic modafinil price comparison of 30-day supply vs. 60-day supply can be found in the table below. The price difference per tablet is calculated by taking the 30-day (and 60-day) supply cost and dividing it by the supply size (either 30 or 60).

 TypeFormDose30-Day Supply Cost60-Day Supply CostPrice Difference Per Tablet
Rite AIDGeneric modafinilTablet200mg$232.37$462.74-0.43%
CVS PharmacyGeneric modafinilTablet200mg$279.68$499.30-10.74%
Duane ReadeGeneric modafinilTablet200mg$350.63$734.40+4.73%
Modafinil XLGeneric modafinilTablet200mg$69.00$99.00-13.91%

ModafinilXL offers the highest price discount per 200mg pill (-13.91%) when buying a 50-day supply vs a 30-day supply of generic modafinil. Using the coupon code “ENJOY10OFF” allows ModafinilXL customers to get an additional 10% off the nootropics purchase price. ModafinilXL also offers 20 free samples with every order (applicable to ModaXL, Modvigil, Modafresh, Modaheal, Modalert, Vilafinil, ArmodaXL, Waklert, and Artvigil). In addition, Modafinil XL offers its customers an opportunity to get a 20% discount when paying in Bitcoins (BTC).

How To Pay For Modafinil Purchases?

To pay for online modafinil purchases, customers can choose between the following secure payment methods: credit cards (Visa, American Express, MasterCard), PayPal, e-Check, Zelle, and Bitcoin. Local pharmacies in the US, UK, Canada, India, and Europe accept cash payments. Before ordering modafinil, customers are encouraged to check with their insurance providers to determine if modafinil is covered or not. If eligible, insurance coverage can provide financial assistance for modafinil purchases.

Order Modafinil | Shipping, Canceling, Packaging, Refunds, Returns, and Reshipping

ModafinilXL dispatches orders within 2 hours after receiving the payment. The package tracking number is sent to customers’ email within 24 to 72 after order confirmation. The are three shipping options available:

  • Registered Airmail: modafinil shipping takes 10 to 18 business days and costs $29 (free for orders over $80),
  • Express Mail Service: modafinil shipping time is 7 to 12 business days and costs $39 (free for orders over $180),
  • USPS Priority Mail: modafinil shipping time is 3 to 4 days.

Modafinil XL offers free cancellations within 2 hours of order placement. Cancellations are not possible once an order has been completed and shipped. All modafinil orders are discreetly dispatched in plain packaging or padded envelopes.

ModafinilXL has a 30-day refund and returns policy. To request a refund, contact ModafinilXL support via the chat box on their website, use the contact form accessible on their website, send an email to “”, or send mail to this address: “825 Dawson Dr, Qwintry Suite 12-120423 Newark, DE 19712-0825 USA”.

Refunds are made within 14 business days. Here is an overview of the refund process:

  • Refunds can be requested in the “support” section of the website.
  • A refund request must include your order number and order email.
  • Refunds are processed back to the original payment method.
  • In case of non-delivery, contact the customer service team for a refund or re-shipping options.

The dynamic refund and return policy of ModafinilXL nootropic vendor has earned the company 4.5/5.0 review, based on 662 customer reviews, on

What Are The Reviews For Modafinil?

Based on 90 user reviews on, modafinil has a rating of 3.9 out of 5 on all conditions. Based on 455 reviews on, modafinil has an average rating of 7.2 out of 10. For on-label indications, users report the highest satisfaction for shift work sleep disorder treatment with a rating of 8.3 out of 10 based on 24 reviews. For on-label modafinil indications, users report the lowest satisfaction for narcolepsy treatment with a rating of 6.5 out of 10 based on 149 reviews. Users’ experiences and opinions of modafinil can also be found in numerous Reddit reviews.

What Are The Reviews for Modafinil Pharmacies?

To determine the best modafinil nootropic vendor, we reviewed and compared online pharmacies based on modafinil price, delivery speed, payment methods availability, generic brands availability, prescription requirements, insurance acceptance, and pharmacists’ availability.

  • In terms of the cost of modafinil review, one vendor that offers multiple pricing options is A 30-day, 50-day, and 100-day supply of 200mg generic modafinil costs $69, $79, and $109, respectively. The cost per 200mg generic modafinil tablet is $2.30, $1.58, and $1.09 when ordering 30-day, 50-day, and 100-day supplies, respectively.
  • When reviewing and comparing shipping and delivery speed, Duane Reade by Walgreens is known for efficient shipping, taking 1-2 business days, while CVS Pharmacy typically delivers in 1-4 business days. ModafinilXL is the only nootropic vendor with overnight delivery for customers located near their warehouse.
  • When reviewing and comparing the availability of modafinil generic brands, ModafinilXL provides a selection of FDA-approved options. Customers have the choice of various generic modafinil brands, including Modalert, Modaheal, Modvigil, Modafinil MD (sublingual), Modavinil, and Vilafinil.
  • ModafinilXL is one of the vendors that allows customers to purchase modafinil without a prescription (RX).
  • When reviewing and comparing the secure payment methods, ModafinilXL offers versatile options for customers, including BTC payments, and they provide a money-back guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Rite AID, CVS Pharmacy, and Duane Reade pharmacies accept insurance while ModafinilXL is the only nootropic e-health platform not accepting insurance.
  • Out of 5 spontaneous contact attempts over the phone and via email, CVS Pharmacy pharmacists proved to be the most responsive during our review in July 2023.

This image lists the best modafinil vendors according to modafinil cost, delivery speed, payment methods availability, generic brands availability, prescription requirements, insurance offerings, and pharmacist responsiveness.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil (Provigil) or Modafinilum in Latin is a non-amphetamine central nervous system stimulant (CNS), a eugeroic, and a selective racemic wakefulness-promoting agent for oral administration. The main modafinil synonyms are Modalert, Modiodal, Modavigil, and Modafinilum, according to the National Library of Medicine. Modafinil’s chemical name is 2-[(diphenylmethyl) sulfinyl] acetamide, its molecular formula is C15H15NO2S, its CAS number 68693-11-8, and its molecular weight is 273.35g/mol, according to the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

The main chemicals used in the synthesis of modafinil molecule are benzhydryl chloride, thiourea, hydrazine hydrate, and diethylamine according to a 2004 patent titled “Process for the synthesis of modafinil” by inventors Mirco Fornaroli, Francesco Velardi, Corrado Colli, and Roberto Baima. The modafinil molecule engages in precise interactions with specific receptors (dopamine, norepinephrine, and glutamate) located within the brain, forming a direct connection to the mechanism of action underlying its effects.

This diagram shows the modafinil molecule’s chemical structure.

What Is Modafinil and Its Mechanism of Action?

Due to modafinil’s complex pharmacology, the exact mechanism of action (MOA) is not yet fully understood. In response to the question “How does modafinil work?” the in vitro studies show that modafinil inhibits the reuptake of dopamine by binding competitively to the dopamine transporter (DAT) on cell membranes, according to a study by Nora D. Volkow et al. titled “Effects of Modafinil on Dopamine and Dopamine Transporters in the Male Human Brain: Clinical Implications.” Modafinil activates glutamatergic circuits while inhibiting GABA, and this interaction with the dopamine transporter and the subsequent increase in dopaminergic activity is critical for its wake-promoting effects.

Modafinil has minimal affinity for the serotonin (5HT) and norepinephrine (NE) transporters. It can indirectly, through the elevation of extracellular dopamine levels, increase norepinephrine and serotonin concentrations in the prefrontal cortex and hypothalamus. Modafinil can enhance signaling in the hypothalamic orexin and histamine neurotransmitter pathways. According to Tomoko Ishizuka et al., 2010 study titled “Modafinil activates the histaminergic system through the orexinergic neurons.”, 150 mg/kg modafinil injection caused a significant increase in histamine release.

Compared to traditional psychostimulants, such as amphetamines, modafinil exhibits a unique interaction with the dopamine transporter at the molecular level, which leads to a lower propensity of inducing significant euphoric effects. According to a 2003 research by P. Robertson Jr. and E T. Hellriegel titled “Clinical Pharmacokinetic Profile of Modafinil”, modafinil targets specific neuronal pathways in the brain’s sleep/wake centers, promoting wakefulness without causing the same level of peripheral stimulation seen with other CNS stimulants.

Modafinil and its R-enantiomer (armodafinil) influence the body’s dopamine system, contributing to regulating sleep-wake cycles. This regulation effectively reduces excessive sleepiness (hypersomnolence) associated with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. These conditions and their treatment with modafinil are medically recognized and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What Are Modafinil FDA-Approved Indications?

FDA-approved indications refer to the specific medical conditions or uses for which a drug has been officially approved by the FDA. Modafinil FDA-Approved indications are listed in the image below and discussed in detail in the following listicle.

  • Narcolepsy: a chronic neurological sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable episodes of sleep. According to a 2020 research paper by Karen Spruyt titled “Narcolepsy Presentation in Diverse Populations: an Update”, narcolepsy occurs in 0.87%-1.21% of the world population. Modafinil was approved by the FDA as the first-line treatment of narcolepsy in December 1998. Modafinil effectively treats narcolepsy by promoting wakefulness, reducing the frequency and severity of daytime sleep attacks, and alleviating symptoms such as cataplexy and diurnal sleepiness. In a 2014 case report by Nilce Sanny Costa da Silva Behrens et al. published in the Journal of Sleep Science and accessible via the National Library of Medicine, it was found that modafinil administration resulted in symptom control for 66% of the patients with narcolepsy.
  • Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD): a sleep disorder that occurs when individuals work non-traditional hours, resulting in the disruption of the natural sleep-wake cycle. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 14.8% of full-time wage and salary employees are working non-traditional hours (evening shifts, night shifts, early morning shifts, rotating shifts). A 2021 study by Renata Silva Brito et al. first published in Sleep Journal found that insomnia in shift workers ranged from 12.8% to 76.4%. Modafinil was approved by the FDA for the treatment of shift work sleep disorder in October 2003. A 2007 research by Milton K. Erman M.D. et al. first published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that the 300 mg/day dose of modafinil improved the results of Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ) by 2.3 points from baseline vs. 1.6 for placebo at 95% confidence interval level.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): a sleep disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep due to episodes of complete or partial collapse of the airway. Reduced (hypopneas) and complete cessation breathing (apneas) result in nonrestorative sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness and fatigue. 11 epidemiological studies published between 1993 and 2013 concluded that the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was a mean of 22% in men and 17% in women. The FDA approved modafinil for treating obstructive sleep apnea in June 2004. Modafinil is an adjunct treatment for OAS in patients who are already using nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy as their primary treatment. A 2016 study by Julia L Chapman et al. titled “Modafinil/armodafinil in obstructive sleep apnoea: a systematic review and meta-analysis” found that both modafinil and armodafinil improved the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) score by 2.2 points at 95% confidence interval level.

On top of its FDA-approved indications, modafinil is used off-label, which means it’s prescribed for purposes other than its approved indications.

What Are Modafinil Off-Label Indications?

Modafinil’s off-label use is defined as the absence of an on-label diagnosis. The off-label indications of modafinil are listed in the image below and discussed in detail in the following listicle.

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. A 2008 study by Joseph Biederman and Steven R. Pliszka published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that modafinil off-label use for the treatment of ADHD improved the patient’s mean total score of the ADHD-Rating Scale-IV School Versions (modafinil: -15.7 vs. placebo: -7.1). The 2000 study by F. B . Taylor and J. Russo titled “Efficacy of modafinil compared to dextroamphetamine for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults” found that the scores on the DSM-IV ADHD Checklist (p < 0.001) were significantly improved over the placebo condition following treatment with both active medications. Several other scientific research papers have concluded that modafinil may enhance attention, focus, and cognitive performance in individuals with ADHD.
  • Depression is a mood disorder. A 2013 review by Alexander J. Goss et al. first published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry concluded that the off-label use of novel stimulant-like agent modafinil improved depression scores and remission rates in both bipolar depression and major depressive disorder patients. The data for this study is based on 910 patients. Several other scientific research papers indicate that modafinil alleviates symptoms such as fatigue and low energy in patients with depression. Thus, modafinil may be prescribed off-label as an adjunctive therapy for depression.
  • Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF) is a persistent feeling of exhaustion among people with cancer. A 2009 study by Maryann R. Cooper et al. titled “Efficacy and safety of modafinil in the treatment of cancer-related fatigue” found that modafinil off-label use may be justified to address cancer-related fatigue but further research is required. Gary R. Morrow, Ph.D., who is associate director for community research at the University of Rochester Cancer Center, found that modafinil (200mg/day) significantly reduced fatigue in cancer patients relative to the placebo group.
  • Multiple Sclerosis-Related (MSR) Fatigue is a debilitating feeling of fatigue among individuals with MS. A 2000 study by Brañas P, Jordan et al. titled “Treatments for fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a rapid and systematic review” found that “Up to 92% of people with multiple sclerosis are affected by fatigue”. A 2009 research paper by Edward T. Littleton et al. titled “Modafinil for multiple sclerosis fatigue: does it work?” concluded that modafinil off-label use may be beneficial among Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients if MS fatigue is associated with sleepiness.
  • Cocaine dependence refers to a compulsive pattern of cocaine use. A 2015 randomized controlled trial by Kyle M. Kampman et al. first published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence concluded that the off-label use of modafinil for cocaine dependence resulted in lower craving intensity of cocaine (odds ratio 2.04 vs. placebo) and a higher abstinent propensity (odds ratio 2.54 vs. placebo) during the last 3 weeks of the trial.
  • Cognitive enhancement refers to improving cognitive functions and enhancing mental abilities. A 2013 study with 99 citations by Maddalena Mereu et al. titled “The neurobiology of modafinil as an enhancer of cognitive performance and a potential treatment for substance use disorders” found that modafinil neurochemical effects on cognitive performance processes (attention, learning, and memory) are beneficial.

The off-label prescription of modafinil isn’t approved by the FDA. Consult with your healthcare professional for detailed dosage and usage information.

How To Take Modafinil Safely? Dosage, Usage, and Overdose

To take modafinil safely, adhere to the FDA’s dosage guidelines specific to each health condition as outlined as follows:

  • Narcolepsy: 200mg/day, administered orally in the morning.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: 200mg/day, taken orally in the morning.
  • Shift work sleep disorder: 200mg/day, administered orally 1 hour prior to the work shift.

Modafinil is administered orally with or without food. Any other administration method, including “snorting modafinil”, isn’t recommended. If a dose of modafinil is missed, skip the missed dose and avoid taking double doses.

The above recommended oral dosage of modafinil is applicable for adults and teenagers who are at least 17 years old. The dosage recommendation of modafinil for individuals under the age of 17 is determined by the healthcare professional. According to a Rohan Oliver Kandasamy et al. research titled “Hyponatremia and cerebral edema due to a modafinil overdose”, the regular therapeutic doses of modafinil range between 100 and 400 mg per day with 400 mg/day being the maximal daily dose.

Discontinuing modafinil use may result in experiencing withdrawal symptoms (difficulty concentrating, fatigue, sleepiness). Take modafinil according to your doctor’s instructions and store it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Even if exceeding the daily recommended dose of modafinil by 5-8 times (1000 – 1600 mg/day), the probability of unexpected or life-threatening effects is very low. In addition, there is no evidence of modafinil tolerance developing during 40 weeks of treatment, according to a 2000 research paper by Merrill M. Mitler et al. first published in Sleep Medicine Journal. In case of a modafinil overdose, call the local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or 911.

Modafinil usually takes effect 30-60 minutes after indigestion. The duration of modafinil’s alertness-enhancing effect is approximately 11.5 hours, according to 2012 research by Dongsoo Kim titled “Practical Use and Risk of Modafinil, a Novel Waking Drug.” When asking “How long does modafinil stay in your system?”, Philmore Robertson Jr. and Edward T. Hellriegel say in their research paper titled “Clinical pharmacokinetic profile of modafinil” that the “elimination half-life of modafinil is approximately 12-15 hours” and the “pharmacokinetic steady state is achieved within 2-4 days.” Modafinil’s pharmacokinetic properties contribute to its ability to modulate neurotransmitter systems, which play vital roles in promoting positive effects, including increased wakefulness.

What Scientific Research Says About Modafinil Effects and Benefits?

The main modafinil benefits are promoting wakefulness, increasing attention, and enhancing executive functions. The main benefits of modafinil are listed in the following image.

  • Modafinil helps to lower sleepiness and increases alertness and wakefulness. Experiments on adult male Wistar rats showed that during the first 3 hours after modafinil (doses of 30, 100, and 300 mg/kg) treatment, modafinil increased electroencephalogram (EEG) wake time and wake episode duration in a dose-dependent manner without a rebound in hypersomnolence and excessive locomotor activity (LMA) intensity, according to a 1998 research by Dale M. Edgar and Wesley F. Seidel published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
  • Modafinil improves the speed of response, attention, and visuospatial ability. A 2014 study by A. D. Mohamed et al., first published in the journal PLoS One found that a single 200 mg/day dose of modafinil increased latency of responses in healthy individuals. A 2012 study by Joy J. Geng et al. titled “A match made by modafinil: probability matching in choice decisions and spatial attention” found that a 200mg/day dose of modafinil improved cognitive control and spatial attention.
  • Modafinil enhances executive functions (memory, creativity, decision-making, and planning). A 2014 research by J. Gilleen et al. first published in the journal Psychopharmacology found that modafinil improved memory implicit learning capacity among study participants who were administered 200mg/day of modafinil over 12 days. A 2004 study by J. K. Walsh et al., first published in the Journal of Sleep, found that modafinil enhanced executive functions compared to a placebo. A 2017 study by M. Kaser et al. first published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that a 200 mg/day dose of modafinil “could improve episodic memory and working memory performance in patients with remitted depression”. A 2004 study by D. C. Turner, first published in the journal “Psychopharmacology” found that a 200mg/day dose of modafinil improved visual memory, spatial planning, and short-term memory span.

Is Modafinil a Nootropic (Smart Drug)?

Yes, modafinil is a nootropic (pro-cognitive) drug with effects similar to those of low-dose classical psychostimulants, according to a 2011 research paper by Kyle C. Schmitt and Maarten E. A. Reith published in Plos Journal.

Nootropics, also known as “smart drugs”, “limitless pills”, or “cognitive enhancers,” are defined as substances that improve cognitive functions, such as memory, focus, and alertness, without causing significant side effects or impairing mental function. Nootropics are classified into 3 categories: 1) synthetic compounds aka “man-made”, 2) prescription drugs, and 3) dietary supplements aka “natural compounds”. In the classification of nootropics, modafinil is classified as a synthetic compound and a prescription drug.  

A 2004 study by Joseph V. Baranski et al. titled “Effects of modafinil on cognitive and meta-cognitive performance” found that the modafinil administration of 4 mg/kg (on average 300mg per individual) resulted in nootropic effects of improved motivation, reaction, vigilance, and fatigue levels.

A 2019 research paper by A. Steward and M. Pickersgill published in the Journal Drugs (Abingdon, England: Online) found that UK undergraduate students take modafinil aka “study drug” to experience nootropic effects of improved motivation, productivity boost, and enhance cognition. A 2022 study published in AMSUS Journal: Military Medicine by M. V. Puyvelde et al. found that modafinil cognition-enhancing benefits were only present in individuals who performed a more complex task or had a lower initial performance level. Further research is required to fully understand the universalism of modafinil’s nootropic drug.

What Are Modafinil Side Effects?

According to the results of clinical trials in narcolepsy, OSA, and SWD, the main side effects of modafinil (prevalence higher than 7%) when taking 200-400 mg/day of modafinil (Provigil) are headaches, nausea, nervousness, back pain, and rhinitis.

The main side effects of modafinil are listed in the above image.

  • Headache is a painful sensation in the head or upper neck region. The occurrence of headaches is 34%, according to modafinil clinical trial data in 934 patients. A 2007 research paper by Thomas Roth, Ph.D. et al. titled “Evaluation of the Safety of Modafinil for Treatment of Excessive Sleepiness” concluded that 34% of participants of the 6 modafinil studies who administered 200mg/day experienced a modafinil-induced headache. Comparatively, among the 6 study participants who received a placebo, the prevalence of headaches was 23%. A 2007 study by DeBattista C. et al. first published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that 22% of patients who took 100-400 mg/day of modafinil experienced headaches compared to 12% in the placebo group. Staying hydrated and taking over-the-counter pain relievers as directed can help alleviate modafinil-related headaches.
  • Nausea is a feeling of sickness typically accompanied by the urge to vomit. The occurrence of nausea is 11%, according to modafinil clinical trial data in 934 patients. A 2005 study by Fava et al. first published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that 9% of patients who took 200mg/day of modafinil experienced nausea compared to 2% in the placebo group. A 2007 research by Thomas Roth, Ph.D. et al. titled “Evaluation of the Safety of Modafinil for Treatment of Excessive Sleepiness” concluded that 11% of patients treated with 200-400 mg/day of modafinil experienced nausea vs. 3% prevalence in the placebo group. Taking modafinil with food or adjusting the dosage can help reduce nausea.
  • Nervousness is a physiological state characterized by excessive worry, apprehension, dread, and a feeling of fear. The occurrence of nervousness is 7% according to modafinil clinical trial data in 934 patients. A 2007 study by DeBattista C. et al. first published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that 20% of patients who took 100-400mg/day of modafinil experienced nervousness compared to 4% in the placebo group. A 2003 research by J. R. L. Schwartz et al. titled “Modafinil as an adjunct therapy for daytime sleepiness in obstructive sleep apnea: a 12-week, open-label study” found that 16% of OSA patients, who received 200-400 mg/day of modafinil, experienced anxiety. Practicing relaxation techniques can be helpful to overcome modafinil-induced nervousness.
  • Rhinitis (stuffy nose) is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa. The occurrence of rhinitis is 7% according to modafinil clinical trial data in 934 patients. In the 2000 research paper, first published in the Journal of Sleep, the US Modafinil in Narcolepsy Multicenter Study Group found that “rhinitis occurred more frequently with modafinil 200mg/day (11% vs. 3% for the placebo group), but not with modafinil 400mg/day in patients with narcolepsy”. Using nasal saline sprays or rinses may help to alleviate stuffy nose induced by taking modafinil.

According to the results of clinical trials in Narcolepsy, OSA, and SWD, less common negative effects (prevalence 7% or less) of taking modafinil are back pain (6%), diarrhea (6%), dizziness (5%), anxiety (5%), dyspepsia (5%), insomnia (5%), anorexia (4%), dry mouth (4%), pharyngitis (4%), chest pain (3%), hypertension (3%), abnormal liver function (2%), constipation (2%), depression (2%), palpitation (2%), paresthesia (2%), somnolence (2%), tachycardia (2%), vasodilatation (2%), abnormal vision (1%), agitation (1%), asthma (1%), chills (1%), confusion (1%), emotional lability (1%), dyskinesia (1%), edema (1%), eosinophilia (1%), epistaxis (1%), hyperkinesia (1%), flatulence (1%), hypertonia (1%), mouth ulceration (1%), sweating (1%), taste perversion (1%), tremor (1%), thirst (1%), urine abnormality (1%), vertigo (1%), and teeth grinding (<1%).

Medical assistance should be sought promptly if any of these adverse symptoms or reactions occur. Consider reporting both long-term and short-term side effects to FDA at or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Is Modafinil Long-Term Use Safe?

In clinical practice, long-term use of modafinil typically refers to its continuous administration for several weeks or months. The continued long-term use of modafinil (16 weeks) in the treatment of excessive daytime somnolence (EDS) of narcolepsy has no significant effects on nocturnal sleep, heart rate, blood pressure, the electrocardiogram (ECG), mood, or weight, according to a 2000 study by H. Moldofsky et al. first published in the journal Sleep.

The 2000 study by M. M. Mitler et al. titled “Long-term efficacy and safety of modafinil (PROVIGIL) for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy” found that “modafinil is effective for the long-term treatment of EDS associated with narcolepsy” and there is “no evidence of tolerance developing (non-habit forming) during 40 weeks of treatment“. A study by Max Hirshkowitz & Jed Black first published in the Journal of Respirology in May 2007, found that modafinil is well-tolerated during long-term therapy (12 months) among patients with obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome. Despite research suggesting that modafinil is safe for long-term use, it’s important to consider its contradictions for safe administration.

What Are The Contradictions of Modafinil Use?

According to the results of clinical trials in SWD, narcolepsy, and OSA, the main relative contraindications to the use of modafinil are as follows.

  • Hypersensitivity or allergy to modafinil or any of its ingredients (lactose monohydrate, croscarmellose sodium, povidone, and magnesium stearate),
  • Cardiovascular problems (heart disease or high blood pressure),
  • Mental health conditions (psychosis and mania). In patients with a history of mental illness, modafinil use may lead to psychotic features such as hallucinations.
  • Dermatological reaction (skin peeling, blistering, lesions, and rash; Stevens-Johnson syndrome),
  • Angioedema and anaphylaxis reactions, and persistent sleepiness.

There are no absolute contraindications to the use of modafinil. Discontinue modafinil, if any of the contraindications, including drug and food interactions, are suspected.

What Are Modafinil Drug and Food Interactions?

According to the results of clinical trials in SWD, narcolepsy, and OSA, the main drug types that interact with modafinil are as follows.

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs),
  • Antidepressant medications,
  • Hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, or implants),
  • Anticoagulants,
  • Antifungals,
  • Seizure medications,
  • Supplements (herbal and nutritional),
  • Vitamins.

According to the results of clinical trials in OSA, SWD, and narcolepsy, the main foods that interact with modafinil are caffeine and grapefruit juice.

Taking modafinil with excessive amounts of caffeine (more than 400mg per day) can increase the risk of restlessness, overstimulation, and potentially cardiovascular effects. The combined use of modafinil (less than 200 mg/day) and caffeine (less than 200mg per day) is considered safe for cognitive performance enhancement.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice contain furanocoumarin compounds that can interact with cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) enzymes in the liver. The inhibition of CYP3A4 enzymes by furanocoumarins can lead to increased levels (higher drug concentration) of modafinil in the body as modafinil is mainly metabolized by CYP3A4 enzymes. Not consuming grapefruit and grapefruit juice when taking modafinil lowers the probability of negative side effects.

When buying modafinil, consult with a pharmacist regarding the use of modafinil to reduce the risk of negative side effects from modafinil interactions with other drugs, supplements, and foods.

This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Ahmed Donia, Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Immunology, COMSATS University Islamabad. Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No legal or medical advice is offered in this article.

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