Modafinil is a mild stimulant typically prescribed for sleep-work disorder. It is effective at promoting wakefulness without the side effects that typically accompany stimulants.


  • Keeps you alert and awake for hours [1][2][3]
  • Increases concentration and attentiveness [4]
  • Mood booster, helpful for treatment of depression [5]
  • Treats bipolar disorder, cocaine dependence, parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia [6][7][8][9][10]
  • Cognitive enhancer, improves working memory and pattern recognition [11][12][13]
  • Weight loss effects, reduces appetite [14]

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil originated in the late 1970’s. It is currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of narcolepsy, shift work disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness. In Europe it is prescribed for narcolepsy. At first modafinil was shown to be an effective treatment of ADHD. The FDA eventually repealed its prescription for this use in 2006 because they felt it was unsafe for children. In the United States modafinil is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance under federal law. However, it is not controlled in Canada, Mexico, the UK, Australia, Germany, and India. It is available for purchase online with no prescription.

The United States military has approved Modafinil for certain Air Force missions in order to keep pilots alert and maintain their accuracy for up to 40 hours without sleep. [15] A report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal stated that Modafinil is used by astronauts on long-term missions aboard the International Space Station. Because many astronauts suffer a reduced quality of sleep Modafinil was taken by the astronauts to stay attentive and accurate. [16]

Modafinil Dosage Information

Modafinil usually comes in either 100mg or 200mg tablets. It is generally taken one time per day with or without food. Do not take large doses, do not take it more than once per day, and avoid taking it for extended periods of time. It is potentially habit forming.

How Does Modafinil Work?

Even though the precise mechanism of action of Modafinil is unclear there have been many studies which have produced theories. The most recent study suggests Modafinil affects the dopamine transporter, inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine. This means that dopamine is released but is not reabsorbed leading to much greater dopamine levels. [17] This produces a state in which a person is abnormally active.

Safety and Side Effects of Modafinil

Modafinil is a serious nootropic and you should consult your physician before use. There is a long list of special precautions and side effects that can be viewed here.

Where Can I Buy Modafinil?

Modafinil is a scheduled substance in the United States and can only be legally obtained with a prescription. If you live in the Unites States consult your physician and obtain a prescription if you believe you have a use for Modafinil. In most other areas Modafinil can be purchased online without a prescription.

It is closely related to Adrafinil, however, which is available over the counter in the US.

Modafinil FAQ

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Modafinil. If you have a question that’s not on this list, send it to us at [email protected] and we will answer it for you.

Should I Use Modafinil?

Because Modafinil is such a powerful nootropic it is not something that is simply added to a nootropic regimen. This is a smart drug that should be taken on occasion to help with specific scenarios. For example, if you need to pull an all-night for school or work Modafinil would be very helpful. It is not a drug to be taken every day. Dependence and serious side effects can occur.

What Are Some Modafinil Studies?

One study examined patients with shift-work sleep disorder. These are patients that had excessive sleepiness during work at night followed by severe insomnia during the day. A three-month, double-blind study randomly gave 209 patients either 200mg of Modafinil or a placebo before their shifts. The study concluded that 200mg of Modafinil reduced extreme sleepiness and resulted in increased performance at work. Even though the placebo adversely affected day-time sleep habits, Modafinil did not. Headache was the most common reported side-effect. [2]

Other studies have shown that Modafinil decreases food intake by laboratory animals and humans. Though the study was aimed to determine if oral doses of Modafinil helped day-shift and night-shift workers stay attentive and awake, reduction in caloric intake was observed as well. The study showed that 200mg/day doses decreased caloric intake by 18% and that 400mg/day doses decrease caloric intake by 38% regardless of which shift the workers were on. Tolerance to these anorexic effects was not observed. The end conclusion was that Modafinil  produces a clear reduction in food intake and that future studies should be aimed directly towards this effect on obese patients. [14]

Cited Studies

1. Erman MK, Rosenberg R, For The U S Modafinil Shift Work Sleep Disorder Study Group. “Modafinil for excessive sleepiness associated with chronic shift work sleep disorder: effects on patient functioning and health-related quality of life.” Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2007;9(3):188-94. Full Text

2. Czeisler CA, Walsh JK, Roth T, Hughes RJ, Wright KP, Kingsbury L, Arora S, Schwartz JRL, Niebler GE, Dinges DF (August 2005). “Modafinil for Excessive Sleepiness Associated with Shift-Work Sleep Disorder”. N Engl J Med 353 (5): 476–486. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa041292. PMID 16079371.

3. Provigil (Modafinil) Site.” 24 December 1998 [3]

4. Biederman J, Pliszka SR (March 2008). “Modafinil improves symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder across subtypes in children and adolescents”. J. Pediatr. 152 (3): 394–9. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.07.052. PMID 18280848

5. Fava M, Thase ME, DeBattista C, Doghramji K, Arora S, Hughes RJ (2007). “Modafinil augmentation of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor therapy in MDD partial responders with persistent fatigue and sleepiness”. Ann Clin Psychiatry 19 (3): 153–9. doi:10.1080/10401230701464858. PMID 17729016


7. PMID 20673554.

8. Dackis CA, Kampman KM, Lynch KG, Pettinati HM, O’Brien CP (January 2005). “A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of modafinil for cocaine dependence”. Neuropsychopharmacology 30 (1): 205–11. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1300600. PMID 15525998

9. van Vliet SA, Vanwersch RA, Jongsma MJ, van der Gugten J, Olivier B, Philippens IH (September 2006). “Neuroprotective effects of modafinil in a marmoset Parkinson model: behavioral and neurochemical aspects”. Behav Pharmacol 17 (5–6): 453–62. doi:10.1097/00008877-200609000-00011. PMID 16940766

10. Turner DC, Clark L, Pomarol-Clotet E, McKenna P, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ (July 2004). “Modafinil improves cognition and attentional set shifting in patients with chronic schizophrenia”. Neuropsychopharmacology 29 (7): 1363–73. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1300457. PMID 15085092

11. Turner DC, Robbins TW, Clark L, Aron AR, Dowson J, Sahakian BJ (2003). “Cognitive enhancing effects of modafinil in healthy volunteers”. Psychopharmacology (Berl.) 165 (3): 260–9. doi:10.1007/s00213-002-1250-8. PMID 12417966

12. Randall DC, Viswanath A, Bharania P, Elsabagh SM, Hartley DE, Shneerson JM, File SE (2005). “Does modafinil enhance cognitive performance in young volunteers who are not sleep-deprived?”. J Clin Psychopharmacol 25 (2): 175–9. doi:10.1097/ PMID 15738750

13. Baranski JV, Pigeau R, Dinich P, Jacobs I (2004). “Effects of modafinil on cognitive and meta-cognitive performance”. Hum Psychopharmacol 19 (5): 323–32. doi:10.1002/hup.596. PMID 15252824

14. Perez GA, Haney M, Foltin RW, Hart CL. (October 2008). “Modafinil decreases food intake in humans subjected to simulated shift work”. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 90 (4): 717–22. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2008.05.018. PMID 18573275

15. Modafinil and Management of Aircrew Fatigue – United States Air Force memo


17. Zolkowska, D.; Jain, R.; Rothman, R. B.; Partilla, J. S.; Roth, B. L.; Setola, V.; Prisinzano, T. E.; Baumann, M. H. (2009). “Evidence for the involvement of dopamine transporters in behavioral stimulant effects of modafinil.”. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics 329 (2): 738–746. doi:10.1124/jpet.108.146142. PMC 2672878. PMID 19197004