What is Modafinil?
Known as an unofficial nootropic (or cognitive enhancer), Modafinil is considered to be the real-life version of NZT – the drug that made Bradley Cooper’s character smarter, more likable, and more bangable in 2011’s Limitless. In reality, however, Modafinil is classified as a eugeroic, or wakefulness-promoting agent, that treats sleep related disorders such as excessive daytime sleepiness, narcolepsy, and shift work sleep disorder. Research has also found the drug to positively affect some ADHD, motion sickness, personality and psychiatric disorders, weight loss issues, and cocaine addiction cases.
What Does Modafinil Do?
Modafinil, also known as Provigil or Modalert, raises your body’s levels of histamine, a chemical that regulates your sleep cycle. It also reduces dopamine – the hormone that is responsible for reward-driven behavior – to increase the user’s focus, while increasing norepinephrine (aka adrenaline) levels to enhance attention and overall alertness.
Does Science Back Up These Claims?
Modafinil is FDA-approved to treat narcolepsy. Other than that, any other use is considered “off-label.” A study focusing on chess player found that taking modafinil (known as Provigil) can improve a player’s game, albeit at a cost of time management. In other words, they made better choices at a slower pace.
What Are the Side Effects?
Anxiety, nervousness, headache, and nausea are typical minor side effects of Modafinil. Less common side effects of Modafinil include:
Next: Severe side effects such as these may also occur, which require medical consultation