Modafinil: An FDA-Backed Smart Drug That Actually Works

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modafinil info

What is Modafinil?

Some people consider Modafinil the real life equivalent of NZT (the drug that made Bradley Cooper super smart in 2011’s Limitless), it’s more accurately described as classified as a eugeroic, or wakefulness-promoting agent, and treats sleep related disorders such as excessive daytime sleepiness, narcolepsy, and shift work sleep disorder. Modafinil also has off-label uses as a nootropic (cognitive enhancer) to boost focus and productivity. 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, focuses on chemicals named orexin and hypocretin. These chemicals are located in numerous parts of the brain and alter histamine, dopamine, and norepinephrine production. Modafinil raises histamine levels in the body, which regulates the sleep/wake cycle. This drug essentially reduces dopamine available in the body to increase the taker’s focus, and increases norepinephrine levels to enhance attention and overall alertness.

Does Science Back Up These Claims?

Modafinil is FDA-approved to treat narcolepsy. 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:

-Digestive issues

-Back pain

-Dry mouth

-Dry skin

-Vague disorientation

-Flushed skin

-Mouth sore

-Tingling skin

-Nasal congestion


-Muscle stiffness

Next: Severe side effects such as these may also occur, which require medical consultation