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Summary sheet: Modafinil
Chemical Nomenclature
Common names Modafinil, Alertec, Modavigil, Modiodal, Provigil, Modalert
Substitutive name Modafinil
Systematic name 2-[(Diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl]acetamide
Routes of Administration

WARNING: Always start with lower doses due to differences between individual body weight, tolerance, metabolism, and personal sensitivity. See responsible use section.

Threshold Common Heavy
25 - 50 - 100 - 200 - 300 mg
Light Strong
Threshold 25 - 50 mg
Light 50 - 100 mg
Common 100 - 200 mg
Strong 200 - 300 mg
Heavy 300 mg +
Total 5 - 10 hours
Onset 20 - 60 minutes
Come up 20 - 60 minutes
Peak 3.5 - 5 hours
Offset 1 - 3 hours
After effects 2 - 6 hours

DISCLAIMER: PW's dosage information is gathered from users and resources for educational purposes only. It is not a recommendation and should be verified with other sources for accuracy.

Modafinil (also known by the brand names Provigil, Alertec, Modavigil, among others) is a eugeroic substance of the benzhydryl class that produces wakefulness-promoting and stimulant effects when administered. It is commonly used to enhance cognition, reduce fatigue, and increase alertness in both medical and non-medical contexts.

Modafinil is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorder and narcolepsy.[1] However, studies have shown that modafinil may also be useful off-label for alleviating the symptoms of depression,[2], bipolar disorder,[3] Parkinson's disease,[4] seasonal depressive disorder,[5] ADHD,[6] and various other conditions which have fatigue as a symptom.

Modafinil has also been used as a doping agent by various athletes due to its ability to produce physical stimulation.[citation needed] It has recently gained mainstream popularity for its use as a "smart drug" to improve memory, counteract the desire or need for sleep, and increase general productivity.[citation needed]


Modafinil is a synthetic molecule of the benzhydryl class. Benzhydryl compounds are comprised of two benzene rings attached to a single carbon molecule. Modafinil is classified as a sulphinyl benzhydryl molecule, as it also contains a sulphinyl group, a sulphur molecule double-bonded to an oxygen molecule, attached to the carbon of the benzhydryl group. From this sulphur group at R2, an acetamide group is bound at its free carbon through a carbonyl group to a terminal amine group. Modafinil is structurally analogous to fluorafinil, another benzhydryl stimulant.

While modafinil is a racemic mixture, a similar medication, armodafinil, consists of only the (−)-(R)-enantiomer of modafinil.


(R,S)-modafinil, mechanism of action.

Although the exact mechanisms by which modafinil and its R-enantiomer, armodafinil, decrease sleepiness are not fully understood, evidence suggests that these agents promote wakefulness by acting directly or indirectly on many components of the sleep / wake circuit. Modafinil and armodafinil are hypothesized to inhibit GABA and promote dopamine, norepinephrine, histamine, and hypocretin / orexin.[7][8][9][10]

Modafinil and its R-enantiomer, armodafinil, increase both norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine (DA), possibly via their blockade of both the NE and DA reuptake transporters (NET and DAT, respectively). The actions of NE at alpha-adrenergic receptors and DA at dopamine D2 receptors are thought to contribute to the wake-promoting properties of modafinil. Orexin is a key component of the arousal system; thus, the hypothesized action of modafinil on the orexinergic system may help increase alertness. Additionally, modafinil may indirectly increase histamine, either by reducing GABAergic inhibition of histaminergic neurons or via actions at orexinergic neurons. The increase in histamine may contribute to both the wake-promoting effects of modafinil as well as the potential of modafinil to increase alertness.[7][9][11]

In genetically engineered mice lacking the dopamine transporter (DAT), modafinil lacked wake-promoting activity, suggesting that this activity was DAT-dependent. However, the wake-promoting effects of modafinil, unlike those of amphetamine, were not reduced by the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol in rats. In addition, alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine, an inhibitor of dopamine synthesis, blocks the action of amphetamine but does not block locomotor activity induced by modafinil.

Subjective effects

In comparison to traditional stimulants such as amphetamine, methylphenidate or cocaine, this compound induces an experience which is far less forceful, euphoric, and recreational. It instead emphasizes general wakefulness and motivation enhancement.

The effects listed below are based upon the subjective effects index and personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. The listed effects should be taken with a grain of salt and will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, but heavier doses will increase the chances and are more likely to induce a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include serious injury or death.

Physical effects

Cognitive effects

Toxicity and harm potential

The long-term safety and effectiveness of modafinil as a drug of regular usage have not been determined.[13]

Anecdotal reports from people who have tried modafinil suggest that there do not seem to be any negative health effects attributed to simply trying this substance at low to moderate doses by itself or using it sparingly (but nothing can be completely guaranteed).

It is worth noting that as this compound is a commonly prescribed pharmaceutical, it is considerably less likely to have unpredictable adverse health effects than the typical research chemical. Nevertheless, it is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices if using this substance.

Lethal dosage

The median lethal dose at which 50% of participants die (LD50) from modafinil for human beings has never been reached. No life-threatening effects have taken place in clinical trials involving the administration of 1000mg to 1600mg of modafinil per day for 7 to 21 consecutive days. Intentional acute overdoses of 4500mg and 4000mg in two adult subjects and an accidental ingestion of 800mg by a three-year-old child did not result in any life-threatening effects or death.[14] After overdosing on 5000mg of modafinil in a suicide attempt, a fifteen-year-old female reported a severe headache, nausea, and tachycardia, but did not appear to have any lethal or long-term effects.[15]

Tolerance and addiction potential

The chronic use of modafinil can be considered as not addictive with a low potential for abuse. It does not seem to be capable of causing psychological dependence among most users.[citation needed]

Tolerance to many of the effects of modafinil develops with prolonged and repeated use. This results in users having to administer increasingly large doses to achieve the same effects. After that, it takes about 3 - 7 days for the tolerance to be reduced to half and 1 - 2 weeks to be back at baseline (in the absence of further consumption). Modafinil may present a cross-tolerance with all benzhydryl nootropics, meaning that after the consumption of modafinil, all related eugeroic compounds such as armodafinil and adrafinil will display a reduced effect.

Dangerous interactions

Although many psychoactive substances are safe to use on their own, they can become dangerous or even life-threatening when taken with other substances. The list below contains some potentially dangerous combinations, but may not include all of them. Certain combinations may be safe in low doses but still increase the possibility of injury of death. Independent research should always be conducted to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe before consumption.

  • 25x-NBOMe/25x-NBOH - Members of the 25x family are highly stimulating and physically straining. Combinations with stimulants should be avoided due to the risk of excessive stimulation. This can result in panic attacks, thought loops, seizures, increased blood pressure, vasoconstriction, and heart failure in extreme cases.
  • Alcohol - Alcohol can be dangerous to combine with stimulants due to the risk of accidental over-intoxication. Stimulants mask the sedative effects of alcohol, which is the main factor people use to assess their degree of intoxication. Once the stimulant wears off, the depressant effects of alcohol are left unopposed, which can result in blackouts and respiratory depression. If combined, one should strictly limit themselves to only drinking a certain amount of alcohol per hour.
  • DXM - Combinations with DXM should be strictly avoided due to DXM's effects on serotonin and dopamine reuptake. This can lead to panic attacks, hypertensive crisis, or serotonin syndrome.
  • MXE - Combinations with MXE may dangerously elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of psychosis.
  • Tramadol - Tramadol lowers the seizure threshold.[16] Combinations with stimulants may further increase this risk.
  • MAOIs - This combination may increase the amount of neurotransmitters such as dopamine to dangerous or even fatal levels. Examples include syrian rue, banisteriopsis caapi, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7, αMT, and some antidepressants.[17]
  • MDMA - The neurotoxic effects of MDMA may be increased when combined with other stimulants.
  • Hormonal Birth Control - Modafinil reduces the effectiveness of hormonal birth control for up to a month after use by increasing the activity of the enzyme CYP3A4/5.[18] Notably, the same enzyme is inhibited by grapefruit juice.[19]

Legal status


This legality section is a stub.

As such, it may contain incomplete or wrong information. You can help by expanding it.

Modafinil is legally approved for medical purposes worldwide. However, it is illegal to sell and possess in most countries without a prescription.

  • Canada: Modafinil is listed as a Schedule F prescription drug in Canada and it can be prescribed for human and veterinary use.[20]
  • Russian Federation: Modafinil is classed as a Schedule II substance. [21]
  • United Kingdom: Modafinil is a licensed prescription-only medicine (POM) in the United Kingdom.[22] It is not a criminal offence to possess this medicine without a valid prescription. This medicine can legally be obtained with a valid prescription or through legal import of the medicine for personal use as outlined in Section 13 of the Medicines Act 1968.[23]
  • United States: In the United States, modafinil is a Schedule IV controlled substance. It is illegal to buy, sell, or possess the drug without a prescription or DEA license.[24]

See also

External links


  1. Provigal (Manufacturer's Website) |
  2. Modafinil augmentation of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor therapy in MDD partial responders with persistent fatigue and sleepiness ( / NCBI) |
  3. A placebo-controlled evaluation of adjunctive modafinil in the treatment of bipolar depression ( / NCBI) |
  4. Neuroprotective effects of modafinil in a marmoset Parkinson model: behavioral and neurochemical aspects ( / NCBI) |
  5. PubMed - Modafinil treatment in patients with seasonal affective disorder/winter depression: an open-label pilot study ( / NCBI) |
  6. Modafinil improves symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder across subtypes in children and adolescents ( / NCBI) |
  7. 7.0 7.1 Morrissette, D. A. (2013). Twisting the night away: a review of the neurobiology, genetics, diagnosis, and treatment of shift work disorder. CNS Spectrums, 18(s1), 42–54.
  8. Touitou, Y., & Bogdan, A. (2007). Promoting adjustment of the sleep-wake cycle by chronobiotics. Physiology and Behavior, 90(2–3), 294–300.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Darwish, M., Kirby, M., D'Andrea, D. M., Yang, R., Hellriegel, E. T., & Robertson, P. (2010). Pharmacokinetics of armodafinil and modafinil after single and multiple doses in patients with excessive sleepiness associated with treated obstructive sleep apnea: A randomized, open-label, crossover study. Clinical Therapeutics, 32(12), 2074–2087.
  10. Erman MK, Yang R, Seiden DJ. The effect of armodafinil on patient-reported functioning and quality of life in patients with excessive sleepiness associated with shift work disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2012;14(4) . doi:10.4088/pcc.12m01345. PMID: 23251870; PMCID: PMC3505139.
  11. He, B., Peng, H., Zhao, Y., Zhou, H., & Zhao, Z. (2011). Modafinil treatment prevents REM sleep deprivation-induced brain function impairment by increasing MMP-9 expression. Brain Research, 1426, 38–42.
  12. Udert, K. M., Larsen, T. A., & Gujer, W. (2006). Fate of major compounds in source-separated urine. Water Science and Technology, 54(11–12), 413–420.
  13. Pharmacotherapy for excessive daytime sleepiness |
  14. The National Library of Medicine - PROVIGIL |
  15. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine - Unsuccessful Suicide Attempt of a 15 Year Old Adolescent with Ingestion of 5000 mg Modafinil
  16. Talaie, H., Panahandeh, R., Fayaznouri, M. R., Asadi, Z., & Abdollahi, M. (2009). Dose-independent occurrence of seizure with tramadol. Journal of Medical Toxicology, 5(2), 63-67.
  17. Gillman, P. K. (2005). Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, opioid analgesics and serotonin toxicity. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 95(4), 434-441.
  18. Robertson, P (2002). "Effect of modafinil on the pharmacokinetics of ethinyl estradiol and triazolam in healthy volunteers". Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. Springer Nature. 71 (1): 46–56. doi:10.1067/mcp.2002.121217. ISSN 0009-9236. 
  19. Bailey, D. G.; Dresser, G.; Arnold, J. M. O. (2012-11-26). "Grapefruit-medication interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences?". Canadian Medical Association Journal. Joule Inc. 185 (4): 309–316. doi:10.1503/cmaj.120951. ISSN 0820-3946. 
  20. National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities - Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations (1184 — Modafinil) |
  21. "Narcotics". 
  22. MHRA (April 3, 2013). "MHRA license for Modafinil in UK" (PDF). MHRA. 
  23. "Medicines Act 1968 Section 13". 
  24. Placement of Modafinil Into Schedule IV - U.S. Department of Justice |