Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting drug that is known by the brand name Provigil. The effects of the drug are highly suitable for treating the conditions of narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness, and shift work sleep disorder. The Modafinil medication may be prescribed off-label for other conditions as well. The drug has potential for misuse as it also has cognition enhancing benefits. It is listed under schedule IV drug class and can be obtained with a prescription.

How does Modafinil work?

The exact working mechanism of Modafinil and the way it promotes wakefulness is currently unknown. However, the drug is known to modify the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. The peak effects of the drug occur within two to three hours after consumption. The effects generally last for about 15 hours.


Modafinil is available in the standard dosage strengths of 100mg and 200mg immediate release tablets that are to be consumed orally. The standard dose prescribed is 200mg and up to 400mg can be prescribed in a day. The dose can be reduced if it is found to be too high, especially in the elderly. The drug is relatively safe to take when used long term and if the dosing instructions are followed.

What is the best way to take Modafinil?

The Modafinil dose should be consumed according to the doctor’s instructions. For sleep disorders the drug would have to be taken in the morning. Those with shift work sleep issues can take the drug about an hour before the start of work. Swallow the pill whole without crushing or snorting it. The drug may be taken either with or without food.

Do not share Modafinil with any person not prescribed to use it. Recreational and abusive uses can produce harmful side effects.

Missed dose and overdose

If you have missed a dose, take it the earliest that you remember to do so. Skip the missed dose entirely if it is closer to bedtime as it can interfere with sleep. Avoid taking two doses to make up for the dose missed.

An overdose may not be fatal but can result in severe side effects. Get emergency medical attention and also be specific on the number of pills taken in excess. Some of the effects of overdose are palpitations, nervousness, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, agitation, and diarrhea.

Important information

  • The drug should not be used if you are allergic to Modafinil or similar medication.
  • Any person with heart or heart valve problems should not use the drug.
  • Avoid doing any tasks that require your full attention till you know how you react to the drug.
  • You should never drink alcohol while using this wakefulness promoting medication.
  • Get the blood pressure checked often while on the drug course.
  • Avoid or consume less caffeine.
  • Inform the doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or currently nursing a baby. You have to discuss the safe options with your doctor.
  • Birth control pills may not be as effective and alternate contraceptive methods may be required.

Side effects

Common side effects

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Back pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Nervousness or excitement

Severe side effects that require immediate medical attention

  • Allergic reactions
  • Trouble urinating or bloody urine
  • Psychological issues like depression, low mood, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
  • Confusion
  • Bad headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Bad skin reactions
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

Interactions with other drugs

Modafinil may be used safely after checking for possible interactions with other drugs that you may be taking. Inform all your doctors about taking any prescription medication, over the counter pills, herbal supplements, and vitamins.


The pills should be stored at room temperature in a place away from moisture, and especially not in the bathroom. It is recommended to ensure that the medication is out of reach of pets and children. Dispose any unused medication by checking with your pharmacist on how to do it.


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