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Research-based information regarding all things: Modafinil, Armodafinil, and Nootropics

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    Modafinil is a pharmaceutical drug best known as a “eugeroic” — which means it promotes and enhances wakefulness.

    In the healthcare industry, Modafinil is prescribed to treat excessive daytime sleepiness within three medical conditions [1]:

    • Narcolepsy
    • Shift work sleep disorder
    • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    However, Modafinil is most popularly used off-label as a cognition-enhancing “smart drug”, or what is normally referred to as a nootropic. In fact, 90% of all Modafinil prescriptions are for off-label purposes that include depression, fatigue, and overall sleepiness [2].

    It is used by millions of professionals around the world who find themselves in extremely competitive industries heavily reliant on high performance and peak productivity.

    Common professions involving heavy Modafinil use include surgeons, Ivy League students, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, military soldiers, profitable day traders, and anything exclusively reliant on knowledge-based work [3].

    Modafinil has become the subject of significant media attention over the past decade, with several high-profile articles being written by respected establishments such as The Wall Street Journal [4], ABC, New York Magazine [3] and Vice [5]. In addition, prominent biohacking authorities such as Dave Asprey and Ben Greenfield have documented their own positive experiences with using this smart drug.

    Which prompts many people to ask several questions about Modafinil: Does it actually do what its most evangelical supporters claim, is it safe to take this drug long-term, will I get into legal trouble for using it, and how can I get my hands on it? was created with the sole purpose of answering every single question you could possibly have about Modafinil, backed with rigorous scientific research and testimonials from veteran smart drug users.


    Modafinil’s reputation as the premier productivity-boosting drug is not merely a result of anecdotal testimony and hearsay.

    There are several scientific studies vouching for Modafinil’s effectiveness across a wide variety of mental traits:

    Defeats Fatigue – Modafinil may significantly reduce varying levels of fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis, cancer [6, 7, 8].

    Improved Memory – Modafinil has been shown to improve both working memory (i.e. Immediate memory) and episodic memory (i.e. unique memories of specific events) in both healthy nonsleep-deprived individuals and those suffering from depression [9, 10].

    Heightened Motivation – Modafinil works in a way to improve subjective well-being and overall mood in a positive direction. This has been verified in studies involving dopamine-deprived mice and healthy adults [11, 12].

    Enhanced Alertness – Whether you are sleep-deprived or received a full night’s sleep, Modafinil can enhance your alertness and restore your cognitive performance to baseline levels or higher [13, 14].

    Longer-Lasting Energy – In sleep-deprived military personnel, Modafinil consistently improves one’s ability to mentally perform tasks at an acceptable level over periods of time spanning longer than 40 hours of sustained wakefulness [15, 16].

    Other reported benefits by individual Modafinil users include removing of “writer’s block”, more noticeable weight loss and lower impulsivity with regard to internal and external distractions. However, unlike the benefits mentioned above, these are purely anecdotal in nature and have not been substantiated by evidence-based science.

    Users of Modafinil may notice some of these effects, all of these effects, or none of these effects. Modafinil is one of the few nootropics where the user experience is entirely individual due to one’s individual biochemistry and genetic profile.

    Unless you consistently use Modafinil for 1-3+ months and gauge its effects on your cognition, any discussion about what it will and will not do is entirely speculative in nature.

    But overall, Modafinil can greatly improve character traits and cognitive functions essential for maintaining supremely high personal productivity levels.

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    Modafinil is one of the safest and most well-tolerated nootropics in existence, and the same can arguably be said when comparing it to other pharmaceutical drugs.

    According to a comprehensive review done by ACS Chemical Neuroscience [17]:

    “… the toxicology profile of Modafinil has shown fewer or no adverse effects compared to those reported in traditional psychostimulants such as amphetamine or cocaine. In addition, Modafinil is generally well tolerated in animal models in contrast with other stimulants and shows very low abuse liability (low reinforcing effects) in non-drug abusing individuals”

    However, there are some side effects which commonly appear in both beginner-level and veteran users of Modafinil. They include [18]:

    It should be noted that many of these effects are rather in mild nature and quickly disappear with repeated Modafinil use — or by abstaining from the drug altogether.

    Tolerance to Modafinil can be developed, but this almost always happens when Modafinil is being overdosed.

    Moreover, these side effects are virtually non-existent when Modafinil is used at the appropriate dosage and timing, whether for cognitive enhancement purposes or to treat its prescribed medical conditions. As with any nootropic or pharmaceutical medication, responsible use is imperative for the highest chances of success.

    Armodafinil, the “enantiopure” version of Modafinil, contains an identical side effect and safety profile. Any differences observed in users who have taken both nootropics are highly subjective.

    To date, there are no rigorous studies published on the differences between the frequency and severity and side effects of Armodafinil and Modafinil when used long-term in healthy non-sleep-deprived individuals.


    In the United States of America, Modafinil is a prescription medication categorized as “Schedule IV” by the Drug Enforcement Administration. As such, it has a “low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence” [19].

    Other countries around the world categorize Modafinil similarly. This means the only way to purchase and use Modafinil without any potential legal consequence is to obtain a Modafinil prescription from your doctor for on-label or off-label use.

    Many users will fail to obtain a prescription for Modafinil for off-label purposes, especially for cognitive enhancement. The only exceptions recorded to date are for debilitating conditions such as multiple sclerosis and chronic depression to offset the fatigue normally experienced by these patients.

    Even if you were to suffer from narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea, your physician will normally have you undergo a series of medical tests to diagnose you with one of these conditions. Only then will they prescribe you Modafinil, and even then, they may have other medications in mind for treating your condition.

    On the other hand, ordering a modest amount of Modafinil for personal use doesn't appear to be consequential. In the US or otherwise, we know of no case of anybody ever getting arrested or otherwise facing legal issues for purchasing Modafinil online in small quantities for personal use.

    However, one thing is for certain: it is against the law for individuals to sell Modafinil to other people.

    One more important legal matter to address:

    Modafinil is 100%, absolutely illegal in competitive sports and it is banned by several organizations, including WADA and USADA [20].

    There are drug tests in existence which can specifically detect Modafinil in your urine or bloodstream at extremely low concentrations, several days after you have ingested it.


    What is the exact mechanism of action through which Modafinil exerts its effects on the brain and the rest of the human body?

    Unfortunately, decades of research have not been able to arrive at a definitive answer. In the body of medical literature, scientists have been able to uncover “puzzle pieces” about how Modafinil works without being able to put together the entire puzzle.

    One of Modafinil’s most well-known effects involves inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, which thereby increases extracellular concentrations of dopamine in the brain. Modafinil does not directly increase dopamine production, but rather “allows” more dopamine to be available for use at any given time [21].

    Other neurotransmitters are also believed to be involved in Modafinil’s mechanism of action, including increased histamine production and reduced GABA production [22]:

    “Most research on modafinil’s wake-promoting mechanism has focused on monoaminergic effects showing modafinil stimulates histamine (HA), norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), and orexin systems in the brain, but researchers have not been able to isolate a single site of action or locate major receptor binding.”

    Modafinil increases the activity of CYP3A4 enzymes within the liver, thereby reducing plasma levels of drugs metabolized by this same enzyme. Conversely, it inhibits the enzymatic activity of CYP2C19 enzymes in the liver and therefore increases plasma levels of drugs metabolized by said enzyme [23].

    Other important pharmacological characteristics of Modafinil include [24]:

    • Elimination half-life of 12-15 hours
    • Reaches peak concentrations in your bloodstream ~2 hours after ingestion
    • Its pharmacokinetic properties are dose-dependent at dosages of 200 mg to 600 mg
    • 90% of Modafinil is metabolized in the liver into modafinil acid and modafinil sulfone, both of which are inactive metabolites
    • Elimination of Modafinil is done primarily via urine
    • Half-life and peak plasma concentrations of Modafinil are greater in patients with kidney and/or liver impairments


    An increasing number of legitimate Modafinil vendors online allow customers to purchase Modafinil and have it shipped to their country of residence.

    One scientific investigation was able to identify as many as 55+ websites dedicated entirely to the distribution of Modafinil in various forms [25].

    Indeed, several advantages exist with purchasing Modafinil online.

    Not only can customers find high-quality Modafinil at cheaper prices, but they can also have their desired supply of Modafinil delivered quickly to their doorstep without having to present a doctor’s prescription – which they should still have on hand.

    Furthermore, these vendors are set up to make buying Modafinil online as easy as possible.

    As we note below, Modafinil’s regulatory status varies jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction. However, we know of no case, in the US or otherwise, of anybody ever getting arrested or otherwise facing legal issues for purchasing Modafinil online in small quantities for personal use.

    However, as stated before, it is illegal to sell your supply of Modafinil or share it with another individual.

    Many reliable vendors of Modafinil and other nootropics are well-aware of the laws and jurisdictions surrounding their operations. In the rare case where a customs agent seizes your online order, you will either get a re-shipment of your order or a full refund.

    Please keep in mind that some vendors may not ship to your country or have shipping times which do not fit your buying criteria. As such, you will have to select a vendor which ships Modafinil to your country of residence.

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    Modafinil is usually sold in pharmacies under several brand names such as Provigil and Alertec, while Armodafinil is better known by its brand name Nuvigil. However, they are also available in a wide variety of generic forms.

    We highly recommend opting for generic Modafinil and/or Armodafinil where possible. Not only is it several times cheaper, but it is also identical in terms of composition and pharmacological effects — and thus the expected cognitive benefits are the exact same [26].

    Whether you are buying Modafinil online or purchasing Armodafinil online, you will find them available in the form of a few popular generic brands.

    When it comes to Modafinil, there are only two generic brands consistently proven to be of sound quality and efficacy:

    • Modalert Highly recommended for individuals who have prior experience with using smart drugs. Manufactured by SUN Pharmaceuticals, it is the most powerful and long-lasting form of generic Modafinil in existence.
    • Modvigil Better suited for individuals who are new to using smart drugs and are purchasing them on a tighter budget. Manufactured by HAB Pharmaceuticals, it is equally potent compared to Modalert, but its cognition-enhancing effects do not last as long.

    Likewise, nootropic users who are buying Armodafinil online will also notice that two popular generic brands consistently appear on several vendor websites:

    • Waklert This is the “Modalert” to Armodafinil, meaning it is the most potent and longest-lasting form of generic Armodafinil on the market. Manufactured by SUN Pharmaceuticals, it can provide 8-10 hours of cognitive enhancement without interfering with a normal sleeping schedule.
    • Artvigil This is the “Modvigil” to Armodafinil. In other words, it is less potent than Waklert and its cognition-boosting effects do not last as long. Manufactured by HAB Pharmaceuticals, this choice is best suited for individuals who are looking for Armodafinil at a lower price point.

    SUN Pharmaceuticals and HAB Pharmaceuticals are both legitimate manufacturers of Modafinil and Armodafinil residing in India, having been in existence for several years and provided users with the highest-quality generic drugs available.


    As previously stated in the “Legality” section, every country chooses to categorize and regulate Modafinil in a different manner.

    This is entirely based off how their health authorities have evaluated the scientific evidence in favor of – or against – the use of Modafinil for medicinal purposes.

    However, it is safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of countries will not allow you to legally buy Modafinil without a doctor’s prescription in hand. You will also have to make your purchase at a legitimate pharmacy in-person.

    There are exceptions to this general rule, as countries like Mexico will allow you to buy Modafinil over-the-counter without a prescription.

    You are ultimately responsible for familiarizing yourself with your country’s laws and regulations around Modafinil.

    Your research will lead you to determine if it’s in your best interest to acquire a prescription for Modafinil or buy Modafinil online.


    Modafinil’s history dates all the way back to 1974 in France, when its metabolic precursor Adrafinil was discovered by two medicinal chemists working in Lafon Laboratories to find potential drug candidates for narcolepsy.

    It garnered significant interest due to its effectiveness, the lack of sedation, and the absence of side effects commonly associated with drugs like adderall that contain amphetamines — like withdrawal, jitters, etc. [27].

    Michel Jouvet, a neurophysiologist working at the same company, discovered that Modafinil was a primary metabolic product of Adrafinil. After administering Modafinil to narcoleptic patients, it was found to be faster-acting and much more effective than Adrafinil. Modafinil was approved in France in 1994 for treating narcolepsy under the brand name Modiodal.

    After pharmaceutical company Cephalon obtained an exclusive license from Lafon to manufacture Modafinil in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration approved Modafinil for treating narcolepsy in 1998 under the brand name Provigil.

    It wasn’t until 2003 where Provigil was also approved for treating excessive daytime sleepiness in obstructive sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder [28].

    Modafinil has been extensively used in the military for keeping soldiers active and alert while sleep-deprived, and famous celebrities such as Dave Asprey and Tim Ferris have publicly admitted to using it. Athletes like Barry Bonds and Kelli White have admitted to taking Modafinil, although they were banned for doing so as Modafinil is an illegal drug in competitive sports events.


    Modafinil would not have the international reputation it has in today’s world if it weren't insanely effective.

    In competitive environments where a mental advantage can be the difference between victory and defeat, Modafinil is the #1 smart drug for high-performance individuals looking for a reliable cognitive edge.

    As a smart drug known to produce endless energy, laser focus, and long-lasting motivation, Modafinil should be on everyone’s radar. There are very few nootropics in existence which can supercharge the brain like Modafinil can while simultaneously having a favorable side effect and safety profile.

    Modafinil is about the closest thing to the NZT-48 pill from the movie Limitless as you can hope to find in real life. It’s no wonder why students and writers seek it out – being able to tap into extreme levels of vigilance and persistence helps them get higher volumes of productive work done in shorter periods. Who doesn’t want that?

    The bottom line is this:

    Modafinil just works.

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    2. Wakefulness Finds a Powerful Ally. Retrieved July 19, 2020.

    3. The Real Limitless Drug Isn’t Just for Lifehackers Anymore. Retrieved July 19, 2020.

    4. Begley, Sharon. “New Ethical Minefield: Drugs to Boost Memory And Sharpen Attention,” October 1, 2004.

    5. “Why Can't We All Take Modafinil?” VICE. Accessed December 30, 2020.

    6. Rammohan KW, Rosenberg JH, Lynn DJ, Blumenfeld AM, Pollak CP, Nagaraja HN. Efficacy and safety of modafinil (Provigil) for the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a two centre phase 2 study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2002;72(2):179-183. doi:10.1136/jnnp.72.2.179

    7. Jean-Pierre P, Morrow GR, Roscoe JA, et al. A phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial of the effect of modafinil on cancer-related fatigue among 631 patients receiving chemotherapy: a University of Rochester Cancer Center Community Clinical Oncology Program Research base study. Cancer. 2010;116(14):3513-3520. doi:10.1002/cncr.25083

    8. Goss AJ, Kaser M, Costafreda SG, Sahakian BJ, Fu CH. Modafinil augmentation therapy in unipolar and bipolar depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Clin Psychiatry. 2013;74(11):1101-1107. doi:10.4088/JCP.13r08560

    9. Müller U, Rowe JB, Rittman T, Lewis C, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ. Effects of modafinil on non-verbal cognition, task enjoyment and creative thinking in healthy volunteers. Neuropharmacology. 2013;64(5):490-495. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.07.009

    10. Kaser M, Deakin JB, Michael A, et al. Modafinil Improves Episodic Memory and Working Memory Cognition in Patients With Remitted Depression: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging. 2017;2(2):115-122. doi:10.1016/j.bpsc.2016.11.009

    11. Young JW, Geyer MA. Action of modafinil–increased motivation via the dopamine transporter inhibition and D1 receptors?. Biol Psychiatry. 2010;67(8):784-787. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.12.015

    12. Taneja I, Haman K, Shelton RC, Robertson D. A randomized, double-blind, crossover trial of modafinil on mood. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007;27(1):76-79. doi:10.1097/jcp.0b013e31802eb7ea

    13. Wesensten NJ. Effects of modafinil on cognitive performance and alertness during sleep deprivation. Curr Pharm Des. 2006;12(20):2457-2471. doi:10.2174/138161206777698819

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    15. Estrada A, Kelley AM, Webb CM, Athy JR, Crowley JS. Modafinil as a replacement for dextroamphetamine for sustaining alertness in military helicopter pilots. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2012;83(6):556-564. doi:10.3357/asem.3129.2012

    16. Pigeau R, Naitoh P, Buguet A, et al. Modafinil, d-amphetamine and placebo during 64 hours of sustained mental work. I. Effects on mood, fatigue, cognitive performance and body temperature. J Sleep Res. 1995;4(4):212-228. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.1995.tb00172.x

    17. Murillo-Rodríguez E, Barciela Veras A, Barbosa Rocha N, Budde H, Machado S. An Overview of the Clinical Uses, Pharmacology, and Safety of Modafinil. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2018;9(2):151-158. doi:10.1021/acschemneuro.7b00374

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