Limitless Pill | Is Modafinil the “Real-Life” NZT-48?

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We’ve all seen the movie…

Guy is a bum and stumbles upon the Limitless pill, known as NZT-48 in the film.

He goes from scrub to genius within an hour. He finishes a book in a single day, starts investing, and makes a cool $2 million in just a few weeks.

“The NZT-48 or Limitless Pill is a fictional drug from the film “Limitless”. This pill does not exist in real life. In the movie, the protagonist is a deadbeat writer who is tired of being unsuccessful. He was given the NZT-48 pill [1].”

The plot is fantastic, but is the Limitless pill real?

Because you’d like that too, right? To go from barely making it each month…to absolutely crushing it.

So, can you actually get your hands on one of these Limitless Pills?

Years ago, we were in that position. We did a limitless pill review, scouring the Internet to see if there was anything like NZT-48 in real life — something that could help us make more money, get more done, and find the success we were after.

We found Modafinil.

It’s not exactly the same, but it’s what we were looking for all along, and it’s changed our lives. Keep reading for the inside scoop on what we like to call the real-life “NZT-48,” aka Modafinil — the closest thing you’re going to get to that genius pill from the movie.

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Disclaimer: The contents of are for informational and educational purposes only. We do not provide legal advice. Likewise, we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician prior to consuming Modafinil or related nootropics. Your access to is subject to our full Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

Is the ‘Limitless’ Pill Real?

Well, no.

The “NZT-48” is, of course, fictitious. And that’s probably a good thing because there’s a bunch of stuff that happens in the movie that you probably wouldn’t want in your life, severed hands included.

There is currently no pill in the world that can take you from scrub to straight ballin’ in a matter of weeks. That’s not how things work.

But that category of substances very well might exist. We’re talking about nootropics:

Substances that boost your cognition and performance.

There are a ton of nootropics that actually work — with reams of scientific evidence to prove it. And lots that people say work, but actually don’t. So, read up on the research to avoid wasting your cash and time.

One of our favorite nootropics is: Modafinil.

Modafinil is reputed to offer a lot of benefits for people looking to improve cognition and focus. If you want to work smarter and get more productive, Modafinil could very well help you.

So, ya, in a sense… Modafinil is kind of like NZT-48. But without the nasty side effects or people trying to kill you.

If you’re looking for a Limitless pill supplement, keep reading to learn more about Modafinil.

What is Modafinil?

So…what is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a pharmaceutical drug and a prescription medication. It is an eugeroic, meaning that it is used to enhance wakefulness [2]. It was developed in France in the 1970s and is primarily used to treat sleepiness due to sleep disorders like narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder [3].

It’s proven to be a very effective treatment for sleep disorders and continues to be widely prescribed for those uses. In 2017, there were over 900,000 prescriptions for it in the United States alone [4].

However, people noticed that Modafinil resulted in a bunch of other benefits over and above wakefulness. It began to be used to increase performance in a number of contexts:

  • Militaries around the world have used it to boost the performance of military personnel, including special operations units [5].
  • Astronauts use it on the International Space Station when they have to deal with disruptions in the quality of their sleep [6].
  • CEOs and startup executives have called it the “entrepreneur’s drug of choice” and use it to work 20 hour days [7].
  • Securities traders on Wall Street use it to fuel themselves through their adrenaline-filled day, calling it “Viagra for the brain” [8].
  • It’s even banned from a number of sporting leagues because it can give athletes a performance edge.

In each of these contexts, Modafinil boosts performance and cognitive function.

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Benefits of Modafinil

We’re telling you that Modafinil promises a ton of great benefits for healthy people that aren’t sleep-deprived. But if you’re a savvy consumer of nootropics, you’re going to want to see some proof behind the fancy claims people on the Internet make.

So don’t just take our word for it. Here are just a few of the benefits of Modafinil, backed by extensive research and rigorous scientific studies:

Improved Memory

Modafinil is super popular with students. Part of the reason for that is that it doesn’t just help you pull an all-nighter, but it also improves your memory for what you’ve studied.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of Modafinil on memory speed [9] and accuracy [10].

  • One study of 60 healthy volunteers found that Modafinil improved memory for recognizing visual patterns and performance on other working memory tasks [10].
  • Another study found that Modafinil significantly improved performance on computerized working memory tasks and also reduced memory error rates [11].
  • Yet another study found improvements in both episodic and working memory in individuals with depression [12].

Together, the evidence suggests that “NZT-48 Modafinil” has strong memory-boosting effects.

Insane Focus and Alertness

Most digital nomads and hustlers take Modafinil because of the cognitive benefits and the increased focus. The nootropic has been proven to leave users in a more alert state.

  • One study in sleep-deprived individuals found that Modafinil restored alertness and focus back up to non-sleep-deprived levels [13]. It’s like they just weren’t tired.
  • A second study looking at alertness in shift-work contexts found similar findings: Modafinil brought performance back up to what it would normally be if individuals weren’t short on sleep [14].
  • A third study found these same results in a sample of healthy, non-sleep-deprived individuals [15]. That demonstrates that it’s not just people who are tired or who have a disorder that benefit from Modafinil—regular, healthy people can benefit too.
  • All these findings are supported by a meta-analysis of several studies, which concluded that Modafinil has a statistically significant effect on improving attention [16].

Modafinil gives 10-12 straight hours of intense mental focus. It also lets us work faster. When we’re looking for productivity, Modafinil is our friend.

Cognitive Function

Memory and alertness are, of course, two different types of cognitive function. But Modafinil also seems to have a positive effect on a number of other types of cognitive function. Research has found evidence that Modafinil improves:

  • Spatial planning [10]
  • Visual pattern recognition [10]
  • Reaction time [10]
    planning [17]
  • Decision-making [17]
  • Rapid visual processing [18]

Say Goodbye to Fatigue

Perhaps the greatest gift that Modafinil gives is freedom from fatigue.

And that makes sense: The pill was created to promote wakefulness in shift workers who had developed sleep disorders. It does that well. You shouldn’t have a problem staying awake on this nootropic…

  • One study found a significant reduction in fatigue for patients with multiple sclerosis [19].
  • Another found that Modafinil reduced fatigue for patients taking chemotherapy [20].
  • Another found that it reduces fatigue in individuals with depression [21].
  • And two further studies found that Modafinil helped sustain alertness and performance for military personnel for 40 hours and 64 hours of wakefulness, respectively [22, 23].

If it’s good enough for helicopter pilots in the army, it’s probably good enough for you. Unless you’re working the night shift, just make sure you take it in the morning — otherwise, you may struggle to sleep.

Better Mood and Motivation

Not only does Modafinil help you stay focused and think clearly, but you can expect to be in a great mood while you’re working.

While doctors aren’t exactly sure how it affects mood, Modafinil seems to interact with dopamine pathways in the brain to produce a feeling of well-being [24]. You won’t feel “high” so to speak, but you will likely experience improved mood after taking this ‘Limitless Pill.’

That’s what they find in the research, too. Studies have consistently found that Modafinil improves motivation for work, and people taking Modafinil tend to find more pleasure in their work than control groups taking a placebo [24]. Researchers have also found that it can improve mood [25].

These mood effects also explain why Modafinil can help with depression. While it’s not a primary treatment for depression, it has been found to be an effective complementary treatment together with traditional antidepressants [3].

This is definitely consistent with our experience. We love to take Modafinil when we’re busy crushing huge amounts of client work or finishing up a tedious project. It makes that unfun work a little bit more enjoyable.

Impulse Control

The other benefit of Modafinil that researchers are currently exploring further is its ability to help control impulsive behavior [10]. Since impulsive behavior contributes to substance dependence, researchers actually think that Modafinil could be used as a treatment for addiction and substance abuse issues.

For example, it’s being investigated for use treating individuals with cocaine dependence [26] and others who abuse amphetamines [27]. So far, studies have found positive results. In one, Modafinil reduced the number of cocaine use days in a sample of cocaine abusers [28].

It could be that Modafinil eventually becomes part of the treatment protocol for these issues.

Not a Stimulant

One of the best things about Modafinil is that it’s not a stimulant. While the drug has been dubbed as a “wakefulness-promoting” nootropic, it doesn’t accomplish that the same way that other stimulants do: by ramping up your adrenal system [27].

For individuals looking to increase performance without adding more stimulants to their lifestyle (we’ve had enough coffee, haven’t we?), Modafinil may be the ideal option.

This drug helps keep you concentrated and alert, without the caffeine jitters.

Modafinil Side Effects and Safety

It’s sounding pretty appealing, right? It’s like a Limitless pill supplement except without the sketchy gangsters.

“But are there any Modafinil side effects or safety concerns?” — we hear you asking.

For the vast majority of us, the  short answer is:

Not really.

Here’s why…

Little to No Side Effects

Sure, like virtually every other drug on the market, you’ll find a list of side effects on a bunch of online websites [29]. Some of these include:

While this large list of possible side effects can look kind of scary, the reality is that the vast majority of Modafinil users do not experience these.

Research suggests that only between 5% and 10% of Modafinil users experience the most common side-effects: headache, nausea, and decreased appetite. A similar percentage of users may experience anxiety, insomnia, and dizziness [30].

Nobody in our community has reported any major Modafinil side effects, aside from occasional diarrhea and difficulty sleeping. And that’s even despite using it religiously for years.

The research on Modafinil has found that it’s a safe and well-tolerated medication for the majority of people [31, 32]. Just don’t take it before bed — it really will keep you awake.

Note: Modafinil is not approved for use in children.

Low Addiction Potential 

The other great thing about Modafinil is that it hasa very low risk of tolerance or addiction. This has been found in study after study [25, 28, 32, 33] and is, of course, part of the reason that it’s being considered as a treatment for addictions.

While there have been individual cases of dependence on Modafinil, these are rare and seem to occur only when it is being overdosed [34].

For digital nomads and hustlers looking to boost productivity 1-3 days a week, there hasn’t, to our knowledge, been a single case of addiction reported as of yet.

You’ll Make More Money

Perhaps the best consequence of Modafinil is more cash. If you want to make more money, whether it be online or in your sales position, then Modafinil is likely to help you do that.

We’ve yet to meet a solopreneur who has started using Modafinil once or twice a week and didn’t start making more money.

This smart drug allows you to nearly double your daily output. It’s like a guaranteed boost in your bottom line.

NZT-48 vs. Modafinil

So, let’s do a Limitless pill review and compare it with Modafinil:

In the movie, NZT provides a crazy cognitive boost, improves work output, and ends up making buddy a ton of money.

Research shows that Modafinil likewise provides a crazy cognitive boost and improves work output, which could allow you to make a ton of money (as long as you use your focus to actually work).

NZT also made everyone jealous and caused a bunch of ugly violence. Modafinil might make your friends jealous, but they can easily just get their own, like you did, from online vendors. No murders or severed hands required.

Does that make Modafinil better than the Limitless pill? Maybe.

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Great, so where can you get your hands on it?

Modafinil, that is…

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  • Real, legit Modafinil: It’s high-quality stuff. They don’t mess around with fillers or fakes.
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Real-Life ‘Limitless’ Pill | Verdict

So, you’ve read the real-life Limitless pill review. Is the Limitless pill real? Kind of.

Don’t mean to overhype Modafinil. The pill won’t make you into a genius. It certainly won’t automatically turn you into a millionaire or a CEO. That takes work.

But if you’re willing to do the work, Modafinil is likely to help you stay at it and get through it faster and better than before. If you make the choice to study, you’ll learn better than you otherwise would have and you’ll kill the exam.

And, if you use all that extra Modafinil to play video games, you’ll do that really well… but you won’t get rich (unless you’re a pro, of course). It’s your call.

In our view, Modafinil is the best thing we now have for people who want to buckle up and be productive. You’ll likely be more focused. You’ll likely have better cognitive function. Taking this real-life Limitless Pill is sure to help you produce positive changes in your life—as long as you want them.

While the content provided here is for informational purposes only, not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. Please consult a licensed healthcare provider.

If you combine Modafinil with a little hard work, you’ll find that it works exactly like the Limitless pill.

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  2. (2020). Modafinil.
  3. Ballas, C. A., Kim, D., Baldassano, C. F., & Hoeh, N. (2002). Modafinil: past, present and future. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 2(4), 449-457.
  4. ClinCalc (n.d.). Modafinil Drug Usage Statistics, United States, 2007 – 2017.
  5. Martin, R. (2003). It’s wake up time.
  6. Thirsk, R., Kuipers, A., Mukai, C., & Williams, D. (2009). The space-flight environment: The International Space Station and beyond. CMAJ, 180(12), 1216-1220.
  7. Arrington, R. (2008). How many Silicon Valley startup executives are hopped up on Provigil?
  8. Kolker, R. (2013). The real Limitless drug isn’t just for lifehackers anymore.
  9. Randall, D. C., Cafferty, F. H., Shneerson, J. M., Smith, I. E., Llewelyn, M. B., & File, S. E. (2005). Chronic treatment with modafinil may not be beneficial in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 19(6), 647-660.
  10. Turner, D. C., Robbins, T. W., Clark, L., Aron, A. R., Dowson, J., & Sahakian, B. J. (2003). Cognitive enhancing effects of modafinil in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology, 165(3), 260-269.
  11. Müller, U., Steffenhagen, N., Regenthal, R., & Bublak, P. (2004). Effects of modafinil on working memory processes in humans. Psychopharmacology, 177(1-2), 161-169.
  12. Kaser, M., Deakin, J. B., Michael, A., Zapata, C., Bansal, R., Ryan, D., … & Sahakian, B. J. (2017). Modafinil improves episodic memory and working memory cognition in patients with remitted depression: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2(2), 115-122.
  13. Wesensten, N. J. (2006). Effects of modafinil on cognitive performance and alertness during sleep deprivation. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 12(20), 2457-2471.
  14. Walsh, J. K., Randazzo, A. C., Stone, K. L., & Schweitzer, P. K. (2004). Modafinil improves alertness, vigilance, and executive function during simulated night shifts. Sleep, 27(3), 434-439.
  15. Cope, Z. A., Minassian, A., Kreitner, D., MacQueen, D. A., Milienne-Petiot, M., Geyer, M. A., … & Young, J. W. (2017). Modafinil improves attentional performance in healthy, non-sleep deprived humans at doses not inducing hyperarousal across species. Neuropharmacology, 125, 254-262.
  16. Kelley, A. M., Webb, C. M., Athy, J. R., Ley, S., & Gaydos, S. (2012). Cognition enhancement by modafinil: aA meta-analysis. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 83(7), 685-690.
  17. Müller, U., Rowe, J. B., Rittman, T., Lewis, C., Robbins, T. W., & Sahakian, B. J. (2013). Effects of modafinil on non-verbal cognition, task enjoyment and creative thinking in healthy volunteers. Neuropharmacology, 64, 490-495.
  18. Lees, J., Michalopoulou, P. G., Lewis, S. W., Preston, S., Bamford, C., Collier, T., … & Kapur, S. (2017). Modafinil and cognitive enhancement in schizophrenia and healthy volunteers: The effects of test battery in a randomised controlled trial. Psychological Medicine, 47(13), 2358-2368.
  19. Rammohan, K. W., Rosenberg, J. H., Lynn, D. J., Blumenfeld, A. M., Pollak, C. P., & Nagaraja, H. N. (2002). Efficacy and safety of modafinil (Provigil®) for the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a two centre phase 2 study. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 72(2), 179-183.
  20. Jean‐Pierre, P., Morrow, G. R., Roscoe, J. A., Heckler, C., Mohile, S., Janelsins, M., … & Hopkins, J. O. (2010). 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, 116(14), 3513-3520.
  21. Goss, A. J., Kaser, M., Costafreda, S. G., Sahakian, B., & Fu, C. H. (2013). Modafinil augmentation therapy in unipolar and bipolar depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 74(11), 1101-1107.
  22. Estrada, A., Kelley, A. M., Webb, C. M., Athy, J. R., & Crowley, J. S. (2012). Modafinil as a replacement for dextroamphetamine for sustaining alertness in military helicopter pilots. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 83(6), 556-567.
  23. Pigeau, R., Naitoh, P., Buguet, A., McCann, C., Baranski, J., Taylor, M., … & Mack, I. (1995). Modafinil, d‐amphetamine and placebo during 64 hours of sustained mental work. I. Effects on mood, fatigue, cognitive performance and body temperature. Journal of Sleep Research, 4(4), 212-228.
  24. Volkow, N. D., Fowler, J. S., Logan, J., Alexoff, D., Zhu, W., Telang, F., … & Hubbard, B. (2009). Effects of modafinil on dopamine and dopamine transporters in the male human brain: Clinical implications. JAMA, 301(11), 1148-1154.
  25. Hart, C. L., Haney, M., Vosburg, S. K., Comer, S. D., Gunderson, E., & Foltin, R. W. (2006). Modafinil attenuates disruptions in cognitive performance during simulated night-shift work. Neuropsychopharmacology, 31(7), 1526-1536.
  26. Anderson, A. L., Reid, M. S., Li, S. H., Holmes, T., Shemanski, L., Slee, A., … & Ciraulo, D. (2009). Modafinil for the treatment of cocaine dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 104(1-2), 133-139.
  27. Mann, N., & Bitsios, P. (2009). Modafinil treatment of amphetamine abuse in adult ADHD. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 23(4), 468-471.
  28. Mereu, M., Bonci, A., Newman, A. H., & Tanda, G. (2013). The neurobiology of modafinil as an enhancer of cognitive performance and a potential treatment for substance use disorders. Psychopharmacology, 229(3), 415-434.
  29. Cunha, J. P. (n.d.). Provigil (Modafinil) side effects drug center.
  30. Greenblatt, K., & Adams, N. (2018). Modafinil. StatPearls Publishing.
  31. Moldofsky, H., Broughton, R. J., & Hill, J. D. (2000). A randomized trial of the long-term, continued efficacy and safety of modafinil in narcolepsy. Sleep Medicine, 1(2), 109-116.
  32. Murillo-Rodríguez, E., Barciela Veras, A., Barbosa Rocha, N., Budde, H., & Machado, S. (2018). An overview of the clinical uses, pharmacology, and safety of modafinil. ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 9(2), 151-158.
  33. Rush, C. R., Kelly, T. H., Hays, L. R., Baker, R. W., & Wooten, A. F. (2002). Acute behavioral and physiological effects of modafinil in drug abusers. Behavioural Pharmacology, 13(2), 105-115.
  34. Krishnan, R., & Chary, K. V. (2015). A rare case modafinil dependence. Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, 6(1), 49-54.

Medically Review by:
Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPh

Table of Contents

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