Mixing Modafinil and Alcohol | What You MUST Know


Mixing Modafinil and alcohol was never on my agenda.

I'd taken 200mg of the nootropic and had planned to work all day, but plans changed. It was 8:00 pm and I'd worked for around 10 hours. My motivation was dwindling, and I'd already accomplished a lot that day.

Then I got a text. My boy wanted to grab beers because the NBA Finals was on. I thought about it. A few cold brews never hurt anyone, even when using Modafinil. So I agreed.

After all, we were living in the Caribbean. I couldn't turn down drinking some Presidente Beers at the local colmado while watching the game.  See, the colmado is like a small, local grocery store in the Dominican Republic (DR). They set up chairs and bring out a huge 72″ flat screen when big games are on. The NBA Finals is always a big game in the DR.

That night I proceeded to down five beers, while enjoying the game with my boy and many Dominicans. My Spanish was surprisingly good thanks to the combination of alcohol and Modafinil.

Then I went to sleep around 1:00 am without any issue. I woke up the next morning feeling fine. No hangover from the alcohol or Modafinil.

Mixing a little booze after taking Modafinil seemed like a pretty good deal, then I started looking into the science behind mixing prescription-strength smart drugs with alcohol.

Let's just say it's not a great idea…

So below we'll discuss everything you need to know about the topic, including:

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How Modafinil Works?

To fully understand how Modafinil works, we need to take a look at the history of this nootropic and why it was initially created.

Created in France during the 1970s as a pharmaceutical-grade wakefulness agent, Modafinil was designed to make it impossible to feel fatigue or fall asleep [1].

The drug was created for individuals who suffered from sleep-related ailments, like [2]:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Severe sleep apnea
  • Shift sleep disorder

The pharmaceutical drug quickly made its way to the United States, and this is when grad students, startup CEOs, and other high-achievers began to realize the insane off-the-label uses of Modafinil.

Off-the-label uses and benefits like [3]:

  • Ability to stay focused for 12+ hours
  • Minimal side effects
  • Improved memory retention and recall
  • Overall enhanced cognitive function
  • Increased daily productivity and output
  • Improved mood and sense of well-being

Basically, individuals could take Modafinil for off-the-label purposes as a smart drug or nootropic. When using Modafinil for these purposes, many users felt their brain was “supercharged” and they could get a step ahead of the competition.

This is why Modafinil has become exceptionally popular.

Because the nootropic offers insane cognitive benefits that ensure you'll get more stuff done, improve your grades in university, and/or make more money.

There's a damn good reason Modafinil is the #1 nootropic in the world…

Modafinil just works, mate!

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How Alcohol Works?

You know the basics of how alcohol works within the mind and body…

People drink to relax, to enjoy social events, to feel uninhibited, etc. It's a social “drug” in most cases, rarely used for “focus” or anything of the sort.

While Modafinil tends to make people more productive, Alcohol offers the opposite.

Nobody is more productive when drinking than when sober. Well, except for alcoholics. Functional alcoholics.

Alcohol works within the body and brain as a depressant [4]. And while Modafinil is technically not a stimulant due to how the smart drug works within the brain, there's no denying it has stimulant-like effects.

Thus, Modafinil and alcohol are essentially opposites. An upper and a downer.

While Modafinil basically stimulates neurotransmitters designed to make us feel more focused and alert [5] — alcohol attacks certain neurotransmitters that make us feel relax, uninhibited, and even tired [6].

See, both alcohol and Modafinil [7] affect on two specific neurotransmitters in the brain [8]:

  • GABA
  • Glutamate

Yet they affects these neurotransmitters in different ways, which can be dangerous.

Alcohol essentially increases GABA activity in the brain, all the while decreasing Glutamate production. Modafinil does the opposite.

Mixing Modafinil and Alcohol | What the Studies Says

While mixing Modafinil and alcohol isn't a death sentence, I'm not sure I recommend it. Mixing booze and prescription drugs is a slippery slope that can lead to some dangerous situations.

And I'm not the only one who says that. Many a doctor warns against the practice. Hell, it's specifically stated to not do this [2]:

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking modafinil.

However, there's never much reasoning given to the “why?” in all the literature I've found. Many sites say that mixing alcohol and Modafinil is a bad idea, but there's no reasoning given. It's just assumed that mixing prescription drugs and alcohol is a horrible idea.

Which is generally best practice. Do NOT mix prescription drugs with alcohol.

There was a full study on the effects, but the results were never published [9]:

Terminated: This study should be terminated as the study closed prior to 2007 and the investigator has since retired. No records are available.

Overall, you won't find much information on the effects of boozing while on smart drugs in the medical community.

Generally, it's considered a bad idea. Doctors don't want people mixing prescription drugs with alcohol, but the full reasoning isn't given.

However, when we look at the information above pertaining to GABA and glutamate, it's easy to see where the danger lies.

Modafinil and alcohol affect the brain in polar opposite manners. As such, the amount of stress put on your neurotransmitters when combining these two substances is simply not safe. Aka your brain is in the “danger zone” when combining these two potent substances.

How to sleep on modafinil

Dangers When Mixing Alcohol and Modafinil

So, what's the downside of mixing Modafinil and alcohol? What are the negative consequences of such a combination? Let's take a look.

Here are my observations along with those found on certain online forums:

  • You Feel Fine: This could be a positive or a negative, depending on how you look at it. Either way, it can be dangerous. When you drink booze after taking Modafinil, you'll often feel great. You'll feel the positive effects of the liquor without any of the negatives. This often leads to over-drinking, as individuals feel fine and do not realize how drunk they are. This usually ends with people drinking well past their normal limit.
  • Unknowingly Drunk Quicker: While you won't feel it, many report getting drunk quicker when taking Modafinil. Essentially, the “body” will get drunk, but the mind won't feel it. Modafinil suppresses appetite. Thus, many users don't eat much during the day when taking the smart drug. Then they go out at night drinking and end up getting wasted much faster due to the lack of food in the stomach and the smart drug. The problem remains that it's almost impossible to feel how drunk you are when taking this nootropic.
  • Getting Sick: I haven't had this issue, but many users report horrific hangovers when mixing alcohol and Modafinil. Some even claim to get sick for a few days after the consuming a combination of smart drugs and booze. That's not good. Personally, I wouldn't recommend drinking heavy after taking 200 mg of Modafinil or more, as the hangover could be hellish.
  • Long Half-Life: Modafinil has a long half-life. If you take the pill at 7:00 AM, the effects will still be pumping through your body at midnight. As such, you cannot take Modafinil the same day you plan to drink and expect the two substances won't mix. That's just not how Modafinil works.
  • Not Recommended: Last, but not least – no doctor has ever recommended this combination. To keep things simple, you should try to avoid mixing these two substances whenever possible. Digesting smart drugs and booze at the same time is hard on the body.
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Any Benefits?

While Alcohol and Modafinil is certainly not recommended, there are some benefits to mixing the two.

I'm not a fan, but others have reported:

  • Unable to Blackout: When you mix this nootropic with booze, you'll find it darn near impossible to blackout. You'll be able to drink a lot without the fear of passing out or forgetting what happened throughout the night. Modafinil improves cognition whether you're sober or drunk.
  • Increased Tolerance: Modafinil will increase your boozing tolerance. You'll be able to drink more than usual after a day using the nootropic because your mind won't feel the drunkenness. Some consider this a positive, especially if they're looking to rage all night long. Personally, I'm not so sure that it's a benefit.
  • Hangover Cure: While boozing on Modafinil isn't my cup of tea, I'm a huge fan of taking Modafinil on days when you have a hangover. There's nothing like waking up feeling awful and popping 200 mg of Modafinil. You'll be productive within two hours instead of sitting in your bed all day.

Three Specific Situations…

Alright, so now that you know a little more about mixing Modafinil and booze, let's discuss three different ways people mix the two potent substances.

Here's generally how Modafinil and alcohol get mixed:

~ Drinking the Day After Consuming Modafinil ~

This shouldn't be an issue. Modafinil only has a half-life of around 15 hours. If you take Modafinil and go to sleep – then wake up the next day and start drinking, the effects of the smart drug will have worn off.

You'll be able to drink as normal without any change in effect, drunkenness, or hangover.

While Modafinil can be hard on the immune system, drinking can too. Be careful about stacking too many of these days together.

~ Drinking After Taking Modafinil in the Morning ~

This seems to be the most common situation.

Someone takes the smart drug in the morning and then goes out with friends in the evening to drink. During these situations, Modafinil's effects are still in play due to the half-life.

Your tolerance levels will go up, and you should feel fine, but you may get drunk quicker due to lack of food consumption. The following day an awful hangover is common due to the excessive drinking Modafinil allows you to partake in.

~ Drinking Right After Taking Modafinil ~

Some users report taking Modafinil immediately before a big night out. This is similar to users who mix Adderall and alcohol to ensure they can party all night long.

Modafinil will keep you awake for hours on end – no matter how much booze you consume.

This is not recommended.

You can end up in a state where you can't sleep, but you're so drunk your body needs to pass out. It can be dangerous and messy. Avoid this.

Modafinil and Alcohol | The Verdict

Overall, I wouldn't recommend mixing booze and smart drugs.

It just isn't a great idea for the body, especially on a regular basis. Use your Modafinil time for productive endeavors and drink on different days.

The main reason…

The chance for dangerous side effects from both substances is drastically increased when mixing alcohol and Modafinil. Significant side effects that are rare when using the two substances separately.

Modafinil is for work. Booze is for play. Don't mix the two!

Oh, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Sound off in the comments and I'll do my best to get back to you with the detailed information you need to succeed.

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  1. Staff, Edited by Editorial. “Can Modafinil Treat Cocaine Addiction & Amphetamine Withdrawal?” American Addiction Centers, americanaddictioncenters.org/addiction-medications/modafinil.
  2. “Modafinil: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings.” Drugs.com, www.drugs.com/cdi/modafinil.html.
  3. Gerrard, Paul, and Robert Malcolm. “Mechanisms of Modafinil: A Review of Current Research.” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Dove Medical Press, June 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/.
  4. DiSalvo, David. “What Alcohol Really Does to Your Brain.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 12 Aug. 2015, www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/10/16/what-alcohol-really-does-to-your-brain/#721c8c20664e.
  5. Ferraro, L, et al. “The Antinarcoleptic Drug Modafinil Increases Glutamate Release in Thalamic Areas and Hippocampus.” Neuroreport, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8 Sept. 1997, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9376524.
  6. Banerjee, Niladri. “Neurotransmitters in Alcoholism: A Review of Neurobiological and Genetic Studies.” Indian Journal of Human Genetics, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, Jan. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065474/.
  7. Ferraro, L, et al. “The Vigilance Promoting Drug Modafinil Decreases GABA Release in the Medial Preoptic Area and in the Posterior Hypothalamus of the Awake Rat: Possible Involvement of the Serotonergic 5-HT3 Receptor.” Neuroscience Letters, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 6 Dec. 1996, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8977135.
  8. Petroff, Ognen A C. “GABA and Glutamate in the Human Brain.” The Neuroscientist : a Review Journal Bringing Neurobiology, Neurology and Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12467378.
  9. “Modafinil-Alcohol Interactions in Healthy Volunteers – No Study Results Posted.” No Study Results Posted – ClinicalTrials.gov, clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT00305292.

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