Modafinil Not Working? | Here’s What You MUST Know

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Modafinil not working?

Then you’ve come to the perfect place for education and information awareness.

People who find that Modafinil isn’t working for them tend to fall into two camps:

The first camp is new users who are non-responsive or simply don’t feel Modafinil’s effects instantly.

The second camp is long-term users who have developed a tolerance by consistently taking high doses. They find that Modafinil’s effects diminish over time — the so-called ‘law of diminishing returns’ kicks in.

While these experiences are rare, they do happen — and there are potential solutions. Below you'll discover exactly how to make Modafinil work for you.

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Disclaimer: Modafinil.com does not offer medical diagnosis or treatment advice. Modafinil.com makes no claims that the products referenced can cure, treat or prevent any conditions, including any conditions referenced on its website or in print materials. Patients suffering from any of these conditions should consult their physician prior to using prescription medication. This information, including any referenced scientific or clinical research, is made available for educational purposes only. Modafinil.com makes every effort to ensure that any information it shares complies with national and international standards for clinical trial information and is committed to the timely disclosure of the design and results of all interventional clinical studies for innovative treatments publicly available or that may be made available. However, research is not considered conclusive. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions. Statements regarding Modafinil.com products are the opinions of the individuals making them and are not necessarily the same as those of Modafinil.com..

What is Modafinil?

First, what is Modafinil? We have a feeling you know about this smart drug if you're reading this guide, but for those who don't:

Modafinil is basically a “wakefulness-promoting” drug. It's classified as a prescription medication in most parts of the world and is sold under various brand names [1].

Modafinil was originally discovered and developed in France and is most commonly prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a condition that causes sufferers to randomly fall asleep during the day [2]. It can also be used to treat sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder.

However, Modafinil has also gained popularity with non-sufferers of these conditions, who take it ‘off prescription’ to chase numerous cognitive benefits such as:

  • 12+ hours of “laser-sharp” focus [3].
  • Increased alertness and wakefulness.
  • Longer attention span.
  • Higher productivity/less procrastination.
  • Better concentration.
  • Improved working and episodic memory [4].

You see, Modafinil doesn’t just help people stay awake and focused, it provides a fairly decent cognitive boost, too. Because of this, Modafinil has become known as the ultimate ‘nootropic’ or ‘smart drug’. In fact, many grad students, startup CEOs, and entrepreneurs buy and take it for its brain-boosting effects [5].

Modafinil ‘wakefulness’ effects aren't 100% understood but they are thought to come from the way that it boosts levels of histamine in the brain, which prevents you from feeling sleepy and helps you focus on work or tasks [6], [7]. 

Modafinil’s cognitive effects are thought to come from the fact that it inhibits (prevents) the reuptake of dopamine in the brain [8]. This creates higher levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, and gives you dramatic improvements in your memory, mood, and concentration [9].

As a study drug, we find that Modafinil has no equal. It dulls a part of the brain known as the “amygdala”, reducing its sensitivity to fear stimuli [10]. This lets you think more clearly and stay productive, even if you are stressed or trying to work or study under intense pressure.

The bottom line: There are numerous scientific studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals that support Modafinil’s effectiveness as a smart drug, such as this one [11].

If you’re wondering why Modafinil is the world's most popular smart drug, the answer is simple:

Modafinil works like nothing else.

Modafinil Side Effects and Safety

Before we talk about why Modafinil may not always work for all, let's first discuss a bit about Modafinil side effects and safety.

Modafinil certainly does have some side effects. One study looked at what happened when Modafinil was administered to patients who had been incorrectly diagnosed with narcolepsy. It found that Modafinil caused several unexpected side effects [12]:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Lumbago
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspepsia
  • Rhinitis
  • Vertigo

However, the most common side effects caused by Modafinil are [13]:

  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety

While users do need to be aware of Modafinil side effects and safety, the reality is that the vast majority of users who take Modafinil as a smart drug experience few, if any, troubling side effects.

Modafinil is commonly regarded as a safe cognitive enhancer, and various research studies have concluded that doses of up to 200mg per day cause no major side effects in healthy individuals [14].

For instance, one study [14] examined the occurrence of adverse effects among 243 members of the Republic of Singapore’s Air Force (RSAF) who were given Modafinil as a stimulant. The study concluded that at doses of 100mg per day “none of the aircrew members experienced major adverse drug events”.

The only reported side effects were:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea

That being said, further research is warranted. The smart drug craze is a newer phenomenon…especially with regards to mechanism of action. The long-term effects of Modafinil use remain largely unknown.

A study from the Korean Society of Environmental Health and Toxicology concluded that [15]:

Modafinil can be used by anyone, who wishes to work late, stay awake, enhance their cognitive reactions, or brighten their moods. Users may already be under a great level of stress, i.e. cancer patients or soldiers on a battlefield. A psychoneuroimmunological approach is thus needed to investigate the multi-functional effects of modafinil.

In layman's terms, Modafinil is a safe cognitive enhancer for healthy individuals. Mild side effects may be noted, but they are rarely, if ever, severe.

As such, it's fair to say Modafinil is well-tolerated for the majority of users.

Modafinil Not Working | For New Users?

If you’ve taken Modafinil a couple of times and it's not working, this is the section for you.

Let’s say you feel nothing. No cognitive enhancement. No energy boost.

What do you do?

The reality is that Modafinil simply doesn't work for some people. That's true for any prescription drug. Some people just don't respond to it.

However, most users find they respond well to legitimate generic Modafinil.

In fact, having worked and consulted with thousands of smart drug users, we've yet to hear from anyone who couldn't “feel” Modafinil taken at the proper dose.

If you don't feel anything, and aren’t seeing a physician about your Modafinil use, this would be a good time to do so. 

But if that’s not possible, here are a few things we’ve tried in-house to test our responses to Modafinil as a nootropic. Below you'll find our very own test for gauging Modafinil responsiveness.

The Test

This process is purely anecdotal. However, we have found it to work for us. Following the steps below, we can test our reaction to Modafinil. Well, at least to a certain extent.

Here's how we do it:

  • Step #1: We set our alarm clock for 5:30 a.m.
  • Step #2: We place an unopened 200mg Modafinil tablet on a bed stand next to a bottle of water and a small granola bar.
  • Step #3: We try to get to bed early. We want to get 5-7 hours of sleep before the alarm clock goes off.
  • Step #4: When the alarm clock rings, we eat the granola bar and take a swig of water. We then open the Modafinil tablet and take it with 6-8 ounces of water. We don't drink the whole bottle.
  • Step #5: At this point, we do NOT turn on any lights, and we do NOT get out of bed. We go straight back to sleep. We’ll make sure our room is pitch black, with no light coming in.
  • Step #6: We let our bodies wake up naturally. No more alarm clock. No light. No noise.

If we wake up within 90-180 minutes after taking the Modafinil, and our mind is kicking, and we feel energized and ready to conquer the day…

Then the Modafinil is working. 100%.

But if having followed the steps above, you still feel groggy and tired, one of three things could have happened:

  1. You're not responsive to Modafinil.
  2. The Modafinil you bought is not legitimate.
  3. You need to drink a cup of coffee.

Before digging deeper into this issue, there are a few things to note:

First, we’d note that we would not perform this test on a new batch of Modafinil. We’d take Modafinil normally to start with. We’d only use this test if we’re not feeling anything after the first couple of times of taking this nootropic.

Second, there are some anecdotal reports that healthy individuals with IQ levels above 135+ have reported struggling to feel the effects of Modafinil. If you're a legitimate genius, Modafinil may not be for you.

However, many highly intelligent people, including doctors, CEOs, and even American presidents, use Modafinil and greatly benefit from it.

No matter what, there are solutions…

Modafinil Not Working | For Long-Term Users?

If Modafinil has worked for you in the past, then you know that you're responsive to the drug. That's good news.

If you find that Modafinil is not working, generally you may be having one of two problems:

  • You’ve developed a tolerance to Modafinil.
  • You've purchased a bad batch of Modafinil from a vendor.

If you fall into the first camp, worry not It has happened to a few of us here at Modafinil.com before, and here’s what we’d normally try, as may be appropriate:

  • We’ll stop taking Modafinil for one to four weeks.
  • We’ll cut back on Modafinil only taking the smart drug 1-3 times a week. 
  • We’ll only take 200-300 mg of Modafinil at a time. Some users take 400-500 mg, but we find that’s just too much for most users on a long-term basis.
  • Combine with this gum when you start using it again.

If you've taken Modafinil daily for months on end, unless prescribed to do so, the most important step is taking a break from Modafinil. Seriously! If you stop taking Modafinil for a month, your tolerance levels should normalize.

It's that simple.

If you're taking Modafinil for narcolepsy or sleep apnea, then things might be a little more complex. See your physician. But for those of us taking Modafinil for its ‘off-label’ benefits like cognitive enhancement, taking a month off from Modafinil seems to be a prudent measure

To avoid developing Modafinil tolerance, ‘cycle’ your smart drugs. This means taking them in moderation to avoid building tolerance and having to increase your dosages.

The cycling strategy that we use for Modafinil is:

  • We limit our doses to no more than 200mg.
  • We’ll take it 1-3 times per week max
  • Every two months, we’ll take a two-week break.
  • When we aren’t taking Modafinil, we take a natural nootropic such as Mind Lab Pro.

Following this strategy helps us use Modafinil year-round without any problems arising.

The other issue could be…

 Fake Modafinil.

While there have been reports of people ordering Modafinil online and receiving fake or counterfeit goods, it's fairly easy to find legitimate online Modafinil pharmacies these days.

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If you think the Modafinil you've purchased could be fake, you could pay a laboratory to test for the R-(−)- and S-(+)-enantiomers in Modafinil — the active ingredients. If testing Armodafinil tablets, the nootropic only features one of these “active” enantiomers: R-(−)-Modafinil [16].

However, testing the authenticity of any batch Modafinil will be far more costly than simply ordering another batch.

Home testing methods to verify the authenticity of Modafinil don't really work, in our opinion. You can't just drop it in water and wait for it to dissolve. That's far from accurate!

For those technically inclined with a biology/chemistry background, you could purchase a Thin Layer Chromatography test kit. Other individuals have attempted to test the authenticity of their Modafinil batch with this method.

However, this testing kit will also likely cost more than ordering Modafinil again.

Interactions with Other Compounds?

Both new users and long-term users of Modafinil could potentially be facing yet another issue if Modafinil is not working.

While this is fairly uncommon, it should be noted that:

Modafinil can interact and interfere with other compounds, which can lead to a lack of cognitive benefits.

When taking Modafinil, most users experience an absorption rate of around 60% once ingested [17]. Yet when individuals take other supplements and medications at the same time as Modafinil, this can interfere with the absorption. This means you'll get less benefit from the Modafinil.

If you've been struggling to “feel” Modafinil, check that you’re only taking the nootropic by itself. When we use it as a smart drug, we don’t take any other supplements or medications on days we’re taking Modafinil. This helps us feel its effects.

For example, the following foods and supplements have been shown to interact with various medications, including Modafinil:

  • Antacids
  • Fiber supplements
  • Licorice
  • Activated charcoal
  • Tea

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of whether something you're taking, or eating may be causing issues with Modafinil absorption.

What’s a favorite trick to fix this potential issue?

Take Modafinil 30 minutes after a light, healthy breakfast in the morning. We do NOT take any other supplements or teas. We’ll wait another 30 minutes and then drink some coffee.

How We Make Modafinil Work

Speaking from experience, some individuals may be responsive to Modafinil, but simply may not be getting the results they're looking for. Here’s how we handle such situations:

  • Increasing the dose: A typically Modafinil dose is 200mg. If you're only taking 100mg or less, you may not feel much. If 200mg isn't working, you can try out 300mg, especially if you are heavier. Going over 400mg is not recommended, officially or elsewhere, when using Modafinil as a smart drug.
  • Splitting the dose: Another trick is to split a standard 200mg dose of Modafinil in half. We’ll take one half (100mg) early in the morning and the second half (100mg) around noon. This can help increase the absorption rate of Modafinil, for when we find ourselves hitting a plateau.
  • Not waiting: We don't wait for the Modafinil to “kick” in. We’ll take the smart drug and get to work. Members of our team report that we don't feel Modafinil until we look up at the clock and realize we've been working without a break for three or four hours. Have a plan ready to go!
  • Combining with coffee: Caffeine is a natural nootropic and mixes well with smart drugs like Modafinil. We usually go with 200mg of Modafinil and then drink a few cups of coffee 30 minutes later. This can help the nootropic effects kick in more forcefully.

The above four tips help us get the maximum benefit from our Modafinil.

Where to Buy Modafinil Online? | 2021 Guide

Last, but not least:

Buyer beware: Bad batches of generic Modafinil are out there!

This is exceptionally rare, even unheard of, when ordering from the best online Modafinil pharmacies.

However, we've heard stories of people ordering Modafinil from sketchy vendors. They get bad nootropic products and then wonder what happened.

With that in mind, here's our top-rated Modafinil vendor:

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Modafinil Not Working? | Overall

Is your Modafinil not working? Don't be alarmed; it’s happened to us, too There are a number of ways we’d go about determining why a particular  batch of Modafinil isn’t kicking in and several ways of combating any issues we might encounter.

Overall, Modafinil works for the vast majority of people who take it.

A few people don’t respond to it, and some are just too damn smart to notice the effects. If you're too smart to notice the effects of Modafinil, consider yourself blessed, and don't worry about it.

For the rest of us, Modafinil should work just fine.

Often, we find that just a few tweaks here and there will do the trick. Dosing it properly, following a cycling schedule, and being responsible are our golden rules here. Anyone with their Modafinil usage dialed in should notice a plethora of benefits from this nootropic.

References

  1. Ikeda, Y., Funayama, T., Tateno, A., Fukayama, H., Okubo, Y., & Suzuki, H. (2017, July). Modafinil enhances alerting-related brain activity in attention networks. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28374089
  2. Modafinil Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-16962/modafinil-oral/details
  3. Brühl AB, d'Angelo C, Sahakian BJ. Neuroethical issues in cognitive enhancement: Modafinil as the example of a workplace drug?. Brain Neurosci Adv. 2019;3:2398212818816018. Published 2019 Feb 15. doi:10.1177/2398212818816018
  4. Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028
  5. Gerrard, P., & Malcolm, R. (2007, June). Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/
  6. Ishizuka T, Sakamoto Y, Sakurai T, Yamatodani A. Modafinil increases histamine release in the anterior hypothalamus of rats. Neurosci Lett. 2003;339(2):143-146. doi:10.1016/s0304-3940(03)00006-5
  7. Brown RE, Stevens DR, Haas HL. The physiology of brain histamine. Prog Neurobiol. 2001;63(6):637-672. doi:10.1016/s0301-0082(00)00039-3
  8. Rasetti, R., Mattay, V. S., Stankevich, B., Skjei, K., Blasi, G., Sambataro, F., Arrillaga-Romany, I. C., Goldberg, T. E., Callicott, J. H., Apud, J. A., & Weinberger, D. R. (2010). Modulatory effects of modafinil on neural circuits regulating emotion and cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(10), 2101–2109. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2010.83
  9. Zolkowska D, Jain R, Rothman RB, et al. Evidence for the involvement of dopamine transporters in behavioral stimulant effects of modafinil. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009;329(2):738-746. doi:10.1124/jpet.108.146142
  10. Minzenberg MJ, Carter CS. Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects on cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008;33(7):1477-1502. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1301534
  11. Baranski JV, Pigeau R, Dinich P, Jacobs I. Effects of modafinil on cognitive and meta-cognitive performance. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2004 Jul;19(5):323-32. doi: 10.1002/hup.596. PMID: 15252824.
  12. Lopes E, Pereira D, da Silva Behrens NS, et al. Cataplexy as a side effect of modafinil in a patient without narcolepsy. Sleep Sci. 2014;7(1):47-49. doi:10.1016/j.slsci.2014.07.015
  13. Side Effects of Provigil (Modafinil), Warnings, Uses. (2018, May 8). Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/provigil-side-effects-drug-center.htm
  14. Ooi T, Wong SH, See B. Modafinil as a Stimulant for Military Aviators. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2019;90(5):480-483. doi:10.3357/AMHP.5298.2019
  15. Kim, Dongsoo. “Practical use and risk of modafinil, a novel waking drug.” Environmental health and toxicology vol. 27 (2012): e2012007. doi:10.5620/eht.2012.27.e2012007
  16. Loland, C. J., Mereu, M., Okunola, O. M., Cao, J., Prisinzano, T. E., Mazier, S., … Newman, A. H. (2012, September 1). R-modafinil (armodafinil): a unique dopamine uptake inhibitor and potential medication for psychostimulant abuse. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3413742/
  17. Nishino, S., & Mignot, E. (2011, October 6). Wake-Promoting Medications: Basic Mechanisms and Pharmacology. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978141606645300044X

Medically Review by:
Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPh

Table of Contents

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