Modafinil Overdose | Should You Be Concerned?

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If you’re thinking about trying Modafinil, you might be wondering:

Is Modafinil overdose possible?

That’s the fear, right? What happens if you accidentally take too much—can you overdose on Modafinil? Will you get sick? Will you have to go to the hospital? Is it life-threatening?

Here’s the short answer:

You’re pretty safe if you accidentally overdose on Modafinil overdose…

  • There have been no fatalities recorded from taking Modafinil.
  • It’s hard to accidentally overdose on Modafinil because it comes in a pre-packaged pill format.
  • Even massive doses way above the recommended daily dose, while they can result in uncomfortable side effects, do not result in fatalities.

But you’re a savvy nootropic user, so you probably want to see some of the science and the studies to make an informed decision about whether Modafinil is right for you. Well, we’ve got you covered.

Keep reading for a summary of the science on Modafinil side effects, safety, overdose information, and proper dosage.

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This is not legal or medical advice. This article was strictly created for your entertainment. Please consult with your primary care physician or a medical professional with close working knowledge of your health -- before consuming pharmaceutical drugs or nootropics, like Modafinil. Please read my disclaimer.

What is Modafinil?

Here’s a quick rundown of the basics.

Modafinil improves cognitive performance for many individuals — while also functioning as a pharmaceutical drug to treat many conditions.

Modafinil is one of the most powerful nootropics out there. It’s a prescription medication that was originally developed by French researchers to promote wakefulness [1]. It’s really effective, and is currently used as a prescription medication around the world to combat sleepiness that results from [2]:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Shift work sleep disorder
  • Sleep apnea

Currently, it’s prescribed to over 900,000 people in the US [3]. It’s very commonly used.

It’s so effective that it’s also used by a number of other contexts where it’s important to have high performance with little sleep. For example:

  • Militaries use it for special operations [4].
  • It’s used by astronauts at the International Space Station [5].
  • CEOs and other business executives use it to pump out 80 hour work weeks [6].
  • Wall Street securities traders use it to boost their trading performance [7].

It isn’t just for people that need to perform with relatively little sleep: it’s also been found to be a potent nootropic or smart drug. While the research is still relatively new for discovering how it can boost cognitive performance, there are lots of studies showing compelling effects:

  • It’s been found to improve memory [8, 9].
  • It creates lazer focus and alertness [10, 11].
  • It enhances spatial planning [9].
  • It locks in visual pattern recognition [9].
  • It quickens reaction time [9].
  • It enables more effective planning [12].
  • It supports effective decision-making [12].
  • It speeds up visual processing [13].
  • It enhances motivation for work [14].
  • It boosts mood [15].

In our experience, Modafinil offers 12+ hours of straight mental focus. As such, many Silicon Valley CEOs, hustlers, and straight-A students started using the smart drug for the cognitive benefits. The benefits allowed these individuals to have a massive advantage over the competition.

In fact, Modafinil might just be the most popular nootropic in the world outside a good ole’ fashion cup of coffee.

It’s basically the “Limitless pill” in real life.

Modafinil Side Effects and Safety Concerns

So it works. But now you want to know about the safety profile. What are Modafinil side effects? Is it safe to use?

Basically yes.

Sure, like any other prescription medication, there are some potential side effects from using it [16]. These include:

But keep in mind that these are uncommon. Clinical studies on Modafinil finds that over 90% of users don’t report any side effects [17]. That’s consistent with reports from our community on this site: the vast majority don’t report any side effects outside of occasional diarrhea and difficulty sleeping.

Researchers have consistently found that Modafinil is well-tolerated, safe, and has a low likelihood of abuse [18, 19].

Modafinil Overdose | Is It Possible?

Okay, but what about overdose? What if you take way too much? Is a Modafinil overdose possible?

Technically, a person “overdoses” any time they take a dose that is greater than the recommended dose.

The maximum recommended daily Modafinil dosage is 400mg. That means that any time a person takes over 400mg they have “overdosed”.

So if your question is “can you overdose on Modafinil?”, the answer is “yes”. You’re overdosing any time you take over 400mg.

What are the risks from Modafinil overdose?

For most prescription medications, there are some serious health and safety risks from taking over and above the recommended dose. For many drugs—alcohol, sedatives, and even caffeine—taking too high of a dose will result in toxicity and can even be lethal.

Not Modafinil.

Why?

Modafinil has a massive “safety window” per se.

When you’re taking a substance and trying to get the dose right, you’re essentially trying to find a dosage level that is high enough that you see an effect, but low enough that you don’t accidentally take too much and put yourself at risk.

So there is a kind of “window” between the lowest dose that provides an effect and the highest dose that doesn’t result in negative effects.

That “window” for Modafinil dosage is massive.

Research finds that doses as little as 100mg can have an effect. The maximum recommended daily dose is 400mg—almost 4 times the minimum dose that can lead to an effect. So it’s easy to get an effective dose that’s still lower than the maximum dose you should take.

And, case reports have found that taking as much as 5,000mg—50 pills, or several months worth of Modafinil in a single day—does not result in Modafinil sudden death [20].

So you’re almost never going to fall out of this “safety window”.

No deaths from Modafinil have been reported.

There is also no Modafinil sudden death from overdosing.

Research testing the effects of overdose found that taking as much as 5 to 8 times the recommended dose (1,000 to 1,200mg a day for up to three weeks) did not result in “any unexpected or life-threatening effects” [21]. Even research giving massive doses of up to 4,500mg in one day did not result in life-threatening conditions [21].

In one case, someone took up to 8g of the stuff—20 times the maximum recommended daily dose. They experienced adverse side effects but didn’t die [22].

Just for reference…

A “normal” dose of Modafinil is 200mg. 8,000mg of Modafinil is absolutely insane!

While taking doses much greater than the recommended Modafinil dosage could result in adverse side effects, it’s not going to kill you.

Modafinil is easy to dose.

One way people overdose is by accident. This can happen when you have to gauge the dose yourself like you sometimes have to do with Phenibut and other nootropics. You might accidentally take too much.

But Modafinil is easy to dose. It usually comes in pills of 100mg or 200mg. The recommended dose is between 100mg and 200mg. So you just take one pill. It’s easy.

You’re not going to overdose by accident.

Accidental ingestion is safe, too.

One worry for people that have children is accidental ingestion. Indeed, Modafinil has not undergone safety testing for pediatric populations and should not be used in children.

Children should not take Modafinil.

But, in cases where children have accidentally ingested Modafinil, they’ve been fine.

Children as young as 11 months old have accidentally ingested Modafinil and have remained in stable condition [21]. The highest reported mg-to-weight ratio reported was a 3-year-old that ingested between 800 to 1,000mg, or about 50 to 63mg per kg of weight. He, too, remained stable and was ultimately fine [21].

So, you should of course keep Modafinil, like all prescription medication, away from kids. But, should they accidentally get into it, odds are that they’ll be fine.

Modafinil overdose is not lethal.

Modafinil overdose is certainly possible. If you take more than the maximum recommended daily dose, you’ll probably experience some unpleasant effects like tachycardia, insomnia, agitation, dizziness, and anxiety.

That’s why it’s important to stick to a solid dosing protocol, which we’ll outline below.

But Modafinil overdose will not be lethal.

All of the studies that we could find say that there have been no reported Modafinil sudden deaths, including in people that have taken up to 8,000mg in one day [21, 22, 23, 24].

Modafinil is 100% SAFE

The research finds that Modafinil is safe and well-tolerated for basically everyone [18, 19].

Authors of a comprehensive review of Modafinil and its effects have concluded, “Modafinil seems to be the first ‘smart drug’ that is reasonably safe for healthy people” [25].

Yes, you should be sure to remember to eat and drink while you’re on Modafinil to reduce the chance of getting a headache or nausea. Yes, you shouldn’t pop Modafinil like jelly beans.

But even if you do, you’re not going to die. It’s 100% safe.

How to Take Modafinil Properly

If you have concerns about using pharmaceutical drugs to increase your productivity and make more money or get better grades, you’re not alone. We’ve all been a bit nervous when the first time using smart drugs. That’s normal.

To ease your concerns, there are a few ways to mitigate any minor risks, while having the best overall experience with Modafinil.

So, here are a few tips to avoid a Modafinil overdose:

  • Start Small: Before you get all gung-ho on Modafinil, make sure to test how your body responds to the smart drug. You should do this with any smart drug. There’s always a chance you’re allergic or your body just reacts strangely. Start with 100mg of Modafinil on your first day and see how things go. If all is good, bump it up to 200mg of Modafinil and go from there. Most people don’t need more than 200mg.
  • Low Dosage: While the maximum recommended daily Modafinil dosage is 400mg, we don’t advise anyone to take more than 300mg in a single day. We usually only take 200mg of Modalert on any given day, and that’s more than enough to work 12 straight hours.
  • Morning Dosing: Always take Modafinil before 11 AM. The earlier you take the smart drug, the better. Why? Because Modafinil has a half-life of 12+ hours. If you plan on getting to sleep before midnight, you need to take this nootropic early in the morning. That way you’ll eliminate the chance of screwing up your sleep schedule.
  • Never On An Empty Stomach: Eat a huge breakfast before taking Modafinil. Let your food digest for an hour or so. Then take the smart drug. This should help eliminate most of the potential stomach issues.
  • Drink Water: Lastly, make sure you drink water while taking Modafinil. We often forget to drink enough water and then end up with a Modafinil headache. It’s just because we’re dehydrated. By drinking enough water, you can eliminate most of the side effects of Modafinil overdose.

Modafinil Overdose | The Verdict

So, can you overdose on Modafinil? Yes, if you take over 400mg, you’re overdosing. And you might see some negative side effects. But you’re not going to die.

Overall, you shouldn’t have any concerns about death from Modafinil overdose.

We’re obviously not doctors, and this isn’t medical advice. But we are researchers—and the research is pretty clear that fatalities from Modafinil overdose don’t occur. You obviously should be careful and not take more than the recommended daily dose of 400mg. As we’ve said, you don’t need to: 200mg is virtually always enough.

But you don’t need to worry about a Modafinil overdose fatality. They just don’t happen.

Stick to around 200mg Modafinil when taking the smart drug and you should be perfectly fine.

Here’s to staying safe with the premier form of cognitive enhancement on the market… Modafinil!

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References

  1. Drugs.com (2020). Modafinil. https://www.drugs.com/monograph/modafinil.html
  2. Ballas, C. A., Kim, D., Baldassano, C. F., & Hoeh, N. (2002). Modafinil: past, present and future. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 2(4), 449-457.
  3. ClinCalc (n.d.). Modafinil Drug Usage Statistics, United States, 2007 – 2017. https://clincalc.com/DrugStats/Drugs/Modafinil
  4. Martin, R. (2003). It’s wake up time. https://www.wired.com/2003/11/sleep/
  5. Thirsk, R., Kuipers, A., Mukai, C., & Williams, D. (2009). The space-flight environment: The International Space Station and beyond. CMAJ, 180(12), 1216-1220.
  6. Arrington, R. (2008). How many Silicon Valley startup executives are hopped up on Provigil? https://techcrunch.com/2008/07/15/how-many-of-our-startup-executives-are-hopped-up-on-provigil/
  7. Kolker, R. (2013). The real Limitless drug isn’t just for lifehackers anymore. https://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/modafinil-2013-4/
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Cunha, J. P. (n.d.). Provigil (Modafinil) side effects drug center. https://www.rxlist.com/provigil-side-effects-drug-center.htm
  17. Greenblatt, K., & Adams, N. (2018). Modafinil. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531476/
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Neuman, G., Shehadeh, N., & Pillar, G. (2009). Unsuccessful suicide attempt of a 15 year old adolescent with ingestion of 5000 mg modafinil. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 5(4), 372-373.
  21. FDA (n.d.). Provigil: highlights of prescribing information. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/020717s037s038lbl.pdf
  22. Spiller, H. A., Hays, H. L., & Aleguas, A. (2013). Overdose of drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: clinical presentation, mechanisms of toxicity, and management. CNS drugs, 27(7), 531-543.
  23. Modafinil overdose. (2018) Reactions Weekly 1690136-238. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40278-018-42202-6
  24. Spiller, H. A., Borys, D., Griffith, J. R., Klein-Schwartz, W., Aleguas, A., Sollee, D., … & Sawyer, T. S. (2009). Toxicity from modafinil ingestion. Clinical Toxicology, 47(2), 153-156.
  25. Thompson, H. (2015). Narcolepsy medication modafinil is world’s first safe ‘smart drug’. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/20/narcolepsy-medication-modafinil-worlds-first-safe-smart-drug

Table of Contents

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