Sublingual Modafinil | What You MUST Know

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Skeptical about sublingual modafinil? You’re definitely not alone.

It’s a unique type of modafinil that — surprise — is taken sublingually (dissolved under the tongue), rather than swallowed like a traditional pill.

There are several benefits to taking drugs sublingually, but there are still many lingering questions about whether or not sublingual modafinil is worth buying.

Here’s what we know about sublingual modafinil, its pros and cons and where to buy it.

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What Is Sublingual Modafinil?

As we mentioned above, sublingual modafinil is a form of the drug modafinil that’s dissolved under the tongue rather than swallowed like the pill forms of modafinil.

Modafinil is a prescription medication that was originally developed for the treatment of various sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder. It’s designed to help these people be more awake and alert during the day time, or — in the case of shift workers — during their working hours [1, 2].

However, doctors also prescribe it to help with fatigue related to many other conditions (multiple sclerosis and depression, for instance). As a wakefulness agent, it also offers many cognitive benefits in addition to energy — like increasing focus and concentration. For this reason, it’s commonly prescribed for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It’s also a popular nootropic, or “smart drug,” and many nootropics users report that it helps them to focus more, retain information better and power through their day more efficiently [3, 4].

Sublingual Modafinil vs. Provigil

Provigil is the original modafinil, manufactured by Cephalon Labs. It’s an oral tablet that comes in 200 mg form, but can be split in half if needed.

Since generics were first made available, several generic versions of modafinil have been introduced to the market. While many of these are essentially identical to Provigil, some also offer 100 mg pill formulations.

However, there appears to be only one modafinil generic with a sublingual route of administration, and it’s called Modafil MD. It comes in either 100 mg or 200 mg tablets that are designed specifically to be dissolved under the tongue rather than swallowed.

Theoretically, all of these different formulations and brands should offer the same benefits because they contain the same active ingredient (modafinil); however, that hasn’t been our experience, nor does it line up with what other nootropics users report. Certain generic modafinil products just seem to be more effective than others.

Sublingual Modafinil Benefits

There are several reported nootropic benefits to modafinil. Here are the ones that also align with existing research on modafinil and how it affects the brain:

  • More energy. Several studies have noted that modafinil can help reduce fatigue in people with many different conditions — including depression and multiple sclerosis. It’s also been used to help sleep deprived (but otherwise healthy) fighter pilots stay awake and alert. Many users report that modafinil helps them to stay awake without feeling buzzed or jittery for the full day — with no crash either [5, 6, 7].
  • Better memory, concentration and decision making. A study in healthy adults found that — after a single dose of 200 mg modafinil — participants experienced improved memory, pattern recognition, planning and decision making. Many people who use modafinil for its nootropic benefit report that these benefits are more valuable to them than the increased energy — they’re looking for a boost in focus [8].
  • Improved mood. In depressed people, modafinil might be a good complement to traditional therapies — like counseling and medication. A review of trials found that modafinil helped improve depression symptoms in people with major depression and bipolar depression [9].

Unfortunately, the evidence for modafinil’s brain-enhancing effects in healthy people is sparse. However, one review suggests that many of the studies investigating modafinil effects on healthy people note that it improves executive functioning (decision making), attention, learning and memory — with very limited side effects or mood changes. Our own experience and anecdotal reports from nootropics users line up with this, although we’re looking forward to seeing more research on the cognitive enhancement potential of modafinil in otherwise healthy people [10].

Additionally, there are several benefits to the sublingual administration of drugs. Here are a few ways that it stands out compared to the traditional route of administration, which is to swallow a pill.

Taking drugs sublingually helps reduce pill burden among people who have to take a lot of pills daily, and also provides an alternative route of administration for people who have trouble swallowing pills. But one of the most interesting benefits of sublingual drugs is that they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream [11].

Traditional pills have to pass through the entire digestive system and are then transported to the liver where they can be significantly changed during liver metabolism. This is known as the “first pass effect,” and it happens to many drugs [12, 13].

However, because sublingual drugs are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, they skip digestion and liver metabolism — meaning they take effect more quickly and they may be more powerful than the same dose of drug when taken in pill form.

Unfortunately, no research has been done on sublingual modafinil directly, so we can’t say for sure whether it provides any benefits beyond the pill form of modafinil. In fact, nootropics users who have reported using sublingual modafinil before — although few and far between — typically are unimpressed by it and prefer other types of modafinil.

Sublingual Modafinil Side Effects

Like the name brand Provigil and other generic versions, sublingual modafinil has many potential side effects. Here are the most common side effects of modafinil, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine [2]:

  • “headache
  • dizziness
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • gas
  • heartburn
  • loss of appetite
  • unusual tastes
  • dry mouth
  • excessive thirst
  • nosebleed
  • flushing
  • sweating
  • tight muscles or difficulty moving
  • back pain
  • confusion
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
  • burning, tingling, or numbness of the skin
  • difficulty seeing or eye pain”

Additionally, they warn that the following severe side effects require urgent medical attention:

  • “rash
  • blisters
  • peeling skin
  • mouth sores
  • hives
  • itching
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • chest pain
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • frenzied, abnormally excited mood
  • hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • thinking about killing or harming yourself”

Based on our experience and what others have reported in forums, the most common side effect of modafinil use is headaches. Fortunately, we’ve got a helpful guide on how to get rid of modafinil headaches if this is something you’ve experienced.

Interestingly, sublingual modafinil may have the unfortunate side effect of unpleasant body odor. Two different Reddit users mentioned that taking sublingual Modafinil made them stink or made their sweat smell bad. This side effect doesn’t appear to be typical for the pill form of modafinil based on what we’ve heard and read, so it may be related to the sublingual route of administration.

Where To Buy Sublingual Modafinil Online? | 2022 Guide

Interested in purchasing some sublingual modafinil? We recommend a vendor called Modafinil XL. They sell Modafil MD — currently the only brand of sublingual modafinil on the market — in both 100 mg and 200 mg versions. It costs about $1 per tablet, but larger quantities have a lower per-tablet price.

We like Modafinil XL because they ship worldwide, use professional packaging and provide flexible payment options. With an $80 purchase, you can get free standard shipping, and with a $180 purchase you can get free express shipping. You can also get a 20% discount on your entire purchase if you pay with Bitcoin.

Finally, they’re also trusted among online nootropics communities as a company that won’t rip you off.

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Is Sublingual Modafinil Legal?

The legality of modafinil (and therefore, sublingual modafinil) depends on where you live. For instance, in the United States it’s a legal Schedule IV prescription drug — meaning it carries with it a low risk of abuse. It’s also a legal prescription drug in the UK [14].

Before purchasing online, make sure you understand the legality of modafinil in your country.

To date, we have not heard of a single case in the U.S. of an individual facing legal trouble for having purchased modafinil for individual use online.

How Long Does Sublingual Modafinil Take To Work?

Unfortunately, this is a tough question to answer because we know so little about sublingual modafinil. It’s not widely used by nootropics enthusiasts, so there aren’t a ton of reports online about it.

Most users of modafinil in its pill form report that they feel the effects 1-2 hours after ingestion.

Theoretically, because sublingual modafinil absorbs directly into the bloodstream, it should be felt more quickly than the pill form of modafinil [15].

However, this doesn’t really seem to be the case among the few people who have tried it and shared their experience online.

In fact, many people in online nootropics forums report a preference for other modafinil generics — like Modalert and Modvigil.

Sublingual Modafinil Dosage and Tolerance

Sublingual modafinil comes in two dosages: 100 mg and 200 mg. Surprisingly, the 200 mg tablets are the less expensive choice if you’re buying larger quantities on Modafinil XL.

200 mg of modafinil is the standard prescription dose given to people who need the drug to help them stay awake. However, nootropics users report great success with modafinil doses varying from 50 mg to up to 300 mg per day.

Fortunately, modafinil carries with it a very low risk of abuse, and you’re unlikely to build up a tolerance to the drug.

In our experience, it’s best to be cautious when trying a new nootropic — and even when trying a different type of modafinil. We find it best to start slowly with the lowest dose possible, carefully monitoring our reaction to the drug and reassessing dosage from there.

Sublingual Modafinill vs. Modalert vs. Modvigil vs. Provigil

So if you’ve checked out Modafinil XL, you might be a little overwhelmed at just how many different types of modafinil there are. Should you buy the sublingual modafinil or stick with something like Modalert, which is more widely used among nootropics enthusiasts?

We recommend the latter for a few reasons, but first let’s do a quick rundown of some of the most common types of modafinil:

  • Provigil: This is the name brand of modafinil from Cephalon Labs. It’s not widely used among the nootropics set.
  • Modalert: Modalert is one of several types of generic modafinil. Based on our experience, as well as user reports on Reddit and nootropics forums, it seems to be the most potent in terms of brain-enhancing effects.
  • Modvigil: Like Modalert, Modvigil is another type of generic modafinil. Nootropics users like it because it’s actually the least expensive type, but they still report that it’s effective.

Out of all versions of modafinil — name brand Provigil and sublingual Modafil MD included — we recommend sticking to Modalert and Modvigil. They’re easy to purchase on Modafinil XL, and both are widely used by nootropics users. Their manufacturers have been around for a while and have established better reputations than some other modafinil manufacturers.

And finally, many people have reported that they seem to be more effective than other types of modafinil, despite containing the same amount of active ingredient. This suggests there could be quality control issues with others, which leads us to think that sticking with Modalert or Modvigil are the best options.

Sublingual Modafinil Review | Verdict?

Sublingual modafinil is a type of modafinil that you take by dissolving in under your tongue, rather than swallowing like a pill. As of right now, the only type of sublingual modafinil on the market is Modafil MD — which is available for purchase at Modafinil XL.

Sublingual medications are able to enter directly into the bloodstream, bypassing digestion and liver metabolism — which means that they might be stronger than pill forms of the same medication. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Modafil MD based on the user reports we’ve seen.

Unless you need to take sublingual modafinil because you have trouble swallowing pills, we recommend sticking to other types — namely, Modalert or Modvigil.

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References

  1. Takenoshita S, Nishino S. Pharmacologic Management of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. Sleep Med Clin. 2020;15(2):177-194. doi:10.1016/j.jsmc.2020.02.006
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Modafinil. MedlinePlus website. February 15, 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a602016.html
  3. Peñaloza RA, Sarkar U, Claman DM, Omachi TA. Trends in on-label and off-label modafinil use in a nationally representative sample. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(8):704-706. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2807
  4. Wilms W, Woźniak-Karczewska M, Corvini PF, Chrzanowski Ł. Nootropic drugs: Methylphenidate, modafinil and piracetam – Population use trends, occurrence in the environment, ecotoxicity and removal methods – A review. Chemosphere. 2019;233:771-785. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.06.016
  5. Videbech P. Modafinil i behandling af depression [Modafinil in the treatment of depression]. Ugeskr Laeger. 2012;174(6):348-351.
  6. Brown JN, Howard CA, Kemp DW. Modafinil for the treatment of multiple sclerosis-related fatigue. Ann Pharmacother. 2010;44(6):1098-1103. doi:10.1345/aph.1M705
  7. Caldwell JA, Caldwell JL, Smith JK, Brown DL. Modafinil's effects on simulator performance and mood in pilots during 37 h without sleep. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2004;75(9):777-784
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Shader RI. Polypharmacy, Pill Burden, and Optimizing the Medicine Cabinet. Clin Ther. 2019;41(12):2461-2462. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2019.11.002
  12. Herman TF, Santos C. First Pass Effect. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; September 3, 2020.
  13. Khan AB, Kingsley T, Caroline P. Sublingual tablets and the benefits of sublingual route of administration. J Pharm Res. 2017;16(3):257-267. doi:10.18579/jpcrkc/2017/16/3/118766
  14. Department of Justice. Schedules of controlled substances: placement of modafinil into Schedule IV. Published January 27, 1999. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/1999/fr0127.htm
  15. Saha P, Verma S, Das PS. Sublingual drug delivery: an indication of potential alternate route. Int J Curr Pharm Res. 2017;9(6):5-7. doi:10.22159/ijcpr.2017v9i6.23436

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