Modafinil and Drug Tests | What You MUST Know

Tomas Thorne

Last Updated: February 20, 2023

Modafinil and Drug Test

When it comes to Modafinil and drug tests, it is in your best interest to be armed with pure facts.

Anonymous testimonials and speculative information won’t conclusively answer the question:

Will Modafinil show up on a drug test?

Drug tests may be part of a new job position you were hired for in the corporate world or the government. If you’re an athlete, do your research to see if Modafinil drug tests are applied to your sport and level.

You cannot afford to be ignorant when it comes to the subject of Modafinil and drug testing.

Which is why we have put together this guide as a starting point for you to better understand how your Modafinil drug test might work.

NOTE: This goes without saying, but take the information below with a grain of salt. We are not responsible for any consequences, employment-related or otherwise, that may result from your failure of a drug test or similar examination. While we undertake to keep the information in this guide up-to-date, do not rely on it fully and always conduct your own research before taking any decision that may affect your employment, professional, or academic status or eligibility, or reputation.

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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.

What Is Modafinil?

Before we can discuss Modafinil drug tests in greater detail, let’s briefly talk about what Modafinil is and why some organizations are relentlessly testing for this pharmaceutical medication.

Modafinil is a eugeroic, which is another way of saying that it’s a wakefulness-promoting drug. Although it was discovered in the early 1970s, it wasn’t until 1994 that it was approved in France for the treatment of narcolepsy.

The United States Food and Drug Administration later approved Modafinil in 1998 for the same purpose and it was given the brand name “Provigil.” It would later go on to be approved as a treatment for the excessive daytime sleepiness associated with shift work sleep disorder and obstructive sleep apnea.

While we do not know its exact mechanism of action, here is what researchers have discovered to date [1]:

“…Modafinil enhances several chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain including dopamine, serotonin, histamine, glutamate and GABA.

Studies have shown modafinil’s wake-promoting effects match stimulants such as amphetamine and methylphenidate, although its structure is unique and not comparable to those drugs.

These effects have attracted the attention of pilots, day traders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and Ivy League students who want to stay alert all night long, enhance their concentration, and become unstoppable productivity machines.

The testimonial of an anonymous undergraduate student in the United Kingdom says it all [2]:

“You don’t feel high, you don’t feel like speedy…that’s why I took it, because it was quite nice and I didn’t feel like I was on drugs…[Modafinil] just feels like you took a cup of coffee that lasted the whole day”

Many of these students are concerned about being tested for Modafinil prior to important exams, which is why the question, “Will Provigil show up on a drug test?” keeps getting asked in Internet forums.

With this in mind, let’s take a look into how Modafinil drug tests work.

Modafinil and Drug Tests | The Basics

Does Modafinil show up on drug test procedures? Before we can even try to answer this question, let’s look at the science of how Modafinil is metabolized and excreted from the human body.

How Long Does Modafinil Stay in the Body?

Thanks to the work done by Dr. Nancy Wong and her team of researchers in 1999, we have a good understanding of how the body processes Modafinil [3, 4]:

  1. Modafinil is metabolized into two inactive products that are then excreted in the urine: Modafinil acid and modafinil sulfone
  2. Modafinil acid is the primary metabolic product, making up 35-60% of the total Modafinil dose (therefore, 40-65% of any Modafinil you take actually gets transmitted into your bloodstream)
  3. Modafinil sulfone is produced in such minute amounts that it is deemed insignificant
  4. Modafinil has a half-life of 10-15 hours (i.e., it takes 10-15 hours for the total concentration of Modafinil in your body to be reduced by half)
  5. How the body processes Modafinil is the same between doses of 200 mg and 800 mg

With this understanding in mind, let’s use a theoretical example to determine how long it takes a standard dose of Modafinil to be completely eliminated from your body.

A healthy adult male takes a 200mg dose of Modafinil from hour “zero.”

Let’s assume we’re working with a half-life of 15 hours, and that 65% of the original Modafinil dose remains as the active Modafinil molecule in our bloodstream (130mg).

Here’s what the elimination of Modafinil might look  like over time, and how much you have in your body with each passing half-life [5]:

  • Hour #15: 65 mg (50% left)
  • Hour #30: 32.5 mg (25% left)
  • Hour #45 16.25 mg (12.5% left)
  • Hour #60: 8.125 mg (6.25% left)
  • Hour #75: 4.063 mg (3.125% left)
  • Hour #90: 2.031 mg (1.56% left)
  • Hour #105: 1.016 mg (0.78% left)

As you can see, Modafinil remains in your system far longer than how long its cognition-boosting effects last, which users say lies between 12-20 hours. It takes a total of 4.4 days (105 hours) after taking Modafinil just to see it remain in our body in minute amounts, and around 7 days for the drug to be completely eliminated.

Keep in mind that there are NUMEROUS factors affecting Modafinil’s half-life, and therefore how long it takes to eliminate Modafinil from your body. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • The purity of the drug (contaminants can make Modafinil clearance faster or slower)
  • Age (older people clear out Modafinil at a slower rate than younger people)
  • Gender (females clear out Modafinil faster than males) [3, 4]
  • Race/Ethnicity [6]
  • Genetics
  • Bodyweight
  • Diseases affecting your body’s ability to metabolize and absorb Modafinil (ex. kidney/liver dysfunction)
  • Drugs, foods and herbal supplements that inhibit or induce the activity of CYP3A4, the enzyme that metabolizes Modafinil* [7]

* Inducing an enzyme means it is more metabolically efficient, so Modafinil is cleared faster from your body and its cognitive-enhancing effects are shorter. Inhibiting an enzyme means it is more metabolically inefficient, so Modafinil is cleared slower from your body and its cognitive-enhancing effects are longer-lasting.

All of this pertains to a single dose of Modafinil — taking a dose of Modafinil every single day will naturally mean it takes far longer for Modafinil to be eliminated.

What Kinds of Modafinil Drug Tests Could I Be Subjected To?

No discussion of modafinil and drug testing is complete without first understanding how Modafinil is searched for by drug testing bodies.

The only two bodily fluids where we can reliably trace Modafinil are your blood and your urine [8].

Urine tests are designed to track the metabolites of a drug several hours following the use of the drug. They are cheaper than blood tests.

Blood tests are designed to accurately identify the drug itself within 2-12 hours of administration. And unlike urine tests, the samples are far less susceptible to tampering, making it the most accurate sampling method to date. However, they are far more expensive than urine tests and are more invasive, which is why they are not as common.

Either sample is typically analyzed via an immunoassay to “screen” for the drugs, followed by a GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) or LC-MS (liquid-chromatography-mass spectrometry) test to confirm the results. With the high degree of sensitivity and specificity offered by these tests, it is extremely unlikely to generate false positives or negatives [9]:

  • False positive = The drug test says a drug is in your system when it’s actually not there
  • False negative = The drug test says a drug is NOT in your system when it’s actually there

Keep in mind that these tests ONLY work if they are specifically looking for Modafinil in your system.

Modafinil can be reliably detected and accurately measured at concentrations as low as 2 ng/mL [10]. For context, 1 ng is equal to 0.000001 mg! And the World Anti-Doping Agency has a “minimum required performance limit” of 500 ng/mL for Modafinil to state that an athlete was doping [11].


Will Modafinil Show Up On A Drug Test?

Will Provigil show on a drug test? The truth is that it entirely depends on the situation you’re in.

First, you need to have an authority conduct the specific kind of tests previously mentioned using your blood or urine. In other words, they have to intentionally be looking for Modafinil.

Second, your Modafinil drug tests will come out as positive or negative depending on how long ago you took Modafinil.

In two separate studies involving healthy 20-something male volunteers given 100mg of Modafinil, it took 72-80 hours for Modafinil to be completely cleared and undetectable in their urine samples [12, 13].

If you want a good chance that your drug test turns up negative, the test has to happen a minimum of 80 hours AFTER you took Modafinil. To be even safer, the test should take place an entire week after your last dose of Modafinil.

And due to Modafinil having a unique chemical structure from amphetamine and other stimulants, it is extremely unlikely for the test to generate a “false positive” result.

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Modafinil and “Corporate America”

When it comes to Modafinil and drug tests, both private employers and government organizations are unlikely to care about your Modafinil use for several reasons.

First, companies will only test their employees for drugs in very specific circumstances:

  • They have reason to suspect you are abusing drugs;
  • The drugs in question are lowering your productivity and causing you to make mistakes that may hold them liable;
  • Rarer but not uncommon, some entities have all new employees do a drug test

Second, Modafinil is not the type of drug that typically causes concern with respect to worker productivity.

In fact, it’s just the opposite: Modafinil can “sharpen your focus, allowing you to make better decisions and retain more information, deal successfully with new ideas and dexterously handle multitasking” [14].

Combined with next to no side effects and no addictive properties for the vast majority of users, why would a company fire someone striving to enhance their mental state and make the company more money?

Third, the types of standardized drug tests administered by your employer are simply not looking for Modafinil.

They will run tests called “drug panels,” in which a urine sample is taken to typically look for among the following drugs [15]:

Cocaine, marijuana, PCP, amphetamines, opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, Quaaludes, Ecstasy/MDA/MDMA, & Oxycodone/Percocet.

So, a 4-panel test would examine the first four, a 5-panel test the first five, and so on… all the way up to an extensive 12-panel drug test.

These types of bulk tests are scalable and affordable, which is why they can be run on thousands of employees at a time.

Even if your employer wanted to test for Modafinil, it would probably be a very expensive and time-consuming process to perform the test on one individual.

In reality, most companies don’t have the time or money to investigate all the prescription drugs an employee is on, 99 times out of 100.

However, please keep in mind that companies have the right to forcefully ask you to submit to a drug test at any time they want.

Additionally, in the very unlikely event a typical employer would run any kind of Modafinil drug test and the result is positive, you could face consequences if you do not have a prescription for Modafinil (a Schedule IV, prescription-only drug).

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Modafinil Use in the Military

Modafinil’s powerful cognition-enhancing effects were recognized early on in the military, which is one of the reasons why it has gained worldwide popularity today [16].

As with Corporate America, you probably wouldn’t need to worry about Modafinil drug tests being positive unless they are specifically screening for it. And their current methods of standardized drug testing are not looking for Modafinil.

Anecdotally, we have heard reports of soldiers who opt for Adrafinil instead of Modafinil. Adrafinil is a perfectly legal over-the-counter alternative, although the Modafinil drug tests would also show up as positive because Modafinil is the primary metabolite of Adrafinil.

While there is one supposed case of someone getting discharged from the military in part for Modafinil use and possession, that individual was also charged with fleeing the scene of an accident following a narcoleptic episode [17].

Modafinil and Athletics

There is an entirely different story to be told when it comes to Modafinil and drug tests in competitive sports.

Many international sporting organizations consider Modafinil to be a performance-enhancing drug, and perform tests prior to any event to ensure you don’t have any in your system.

Here are some of the organizations that have officially banned the use of Modafinil and Armodafinil:

  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) [18]
  • Any sporting organization governed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) [19]
  • United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) [20]
  • The Olympics [21]
  • Crossfit [22]
  • Electronic Sports League (ESL), an organization for professional video gaming competitions [23]

Believe it or not, in countries where chess is officially designated as a sport, Modafinil is also considered to be a prohibited drug and is subject to detection through drug testing [24]!

Modafinil is categorized by these organizations as a stimulant: Something that can increase the time taken to feel fatigued, lower reaction time and enhance alertness…all of which can warrant enough of a competitive advantage to make it a banned substance.

If an athlete is caught with Modafinil in their system, some of the potential consequences include long-term suspensions from competing, disqualification from the event for which testing was performed, and forfeiture of official standing and/or prize money.

History is rife with examples of high-level athletes who have tested positive on their Modafinil drug tests and have lost or forfeited a great deal [25].

Even in cases where you can gain a therapeutic usage exemption ahead of competition, we cannot think of any reason that would justify the unique risks of Modafinil usage faced by competitive athletes.

In sum: Professional athletes subject to drug testing should STEER CLEAR of Modafinil!

Modafinil For Truckers

This section will pertain to many — but not all — truck drivers in America, so make sure to research the rules and regulations that may be applicable to your particular case.

For what it’s worth, Modafinil has some mixed results with regards to its benefits for driving performance [25]:

“Modafinil offers some benefits with respect to objective driving performance under conditions of sleep loss. However it may induce overconfidence, suggesting that its use as a countermeasure to drowsiness when driving requires further examination.”

As a truck driver in the US, obtaining your commercial drivers’ license (CDL) WILL involve a medical examination.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a standard 5-panel drug test similar to the one used across much of Corporate America. So theoretically, most truck driver applicants won’t be subject to any Modafinil drug tests.

However, this does NOT mean you have a free pass to use Modafinil without a prescription.

If you look at the product monograph of Modafinil, the label says it may impair your ability to perform hazardous tasks and operate heavy machinery. That’s more than enough to give a medical examiner cause for concern.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that “until an [commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver] knows how Provigil affects him/her, they may not drive, use machinery or do any activity that requires mental alertness” [26].

Here’s what this means in clearer terms [27]:

“The use of Provigil needs careful supervision. Drivers being prescribed Provigil should not be qualified until they have been monitored closely for at least 6 weeks while taking Provigil.

The medical examiner will require documentation from your treating physician [i.e. a Primary Care Physician (PCP) medical release form] stating that the treatment is effective, and that no side effects are present that will impact your ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle.”

That means you NEED a prescription to use Modafinil while driving a truck, and a medical examiner has to grant you permission.

And even with approval from your prescribing doctor, along with a clean drug panel test, medical examiners can reject their approval if they have reason to believe it is too unsafe for you to use Modafinil during your trucking shifts.

Does Modafinil Show Up On a Drug Test? | The Verdict

When it comes to Modafinil and drug tests, will Modafinil show up as positive? It absolutely will if two circumstances are met:

  1. You are administered a test SPECIFICALLY looking for the use of Modafinil
  2. You took Modafinil before it has fully cleared your system (i.e. less than 70-80 hours before the test is taken) 

But as far as we know, it is extremely rare for employers to pay good money for Modafinil drug tests. In the majority of cases, they’re looking for illicit drugs such as marijuana and amphetamines.

However, athletes don’t have it so easy — there is a very good chance you will be tested for it. When it comes to Modafinil and drug testing, you can expect consequences if you test positive for the drug. For that reason, we recommend athletes to stay away from it altogether.

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