Is Modafinil A Smart Drug? Here’s What The Research Says

Updated on May 8, 2020

Provigil, otherwise known as its brand name modafinil, has been all the rage lately among entrepreneurs, executives, and students looking to gain an edge.

Proponents of modafinil say that it improves focus, helps increase productivity, and can even give you a small IQ boost. People on the other side however, say there’s no evidence to back these claims, and that it’s all just placebo.

Who is right, however? In this article, we’ll take a look at what the evidence has to say regarding this potential smart drug, and report on the existing science.

What is Modafinil?

Modafinil, otherwise known by its brand name Provigil, is a eugeroic agent used to treat narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, excessive daytime sleepiness, and obstructive sleep apnea in patients. In other words, it’s a pseudo-stimulant.

Modafinil was first approved for medical use in the United States in 1998, but it wasn’t long until entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley began catching on to its use as a nootropic.

After hearing about the incredible effects that modafinil has on the brain, many people began experimenting with it (outside of a doctor’s recommendation) to see what would happen.

In fact, in the past few years, Provigil has grown increasingly popular amongst business owners, executives, and even students who are looking to gain an edge in their fields – in some cases, people even compare it to the real life NZT-48 smart drug from the movie Limitless.

Benefits of Modafinil

Many individuals who get prescribed modafinil report that the effects and benefits are life-changing. While the effects will vary depending on the individual who’s taking it, there are some generally agreed upon benefits and effects.

Here are the benefits of Modafinil:

  • Increased Focus
  • Cognitive Enhancement
  • Better Memory
  • Higher Productivity

As we’ll soon cover, many of these benefits are not just based on anecdotal evidence, but backed by clinically proven research studies and meta papers published in credible journals.

The most noticeable effect of taking modafinil is the increased sense of focus, without the jitters and agitation that normally comes from taking a stimulant like Adderall.

That being said, cognitive enhancement is another reason why Modafinil is the drug of choice for many entrepreneurs and day traders too, who need to stay sharp and focused.

Clinical Research

Obviously, many of these claims are very bold, so much research is needed to support them – and that’s exactly what we will aim to provide you with in this section here.

To start, let’s take a look at a meta-study published in the highly credible European Journal of Psycho-Pharmacology, which stated that modafinil is a powerful cognitive enhancer [1]:

“Evidence for enhanced working memory, impulse control, vigilance and sustained attention in healthy volunteers has also been reported (Baranski et al. 2004; Muller et al. 2013; Randall et al. 2003; Turner et al. 2003). Thus, the effects of MOD on improving attention and cognitive function in healthy subjects have provided insight into its neuropsychological actions, free from confounds of any underlying pathology.”

In other words, the study found that even users who don’t have an underlying medical condition can benefit from taking modafinil. They also stated the following:

“However, its neurochemical effects and anatomical pattern of brain area activation differ from typical psychostimulants and are consistent with its beneficial effects on cognitive performance processes such as attention, learning, and memory.”

Another meta-study, conducted at the University of Oxford, analyzed numerous research papers previously published, and compiled their findings by stating the following:

“We found that whilst most studies employing basic testing paradigms show that modafinil intake enhances executive function, only half show improvements in attention and learning and memory, and a few even report impairments in divergent creative thinking. In contrast, when more complex assessments are used, modafinil appears to consistently engender enhancement of attention, executive functions, and learning. Importantly, we did not observe any preponderances for side effects or mood changes.”

This implies that, while modafinil may not improve simple tasks such as cleaning or organizing, it drastically improves any sort of task that is noticeably complex (such as growing a business).

In fact, the effects of modafinil are so noticeable, that the military has even begun researching it as an alternative to amphetamines for fighter pilots. The Air Force Academy in South Korea has been especially interested in modafinil, as stated in a study they conducted recently:

“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 in a battle field. A psychoneuroimmunological approach is thus needed to investigate the multi-functional effects of modafinil.”

All in all, there is an ample amount of research to suggest that modafinil is highly effective as a nootropic agent and is a powerful smart drug when used responsibly.

Where to Get Modafinil

It’s clear that getting modafinil online is the best option for most people, as with a prescription, you can have your medication mailed right to your door within a matter of days.

Numerous pharmacies are beginning to offer online deals, such as:

  • Amazon Pharmacy
  • Walmart Pharmacy Online
  • Kroger Online Pharmacy
  • …and more

It’s recommended that you go through your doctor to determine if modafinil is right for you, because while there’s clearly many benefits, there also may be some side effects.

Dosage and Guidelines

Modafinil is typically taken in 100mg increments, although beginners to the medication may see results by taking as little as 50mg per day. Most users take at least 200 milligrams per day however, and get the best results by taking this dosage.

It’s important to start off with a small amount, and wait 2-4 hours to see how you feel. The half-life of modafinil is very long, which means it takes a long time to clear out of the body.

In addition to this, the onset of modafinil is usually around 1-2 hours. In other words, if you take modafinil to focus, you may not feel the peak effects until you’re 4 hours in.

Side effects of taking too much modafinil include:

  • Anxiety
  • Jitteriness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

Most people can avoid these side effects if they’re simply safe and don’t take too much to start with. Always be safe and start with a small dosage to assess your tolerance.

Less common and more serious side effects of modafinil include:

  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Skin Rash
  • Dizziness

While you should always exercise caution when taking a new medication, most individuals will not experience these side effects – less than 1% of the population will encounter them.


Modafinil is a great smart drug for entrepreneurs when used with caution. It’s important to use modafinil responsibly, and always consult with a healthcare professional.

The benefits of modafinil are astounding and research backed, however – most people who take modafinil will experience increased focus, more productivity, and a big brain boost.

While more research should certainly be done on Provigil, the preliminary results are quite promising – not only is there ample clinical data to support the idea that modafinil is a smart drug, but there’s also ample anecdotal evidence to support this claim, as well.

All in all, be safe and always make good decisions. If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out to us, and let us know what you think of the article.

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