Modafinil: The new study drug of choice among students and entrepreneurs

Updated on January 7, 2020

Photo By Hal Gateway On Unsplash

Students deserve a lot of praise for working so hard throughout their college. They submit multiple assignments, projects, presentations, and exams within a 12-week semester, and this goes on for the next four consecutive years. To cope up with all the stress and help them concentrate well on their tasks, students have started taking Modafinil. Studies conducted at Oxford and Harvard University illustrated that this drug showed significant improvements in decision-making, problem-solving, concentration, and even made them more creative. 

This smart drug, which temporarily increases your memory, is now primarily consumed by students all around the world. Well, it is not surprising considering all the workload they have and all the other distractions they have to prevent. Although the research on the long-term side effects of this drug is quite limited, the reviewers found out that it has very few short-term effects and no addictiveness. 

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil, also sold as Provigil, is an approved drug by the FDA to help people with sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy. It prevents excessive sleepiness and allows you to focus on what you’re doing. Hence, due to its extraordinary properties, this smart drug is a popular choice among students to help them with all the pressure from their colleges/universities.

Why Is It The Drug Of Choice?

Well, the results of using this drug vary from student to student. However, there are some similar things that students have felt after using Modafinil. Most of the students were able to concentrate much better on their work. They were able to study for several hours without taking any breaks or losing their attention. The only break they took was to go to the washroom, and that’s it.

Moreover, another thing that students suffer from is not being able to concentrate on just one thing. They get distracted from their surroundings all the time. Taking a healthy dose of Modafinil prevented that completely. It also enhanced the ability of the students to learn and remember stuff, which is excellent for anyone trying to memorize things for their exam. Many students have even reported that this drug allows them to concentrate on their studies for well over 5-7 hours consecutively.

Side Effects

Some of the common side effects of using Modafinil is headache, nervousness, nausea, and dizziness. Moreover, there can be difficult trying to sleep as it does the exact opposite; that is to keep you awake. There can often be mood swings after using this drug, which is quite commonly reported by students.

Although there aren’t many studies suggesting the long term side effects, many students have reported constant anxiety due to this drug. Also, some researches have shown that usage of this drug increases dopamine levels in the reward center of the brain. 

What Do Students Say About It?

There have been mixed opinions on using Modafinil as a student, but most of them are in its favor. For instance, one student said that he preferred Modafinil over any other smart drug as it gave him a natural sense of focus. He added that it made him want to study more and helped with procrastination.

Similarly, another student had the opinion that Modafinil was the option to go for as it is relatively very cheap, and it doesn’t have many side effects. Also, it was readily available to them, even without a prescription. Generic brands can be found on

Another student added that it does not make you a more intelligent person. It allows you to study harder and work longer. It prevents you from getting distracted, and you are determined to study more.

What Do The Experts Say About It?

Ajar Chatterjee, who works as a professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, had a funny remark about it. He stated that back in his time, people would use drugs so they could check out of the university stuff. However, now people use it to check-in. He also mentioned how he witnessed the increase in medication among university students in the USA to help them out in their studies. 

Ruairidh McLennan Battleday, who is a lecturer at the University of Oxford in England, said that Modafinil indeed enhances thinking once induced by the consumer. Moreover, he added that this drug affects the “higher-brain functions that rely on contributions from multiple simple cognitive processes.” 

Contrastingly, some online commentators called it a “borderline anxiety attack” due to the anxiety that the Modafilin triggers. Also, some compared it to the real-life version of the drug used in the famous movie “Limitless,” starring Bradley Cooper.

Pros And Cons

Similar to almost all the drugs out there, Modafinil has its pros and cons as well. Here are a few of both.


  • You can concentrate for hours and remember most of the stuff, if not all, afterward.
  • It might cause insomnia, but once you are asleep, it helps you wake up early.
  • The aftereffect is quite subtle.
  • Makes decision-making and problem solving much more comfortable.


  • It can make you quite unsociable as it makes you concentrate on just one thing, that is, studying. It cannot be very pleasant for other people around you.
  • You are focused on pretty much just one thing. So, there is a chance you miss out on other important stuff that you would’ve otherwise remembered.
  • There are a lot of mood swings. However, this may vary person to person about to what extent the mood swings.
  • A lot of trips to the washroom!


Considering all the positive effects of Modafinil, it is not surprising that students, as well as those suffering from ADHD choose it over Adderall or Ritalin. Although a lot of research is still pending, the pros heavily outweigh its cons. At least in the short term.

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