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Modafinil For Cognitive Enhancement

Modafinil For Cognitive Enhancement

Last updated on 30 Apr, 2024

Modafinil promotes wakefulness in people with excessive daytime sleepiness caused by sleeping disorders.  Modafinil enhances cognition and has minimal or no side effects. There are certain precautionary measures that must be taken in order to avoid the side effects of Modafinil.

Modafinil is a nootropic that was designed to help people with daytime sleepiness. Modafinil

has various on and off-label benefits, but in this blog, we have discussed one of its most popular off-label benefits: Modafinil for Cognitive Enhancement, and how the medication helps in enhancing cognition in domains like learning, focus, memory, etc.

Modafinil And Cognition- An Overview

Modafinil is a stimulant that was developed in the 1970s by French neuroscientists Michel Jouvet and L. Lafon laboratories in France.  

The medication belongs to the Schedule IV controlled substances, and the FDA ratified the use of the medication in 1998. Teva Pharmaceuticals manufactures Modafinil, which is sold under different brand names like Modalert, Provigil, etc. [1]. 

Cognition is the process or mental action of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. For instance- learning new things, making proper decisions, solving problems, using memory, and processing language [2]. 

What Are The Uses And Benefits Of Modafinil?

Modafinil, as a novel wakefulness-promoting agent, helps treat excessive daytime sleepiness associated with sleep disorders like narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work disorders. The physician advises people Modafinil 200 mg tablets if they are struggling with daytime sleepiness.

The medication is also used off-label to treat the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cocaine dependence, and fatigue associated with cancer and multiple sclerosis, and it is also used as a cognitive enhancer.

We are going to discuss Modafinil for cognitive enhancement in detail in the next section of the blog. 

Modafinil For Cognitive Enhancement

Modafinil is used to improve function in several cognitive domains, such as learning, memory, attention, and focus. Many people also stack Modafinil (combining two or more compounds or nootropics to enhance their effectiveness) with various compounds, such as caffeine, nicotine, and others, to improve their cognitive function.  Below, we have discussed the use of Modafinil in various cognitive domains.

Modafinil For Studying 



Does Modafinil help you to study? Let's find out.

It is believed that Modafinil improves memory by as much as 10% through its influence on a neurotransmitter known as glutamate. The memory-boosting property of Modafinil interests many, in particular, students engaged in last-minute cramming.

A study found that patients with remitted depression admitted that Modafinil 200 mg improved performance on episodic memory and working memory tests. Modafinil has been marketed online as a smart drug that will keep you focused for long periods with little to no side effects. 

Modafinil is frequently used by students who want to sharpen their focus and avoid distractions before a test because they believe it may help them focus. 

A poll of Nature Journal readers suggested that one in five have used drugs to improve their focus, and 44% stated that Modafinil is their choice of drug [3].

Modafinil For Increasing Focus and Memory

Dr. Ruairidh Battleday and Dr. Anna-Katharine Brem from the University of Oxford reviewed all research papers from January 1990 to December 2014 on Cognitive Enhancement with Modafinil (Modalert). They found 24 studies addressing the various benefits of taking Modafinil for learning, planning, and decision-making. It also improves memory, flexibility, and creativity [3].

In a 2017 study, researchers monitored 60 participants, either on a single dose of Modafinil 200 mg or a placebo, for changes in their cognitive function. Drawing conclusions from both neurocognitive tests and the participant's subjective feelings during the trial, the researchers found that the modafinil group performed significantly better on episodic memory and working memory tests.

Students basically use this medication to study the whole night and secure good grades in exams. 

A study found that patients with remitted depression admitted that Modalert 200 mg  ( Modafinil) improved performance on episodic memory and working memory tests [4]. 

How Does Modafinil Help Increase Cognitive Enhancement?


Modafinil helps with cognitive enhancement by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. It works as a weak dopamine reuptake inhibitor and indirectly activates the release of neuropeptides, orexin, and histamine from the lateral hypothalamus and tuberomammillary nucleus, which results in heightened arousal. 

Modafinil starts working within 30 minutes after administration for cognitive enhancement. The half-life (amount of time required by a medication to reduce by half ) is 12-15 hours. It requires 4-5 half-lives to be completely removed from the system. Therefore, the effects of Modafinil last for about 60-75 hours. 

Modafinil Dosage for Cognitive Enhancement 

The recommended Modafinil dosage might vary from patient to patient, depending on factors like age and health conditions (kidney and liver dysfunction). However, the standard recommended dosage of Modafinil is 200mg/day for adults over 16 years old. 

The dosage should be taken at the same time regularly for better effectiveness. 

Missed Dose of Modafinil 

In any circumstance, if you miss a Modafinil dose, you can skip the missed dose and follow the normal dosage schedule. 

Overdose of Modafinil 

Do not overlap the Modafinil doses; it might lead to an overdose.

Overdose symptoms might include-

  • Agitation

  • Headache

  • Fever

  • Anxiety 

  • Depression

Administration of Modafinil 

Follow these 5 simple steps to administer Modafinil-

1. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a glass of water. 

2. You can take the tablet with or without food, as the doctor prescribes. 

3. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking the medication; it might make you feel more dizzy. 

4. Do not take the tablet at night; this might lead to insomnia [5].

Precautionary Measures While Using Modafinil

You must follow the six precautionary measures before taking Modafinil in order to avoid the side effects of Modafinil-

1. If you are allergic, you should inform your doctor and consult him before taking the medication. 

2.   You should consult your doctor about your medical history if you have problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, or kidney or liver dysfunction before taking the medication. 

3. Avoid doing activities that require an immediate response, such as driving or operating heavy machinery, while taking the medication. 

4. Read the label of the medicine before using it. 

5. You should not use the medication; if you are pregnant, avoid taking contraceptives. 

6. Avoid taking the medication if you’re at the stage of breast-feeding. This might harm your baby. 

Side Effects of Modafinil 

Along with the advantages, the medication might have some unwanted effects. There are a lot of Modafinil side effects, but they are milder in nature. 10 notable health risks of Modafinil are  listed below-

1. Chest pain

2. Chills or fever

3. Constant mood changes

4. Sore-throat

5. Shortness of breath

6. Uncontrolled movements of the face, mouth, or tongue

7. Diarrhea

8. Indigestion

9. Vomiting

10. Decrease in appetite. 

NOTE: If any of the above symptoms occur and do not go away on their own, you should immediately consult with your doctor or visit a nearby hospital [6].

Modafinil For Cognitive Enhancement: The Final Outlook

Modafinil is a  very popular drug for its on-label and off-label uses. One of the most popular uses of this drug is its cognitive-enhancing ability. For cognitive enhancement, the recommended dosage of this nootropic is 100-200 mg. 


Modafinil has been found to be effective in enhancing cognitive performance.

Modafinil helps in improving attention and learning for more complex processes rather than basic tasks.

Modafinil is effective in enhancing short-term memory but has no effect on long-term memory.

Modafinil 200 mg is a suitable dosage for studies.

Modafinil starts working within 30 minutes after consumption.

Yes, Modafinil does help to concentrate.


  1. Modafinil, statpearls

  2. Cognition, Wikipedia.

  3. Is Modafinil safe in the long-term, thegua

  4. Does Modafinil really increase brain function, lab roots

  5. Modafinil (Oral Route), Mayoclinic

  6. Modafinil Side Effects, Mayoclinic.


Disclaimer: We do not provide any medical advice.

The contents of HealthMatter are for informational purpose only and is taken by a thorough evaluation of research papers and Journals. We do not provide professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. We advise all readers to consult a physician before consuming any medication mentioned on the website.