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Modafinil Side Effect- Exploring Its Safety And Lesser Known Health Risks

Modafinil Side Effect- Exploring Its Safety And Lesser Known Health Risks

Last updated on 07 Mar, 2024

Modafinil is generally considered safe for most individuals, with high tolerability and a lower risk of abuse and dependency.

Improper administration and misuse of Modafinil can lead to very common side effects, including headaches, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, and decreased appetite.

Are you worried about all the possible Modafinil side effects? If so, this is the right place to find your answers.

There is really no medication that comes without the risk of some kind of side effect, and neither does Modafinil.

Originally developed to treat sleeping disorders, Modafinil has increasingly become sought-after by people seeking to improve their cognitive functions.

In this blog, we will explore Modafinil's Safety profile and its possible Side Effects to help you make an informed decision.

Introduction To Modafinil

Modafinil is an oral medication with wakefulness-promoting properties. It is a central nervous system stimulant that Michel Jouvet, a neuroscientist, and Lafon Laboratories developed in the 1970s.

It is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance (a drug with low potential for abuse) in the United States [1].

A patient struggling with excessive daytime sleepiness can either order Modafinil 200mg tablets or its brand medication such as Modalert, Modvigil, and Provigil.

15 Common And Mild Modafinil Side Effects

Fifteen common Modafinil adverse effects include Headache, Dizziness, Insomnia, Nausea, Drowsiness, Dry mouth, Excessive thirst, Loss of appetite, Heartburn, Constipation, Diarrhea, Sweating, Back pain, Confusion, Hair loss, numbness of the skin, and eye pain, as shown below.



It appears within two to three hours after taking Modafinil. Modafinil causes tension-type headache that is associated with dehydration and overstimulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS).

Eye pain-

Experiencing pain behind the eyes after taking Modafinil is associated with Modafinil-induced headache. Experiencing pressure around the eye is one of the common signs of determining if Modafinil causes a headache.


Modafinil's effect on the central nervous system can cause dizziness.


Modafinil increases dopamine secretion, which promotes wakefulness in people. Due to its long half-life (15 hours), its wake promotion may last for about 12 hours from the time of administration causing insomnia associated with Modafinil use.


Modafinil affects the secretion of Modafinil, which is associated with causing vomiting and nausea. It may also affect the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in nausea.


Modafinil activates the secretion of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that causes neuronal inhibition by increasing chloride ion conductance. Due to their powerful inhibitory effects, it can cause drowsiness.

Dry mouth-

The diuretic effect of Modafinil causes frequent urination, thus resulting in dehydration and dry mouth.

Excessive thirst-

Suffering from excessive after taking Modafinil is primarily due to dry mouth caused by dehydration.

Loss of appetite-

Modafinil causes a reduction in hunger due to its high level of histamine and dopamine secreted by the Nootropic. Weight loss by Modafinil is often due to this appetite suppressing activity of the Nootropic.


It is a burning sensation in the chest caused by acid reflux (stomach acid traveling to the throat). The effect of Modafinil on the Central Nervous System in some individuals affects the digestive system, thus causing heartburn.


Dehydration is a common cause of constipation as, in such cases, the intestine does not have enough water to add to the stool, making it hard, dry, and lumpy. The diuretic effect of Modafinil resulting in dehydration is a common cause of constipation associated with Modafinil use.


It is a common Modafinil side effect that affects (≥ 5%) of people. The slow breakdown of Modafinil can cause diarrhea and is also associated with overdosing on the Nootropic.


Modafinil can affect the thermoregulation in people, thus resulting in a 0.3 to 0.5°C increase in the core body temperature. When the body temperature rises, the hypothalamus region of the brain instructs the eccrine seat glands to start cooling the body by producing sweat.

Back pain-

It is reported in ≥ 5% of people taking Modafinil tablets. Though back pain associated with Modafinil may have numerous scientific reasons, one of the most common is dehydration. Dehydration causes a reduction in elasticity that can affect the outer layer of the vertebrae disc, causing pressure during movement.


Despite its cognitive enhancing property, overstimulation of the central nervous system by Modafinil causes brain bog, resulting in confusion, fumbling, and forgetfulness.

6 Severe And Uncommon Side Effects Of Modafinil

Modafinil is a safe and well-tolerated medication with lower risk of causing serious side effects. Six notable Modafinil 100 mg side effects that may require medical attention are skin peeling, anxiety, depression, hallucination, chest pain, and difficulty breathing as shown below.


Peeling skin-

Modafinil can cause serious skin reactions, including skin peeling, rash, blistering, acne, red lesions, and sores or ulcers. Serious skin rash, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and erythema multiforme major (EMM) in pediatric patients. It is advisable to discontinue the intake of Modafinil and get emergency help if you experience skin blisters, peeling, or rash.


Modafinil can cause both anxiogenic (anxiety-causing) and anxiolytic ( anxiety-reducing) effects. Wheater, you will experience anxiety from taking Modafinil, majorly depending on your baseline state. People with low levels of energy are less likely to feel anxious. At the same time, energetic people are more prone to suffer from overstimulation and anxiety disorders.


About 1% of people taking Modafinil suffer from psychiatric symptoms, including depression. However, there are reports of Modafinil improving the severity of depression. Thus, people with a history of mental health disorders have a higher possibility of experiencing depression from Modafinil.


Auditory hallucinations and delusions are reported from Modafinil 600 mg dosage, along with sleep deprivation.

Chest pain-

Researchers have found an association between heart disorder and Modafinil, especially in patients with high blood pressure, arrhythmia, and heart failure. A 2008 study by Peter T. Morgan and Robert T. Malison suggests palpitation or faster heartbeat and chest tightness due to Modafinil may increase if co-administered with glutamate.

Difficulty breathing-

A study by Jiro Terada et al. in 2016 suggests that Modafinil suppresses respiratory rate. It can cause trouble or shortness of breath, resulting in respiratory depression.

Two of the rare side effects of Modafinil include-

1. Modafinil Teeth Grinding

2. Modafinil Hair loss

Modafinil - Long-Term Side Effects

Taking Modafinil in the long term has the ability to cause physical and psychological dependence. However, this seems unlikely in individuals unless they're taking large doses of the medicine or misusing it.

The risk of experiencing dependence on Modafinil is high in people with a history of abuse.

A few Modafinil withdrawal symptoms are poor concentration, low energy, depression, sleepiness, fatigue, and shortness of breath [9] [10].

However, there are contradicting clinical studies that showcase its safety in long-term use.

A study in the pediatric population treated for Narcolepsy for ten years demonstrated that Modafinil is safe and effective. The study concluded that using Modafinil improved patients' ability to stay awake with no notable severe health risks [1] [7].

Thus, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the treatment regimen for you, especially for patients with a history of cardiac, liver, and kidney disorders.

Note -

Modafinil may cause other side effects besides those listed here. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

What Are The Drug Interactions Of Modafinil?

Modafinil can interact with 460 known medicines and supplements to cause a drug interaction, defined as a reaction between two or more drugs or compounds that can cause side effects.

Modafinil should not be used with the following drugs because it can decrease serum concentrations to clinically significant levels.

  • Zolpidem

  • Lurasidone

  • Guanfacine

  • Nimodipine

  • Ranolazine

  • Opioid medications

  • Antihepativiral combination products

  • Antiretroviral combination products

  • Cyclosporine

  • Clozapine

  • Estrogen derivatives

  • Clarithromycin

Serum concentrations of Modafinil may be reduced in the presence of drugs that

induce CYP3A4, which includes rifampin and phenytoin.

Conversely, the serum concentration of this smart drug can increase in the presence of drugs that inhibit CYP3A4, including ritonavir, clarithromycin, and antifungals [5].

Modafinil and Melatonin should not be coadministered because they can cause somnambulism (sleepwalking) in females and anxiety in males.

Modafinil Dosage - A Quick Guide On Administration To Avoid Health Risks


Taking the prescribed dose of Modafinil, which is 200 mg once daily, can help avoid experiencing its side effects. Taking a higher dosage can result in overdosing, which increases the risk of experiencing agitation, heightened anxiety, dizziness, and tremors.

Modafinil can be taken orally, once a day, without food or with food, at the same time each day. It is not advised to change the time or dose of Modafinil taken without consulting your doctor.

If you're taking it for off-label purposes, you should consume the stimulant as needed [6].

Modafinil Safety - Is Modafinil safe?

Modafinil is considered safe, with minor to moderate side effects and no reports of life-threatening health risks. It is also preferred over other eugeroic drugs due to its safety profile.

A recent study from 2020 by Rachel D. Teodorini et al. suggests that the risk of abuse associated with Modafinil is low as it is well-tolerated by the body, further lowering the possibility of experiencing side effects.

It has also been awarded as the "world's first safe, smart drug" by researchers at Oxford and Harvard Universities.

It is considered a Schedule IV controlled substance due to a few rare cases of abuse. Misuse and improper dosing can result in dependency in people.

Ensuring Safe Use- Essential Precautions And Warnings Of Modafinil

Modafinil should be used carefully in the following scenario -

  • If you are allergic to Modafinil or any of the other ingredients of the Nootropic.

  • Have an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.

  • If you have kidney or liver problems.

  • If you operate heavy machinery.

  • While taking caffeine, it can increase the risk of nausea, nervousness, and palpitation.

Precautions For Specific Populations

- Modafinil And Breastfeeding

Lactating women should use Modafinil with caution, as the medication can cross the blood barrier to reach breast milk. Thus, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking the nootropic.

- Modafinil And Pregnancy

Modafinil is classified as a category C pregnancy drug by the FDA and has shown an increased risk of intrauterine growth and abortion in animal studies. The benefits and risks of Modafinil during pregnancy should be carefully considered by a doctor before administration.

- Geriatric Use

In elderly people, Modafinil elimination might be reduced because, with age, the metabolism of a person reduces. Therefore, it is important to monitor elderly people closely while they're on this nootropic [5].

Is Modafinil Safe- Conclusion

Modafinil is a popular wakefulness-promoting agent that is safe and well-tolerated by most people, but its possible side effects cannot be overlooked. In a few cases, Modafinil has been found to cause physical and psychological dependence.

There are several side effects of this potent nootropic, most of which are generally mild and subside as the body gets used to it.

In cases of severe side effects, it is recommended to seek emergency help.

While Modafinil can be obtained without a prescription online, it is essential to prioritize safety and consult a healthcare professional before considering its use. However, if you wish to buy Modafinil for its off-label use, you can get affordable Modafinil 200 tablets from Healthmatter pharmacy.


Modafinil can cause physical and psychological dependence when used in the long term.

Some of the precautions and warnings that one should keep in mind with Modafinil use are - 

  • Use the medicine with caution if you have kidney or liver disease or high blood pressure.

  • Avoid consuming alcohol while taking Modafinil because it can worsen the side effects of the medicine.

  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while on this drug.

  • In the event of an allergic reaction, seek medical help.

  • Keep the medicine away from children.

The most common side effects of Modafinil are headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, heartburn, constipation, gas, diarrhea, flushing, nose bleeds, sweating, tremors, confusion, eye pain, back pain, excessive thirst, and insomnia. Most of these side effects do not last for too long and can be managed through rest.

Some of the rare or severe side effects of Modafinil are blisters, peeling skin, rash, anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, chest pain, hives, mouth sores, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and hoarseness. One should seek medical attention if they notice any of the severe side effects mentioned above.

Modafinil interacts with other drugs if it is taken with drugs such as hormonal birth control, opioid medications, zolpidem, nimodipine, cyclosporine, clozapine, clarithromycin, antiseptic, and antiretroviral combination products. Therefore, it is advised to avoid combining them.

The recommended dosage of Modafinil is 200 mg, and one can decrease or increase their dosage through a doctor’s consultation.

One can reduce the risk of developing dependence or addiction to Modafinil by not taking it for the long term.

Yes, Pregnant and breastfeeding women and pediatric and geriatric groups of people should avoid taking Modafinil due to safety concerns.

No, there have not been any reports of any clinically apparent damage to the liver or other organs due to Modafinil use.

No, it is not safe to take Modafinil during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

In rare cases, users can experience tiredness after taking Modafinil.

Constipation is one of the common side effects of Modafinil.


  1. Modafinil, Wikipedia

  2. Beginners guide to Modafinil for weight loss,
  3. Effects of modafinil on cognitive performance and alertness during sleep deprivation, NCBI

  4. A randomized, double-blind, crossover trial of modafinil on mood, NCBI
  5. Modafinil, NCBI

  6. MODAFINIL DOSAGE GUIDE: 50MG, 100MG, 200MG, OR 400MG DOSE, cognitune

  7. Modafinil,alzdiscovery 

  8. Modafinil, Medlineplus
  9. Modafinil (Provigil) Addiction: Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal,   and Treatment, novarecoverycenter

  10. Provigil (Modafinil), medicalnewstoday


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.