Nootropic drugs or psychostimulants are used to increase concentration, get rid of drowsiness, and improve memory and perception. They stimulate brain activity and relieve sleep problems. One of the most well-known drugs of this type is Modafinil.

Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics

Modafinil increases dopamine levels in the striatum and the nucleus accumbens, norepinephrine in the hypothalamus, and serotonin in the amygdala, respectively. Under the action of the inhibitor component, the glutamatergic chain is activated, while the transmission of the nerve signal is suppressed under the influence of gamma-aminobutyric acid. The drug involves in its work the neuropeptides orexins, also known as hypocretins, which are responsible for regulating wakefulness.
The activation of these neurons leads to an increase in the level of histamine, reducing the craving for drowsiness.


Modafinil is available in the form of oral tablets. The concentration of the eponymous active substance in tablets is either 100 mg or 200 mg.

Indications for use

Modafinil can be used in the case of the following:

  • Increased drowsiness or apathy
  • Fatigue
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Memory impairment

Dosing and administration

On average, the dosage of the drug is 100 mg to 200 mg/day. Athletes should take tablets of 50 mg to 100 mg, gradually increasing the dose. The drug should be used two hours to three hours before a sporting event. It is indicated for aerobic exercise with increased endurance.

Treatment of cocaine addiction

Experimentally, modafinil has been used to treat cocaine addiction. A double-blind study showed that dependent people increased the number of days of consistent nonuse of cocaine with the use of modafinil, though there was no effect on the rate of change in the days of nonuse. No patent was obtained.

Weight loss

People even with a healthy weight can use modafinil to reduce appetite and weight loss. According to several studies, modafinil users lost weight and reduced calorie intake by 18% when taking 200 mg/day and by 38% when taking 400 mg/day as compared with a placebo. Scientists attribute the effect of a decrease in appetite with amphetamine-like effects, but the drug in question does not increase the pulse rate.

Cirrhosis of the liver

Chronic liver diseases lead to excessive fatigue and daytime sleepiness in patients. Modafinil may help these individuals to cope with such. According to laboratory data, two months of use of the drug helps to reduce the symptoms of fatigue significantly. For the evaluation of analyzes, the Epworth sleepiness scale was used.

Treatment of mental disorders

Though not the intended purpose of the drug, it can be used to treat mental disorders. It restores cognitive abilities in people who have undergone chemotherapy, alleviates memory problems, alleviates depression in bipolar affective disorder, and reduces symptoms of neurological fatigue in multiple sclerosis. In pediatrics, modafinil is used sparingly to treat an attention-deficit disorder in children and adolescents aged six years to 17 years.

Side effects

The most common side effects of modafinil are backache, headache, nausea, anxiety, nasal congestion, diarrhea, and dizziness.

Special instructions

Taking the drug in the second half of the day is not recommended due to its prolonged removal time from the body. Athletes must use the drug with caution because it can provoke a positive doping test. The medication is not approved for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding (lactation) because of possible harm to the fetus as well as after suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Drug interaction

Before starting therapy, the patient should notify their doctor about any other medications being taken, because the combination of modafinil with other drugs may have an unpredictable effect. For example, it reduces the effectiveness of birth control pills, which may lead to the development of an unwanted pregnancy. The combination of modafinil with alcohol is prohibited.