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Modafinil is a very unique and capable drug that has incredible potential as a nootropic. Modafinil is technically not classified as a stimulant but instead as a eugeroic – a wakefulness-promoting agent. However, it has a lot of off label use for its cognitive enhancing properties and is popular among the Silicon Valley types and college students alike.
Modafinil is not comparable to Adderall; it does not induce euphoria, it is non-addictive, and has a very different pharmacological profile and mechanism of action. The most common include nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, GI distress, and insomnia1www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/2pdfs.semanticscholar.org/227a/c1127322026353e2c1b61eabf23b2d0b9040.pdf3www.nature.com/articles/1301534.
Modafinil increases wakefulness, alertness, concentration, focus, and working memory1www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/2pdfs.semanticscholar.org/227a/c1127322026353e2c1b61eabf23b2d0b9040.pdf3www.nature.com/articles/1301534. Modafinil’s characteristic of improving cognitive performance appears to be effective even in healthy, non sleep-deprived individuals, which demonstrates its utility as a smart drug/cognitive enhancer3www.nature.com/articles/1301534.
There are legitimate medical uses for those with sleep problems including sleep apnea and narcolepsy, but it is still highly effective for well-rested and healthy individuals.
The pharmacological profile is very unique and I find it to be one of the most intriguing drugs on the market.
Oddly enough, the wakefulness-promoting effects of Modafinil primarily come from it’s ability to raise histamine levels in the hypothalamus1www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/2pdfs.semanticscholar.org/227a/c1127322026353e2c1b61eabf23b2d0b9040.pdf3www.nature.com/articles/13015344www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22640618.
Histamine is not a very common target among drugs, with most OTC drugs actually being anti-histamines in the form of allergy medications. Funny enough, almost all drugs that were first developed for combating allergies would cause drowsiness, and many of them contain pseudoephedrine to combat this. The newer ones target a more specific histamine receptor which is less involved in sedation and drowsiness.
But I digress. One of the roles that histamine plays in the body is the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle56. Elevated histamine levels basically cause your body to “wake up” in a rather more impactful and direct way than coffee, which works on the adenosine system.
Modafinil is also a mild dopamine reuptake inhibitor1www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/2pdfs.semanticscholar.org/227a/c1127322026353e2c1b61eabf23b2d0b9040.pdf3www.nature.com/articles/13015347, though this effect is fairly modest and does not fully account for its wakefulness-promoting effects. Additionally, through indirect mechanisms, Modafinil also robustly increases levels of norepinephrine, GABA, glutamate, and serotonin to varying degrees in different regions of the brain, and the direct cause of this remains elusive1www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/2pdfs.semanticscholar.org/227a/c1127322026353e2c1b61eabf23b2d0b9040.pdf3www.nature.com/articles/1301534.
Interestingly enough, Modafinil is also a very potent neuroprotective agent and there is some speculation that this also contributes to its wakefulness-promoting effects3www.nature.com/articles/1301534.
You’ll notice that I referenced three articles numerous times throughout this, if you’re interested I would check out these academic sources, as they contain incredibly comprehensive, detailed, and fascinating information on the drug. I found this source to have the most practical and digestible information.
Where to Purchase Modafinil
This vendors offers two different brands: Sun Pharma and Hab Pharma. I would recommend Sun Pharma as it is a significantly larger pharmaceutical company and will likely have more sophisticated quality-control measures in place.
The website contains both Modafinil and Armodafinil. I have not tried the latter, however considering that it is more potent, you could theoretically save some money even though it is more expensive, if you were to cut the pill in half.
In short, I would say that the best choice is from on that website would be Waklert, followed by Artvigil, then Modalert, then Modvigil, though the differences between all of them may vary between individuals.
The half-life of Modafinil is 12-15 hours8. Therefore, it is recommended to take it immediately upon waking and give it an hour to fully absorb in the gut before eating. In fact, I actually will wake up 1-2 hrs earlier than I normally would to compensate for it’s long half-life. A typical dose is between 100-200mg, but first-time users may want to try 50mg and continually up their dosage if needed. Modafinil is best used sparingly, I personally do not use it more than once or twice a week at most.