Modafinil is a type of prescription medication taken to promote wakefulness and improve overall alertness by stimulating the brain’s neurotransmitters. This drug is often prescribed to patients who suffer from some sleep disorder, mostly, narcolepsy. In general, modafinil is also taken by individuals who commonly experience extreme levels of sleepiness during the day. The drug is also widely used to help those who have shifting work schedules to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

As we have noted at the start, modafinil is a prescription drug which means the proper dosage is vital when taking the medication to guarantee optimum positive results. Following dosage instructions will also help prevent side effects from occurring – and if you have done your research, you know that modafinil can cause a wide range of side effects from mild to severe. In some cases, side effects will depend on the patient’s histamine reaction, so those who are hypersensitive should always consult with their health professional.

Modafinil Uses

Modafinil, also known as Provigil, is a medication designed to stimulate brain activity to boost focus and increase wakefulness. It does so by explicitly affecting neurotransmitters in the brain by changing the natural chemicals being produced. Because of this particular effect, modafinil is one of the known treatments for narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleeping disorders. There are also other off-label uses of modafinil – something that some university students are undoubtedly aware of.

Some of the off-label uses of modafinil stem from its ability to improve focus and concentration. Something students will find highly beneficial during exam week. However, modafinil is a drug that should be taken with caution. While it has proven to have a low-risk chance of causing substance abuse, some of the side effects attributed to modafinil should not be taken lightly.

Modafinil Precautions

People who are hypersensitive to histamine chemical reactions should first consult their doctor. This is due to one of modafinil’s side effects being skin rashes and other allergic reaction symptoms. In some cases, the skin allergic reaction is so severe that the patient needed to check into the hospital for treatment.

Some of the allergic reactions that modafinil can trigger includes:

  • Skin rash
  • Blisters
  • Mouth sores
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Inflammation

Keep in mind that some of these side effects were only found in the most extreme cases, which are quite rare. It is also advisable for patients to notify their doctors if they have prior medical conditions such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • History of drug abuse

The medications taken to treat these conditions may cause an adverse reaction when taken with modafinil. Also, of note is that modafinil can sometimes cause the complete opposite response for specific individuals. It is best not to perform any physical activities that require concentration after taking modafinil for the first time to see how your brain reacts to the stimulant.

As of this writing, it is still not precisely known whether modafinil can affect pregnancy. It is advisable to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant in the future if you are getting treatment that involves taking modafinil. Modafinil is also recommended for individuals under the age of 18.

Standard Modafinil Dosage for Various Conditions

Below are the standard recommended dosages of modafinil for adults who are being treated for specific sleep order conditions.

Narcolepsy – 200mg per day in the morning, taken orally. Modafinil has a relatively long half-life, so it is best taken early in the morning.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – 200mg per day in the morning, taken orally. Modafinil can assist in the treatment of sleep apnea. However, this medication is not designed to treat the underlying issue that causes obstruction.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder – 200mg per day in the morning, orally taken. Best taken one hour before the start of your shift.

Before Taking Modafinil – What Else to Know

Modafinil, also known as Provigil, is a prescription medication and cannot be bought over the counter at your local pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. This should give you an inkling that this drug requires the strict following of instructions. It is essential not to take modafinil longer than what your doctor recommended. It would be best if you also refrained from taking it in large doses. Always stick with your doctor’s instructions to avoid unnecessary risks.

While rare, modafinil comes with the risk of becoming habit-forming. Individuals who have prior or current issues of drug abuse should not take this drug. It is best to also keep this medication in a safe place where it isn’t easily accessible by just about anyone in your residence.

With modafinil’s relatively long half-life, it is recommended to only take one per day, ideally in the morning. It is also safe to take modafinil with an empty stomach. Most doctors will require you to take this medication to treat sleep order no more than 12 weeks. If symptoms persist and your sleep order remains, it is best to have a follow-up checkup then continue taking the medication further.

As for treating obstructive sleep apnea, taking modafinil will not be enough; patients will be required to wear a CPAP machine when sleeping along with taking modafinil in the morning. The combination of CPAP and modafinil are considered to be the best treatment method for OSA. It would be best if you also inform your doctor of sleepiness during the daytime persists even after taking modafinil.


Modafinil is a medication that should not be taken on a whim. Only take medicine if instructed by your doctor. This drug should also be made within the recommended dosage as the risk of side effects is ever-present. All in all, this drug is relatively safe to use and can help you overcome your sleep disorder. However, it is a medication that requires a thorough checkup from the health professional before the prescription. Also, while the off-label benefits of modafinil seem tempting, we highly advise patients to stick to the doctor’s orders.

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