An effective drug that become you smarter during your complex tasks

By Dr. Sara Raza on Friday, 05 March 2021

Modafinil is a prescription drug, which classifies under the central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Modafinil is used to treat the symptoms of narcolepsy, dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleepiness and obstructive sleep apnea (a disorder in which throat muscle relaxes intermittently and airway passage become narrow during sleep).

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Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting drug. Modafinil is a safe and effective drug for short term treatment. Many scientists have revealed that it boosts cognitive functions without causing potential side effects.

Many researchers have evaluated that it could improve the cognitive functions of the brain, but the results were unclear. To clarify this thing, researchers then at the University of Oxford researched between 1990 and 2014 then published the results that specifically looked at how modafinil improve cognitive functions. In that review, which was published in 2015 in European Neuropsychopharmacology, the journal found the technique used to access modafinil firmly affect the consequences.

In that method, they used two groups and asked them to do a challenging and complex task after taking modafinil and placebo. Those who took modafinil were more accurate, suggesting that modafinil affects higher cognitive functions, mainly executive and learning and attention. A language learning task’s performance becomes significantly more significant in the modafinil group than the placebo.

Many GP very likely prescribes off label drugs (unapproved use of an approved drug) to improve one’s concentration. But actually, the long-term use of modafinil (brain boosting agent) is yet under the trail. So, no one yet knows about the effectiveness of modafinil for the long term in healthy individuals. Many students use it, particularly during university examination.

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Modafinil enhanced memory, motivation, productivity, drive, increased mental stamina or endurance and an unrelenting ability to focus for hours at a time.

Modafinil is a psychostimulant agent. The recommended dose of modafinil is 200mg taken once daily (OD) orally. After oral admiration, it is well absorbed and achieves peak plasma concentration between two to four hours. Its half-life is approximately 12 to 15 hours.

Modafinil act by a complex mechanism that is not fully understood. But it is thought that it inhibits the transporter of adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters. In this way, all these neurotransmitters stay longer between presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes. It is also believed that modafinil’s action on orexin also increases in the hypothalamic release of histamine, and one of the actions of histamine is arousal and wakefulness.

Modafinil has many side effects; it has shown to cause headaches, diarrhoea, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, rhinitis, and some researchers predict it could be addictive. At higher doses or illicit use of this drug can cause potential adverse effects such as psychosis.

These types of problem can occur when you are treating an illness, but if you do not have any medical condition, then the benefit and adverse effect ratio change drastically.

So, it is necessary to take modafinil when perceived cognitive demands are high or when their performance may be lowered through some form of impairment such as low baseline levels, lower IQ. In unimpaired individuals, modafinil may have little or no enhancing effects.


Cognition enhancing drug (Modafinil) effect differently in different people.

Children: Many clinical trials suggested that modafinil is safe for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but after some time, it was also evaluated that drugs could affect the developing brain’s ability to adapt to new situations and might increase the risk for addictive behaviours if used for a more extended period of time.

People with low intelligence quotient (IQ): cognition-enhancing drugs offer greater IQ levels.

Older population: Some studies suggest that older adults may not gain many benefits from cognition-enhancing drugs. These drugs boost working memory and attention in young adults, did not affect performance among healthy elderly. But it can improve the functions of the brain among unhealthy geriatrics.