Does Modafinil Have Any Side Effects?

Modafinil is promoted as one of the best nootropics because of its ability to promote enhanced focus, concentration, and mental energy.

As a strong cognitive enhancer, this drug offers a lot of benefits when used in medical and off-label applications. Several scientific studies and clinical trials have found it effective in boosting productivity, increasing concentration and maximizing cognitive capacities.

Before you decide to get opt for this medication, it is important that you understand how it affects the body and know its potential side effects.

Is Modafinil Safe to Use

While this drug is generally safe to use and has been used by millions of people worldwide, there are several possible side effects and dangers associated with using a compound as strong as this. It is, however, difficult to know the kind of reaction a particular user will experience.

While you may not experience any side effects, other users may have bad reactions when taking it. It is, therefore, important to consult a healthcare professional before using this medication to determine if it’s safe for you. It should also be taken as directed by a physician and shouldn’t be purchased from unknown pharmacies.

Modafinil Side Effects: Do They Exist?

As stated earlier, the drug is generally safe to use but there are potential side effects associated with it. Below, we have provided a comprehensive view of the potential side effects when taking this medication. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list as there may be others which we still need to research on. Read on to find more.

Major Side Effects

There are several serious side effects seen with this drug that you need to be aware of. Most of these are only seen in a very small profile of users. If experienced, it is recommended that you stop using the drug and seek immediate medical attention.

Some of these serious side effects which you must call a doctor the moment you experience them include:

  • Fever, vomiting, headache and sore throat with a severe, peeling, blistering and red skin rash.
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.
  • Bruising, numbness, severe tingling, muscle weakness and pain.
  • Hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior.
  • White patches or sores on your lips or inside your mouth.
  • Chest pain or uneven heart beats.
  • Depression, anxiety, and aggression.
  • Irregular heartbeat

In the most extreme cases, this prescription medication can cause a condition known as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis or Stevens Johnson Syndrome. This is a rare skin condition but possibly life-threatening. Inconclusive studies have found that this condition develops after a long period of consistent use of Modafinil.

Minor side effects

Most of the less serious side effects which many people experience are typical with many Nootropics. These may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the drug during treatment, these side effects may go away.

Some users may experience a few of these side effects while others may experience none. How intense and how long they can last varies between users.

Potentially less serious side effects to look out for include, but not limited to:

  • Headache and dizziness
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Feeling nervous or agitated
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Dry mouth.

Get emergency medical help if any of the above effects continue or persist. Your physician may be able to recommend ways to reduce the accompanying symptoms.

Clinical Trials Experience

Modafinil has undergone many clinical trials to evaluate its safety in over 3,500 patients. Of these participants, 2,000 patients were suffering from excessive sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and shift work disorder (SWD).

Most common adverse reactions

In placebo-controlled clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions associated with the use of Modafinil more frequently than placebo-treated patients were nervousness, rhinitis, headache, nausea, diarrhea, back pain, dyspepsia, anxiety, insomnia, and dizziness. The adverse reaction profile was similar across all studies.

Dose-dependent adverse reactions

Doses of 200mg, 300mg, and 400mg per day of Modafinil were compared in the placebo-controlled clinical trials. Some of the dose-related adverse reactions were anxiety and headache.

Adverse reactions resulting in discontinuation of treatment

In placebo-controlled clinical trials whereby 934 patients participated, 8% of the participants who received Modafinil discontinued because they developed adverse reactions compared to 3% of participants who received placebo. The common reasons for discontinuation that occurred at a higher rate for Modafinil than placebo patients were insomnia, headache, nervousness, nausea, anxiety, and chest pain.

Laboratory Abnormalities

In another study, clinical chemistry, urinalysis, and hematology parameters were monitored after use of Modafinil. Mean alkaline phosphatase (AP) and plasma levels of gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) were found to be higher following the use of this prescription medication, but not placebo. However, some few patients reported AP and GGT elevations outside of the normal range.

Post-marketing Experience

Agranulocytosis and psychomotor hyperactivity are some of the adverse reactions that were identified during post approval use of this prescription medication. Because these adverse reactions were reported voluntarily from uncertain sizes of participants, it is not possible to estimate a causal relationship or their frequency to drug exposure.

Precautions when using Modafinil

Less serious side effects like those we have mentioned above may occur. If any of those effects persist or worsen, you should consult with your healthcare professional immediately. Also, tell your healthcare professional if you experience any serious side effect that we have mentioned above.

Remember that your healthcare professional has prescribed this medication and recommended the right dosage for you. Do not exceed the recommended dosage which is 400mg per day at the highest. Make sure to take the recommended dosage to prevent these side effects from occurring.

If you are planning to take Modafinil to counter excessive drowsiness as a result of irregular schedule, a condition known as shift work sleep disorder, you should take it about one to three hours before the shift begins.

Modafinil may interact with other prescription medication, nonprescription drugs or alcoholic drinks to cause serious side effects in the body. Avoid alcoholic beverages and these prescription medications while taking Modafinil.


Although Modafinil is used to promote enhanced focus, concentration, and mental energy, as a remedy to combat sleepiness, it should not be used for the treatment of sleep disorders. Try natural alternatives to resolve any sleep disorders. Tell your doctor immediately if you are experiencing serious side effects.

References – Provigil Side Effects – Modafinil Side Effects – Modafinil

Modafinil Side Effects & Dangers – Is Modafinil Safe?