Modafinil is Problematic.

Modafinil and I go back. Way back. I’ve used Modafinil well over a hundred times, I’ve used every type of Modafinil. You name it — Armodafinil, Artvigil, Adrafinil, Modalert — I’ve metabolized it! While Modafinil holds a special place in my heart, it’s problematic.

In this article, I’ll break down ten issues with Modafinil and I’ll suggest an alternative.

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1. Sleep Disruption

This is the main reason why I’ve cut way back on my Modafinil usage. As you become more self-aware as a biohacker you realize how costly bad sleep is.

  • Just a night of bad sleep has a deleterious effect on your intelligence and capacity to solve problems. According to a Time magazine article Missing an hour of sleep turns a sixth grader’s brain into that of a fourth-grader.
  • If you want to make some bad decisions, get some bad sleep. It causes foolish, impulsive decision making, from some scientific research published in the book NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children: A tired brain perseverates — it gets stuck on a wrong answer and can’t come up with a more creative solution, repeatedly returning to the same answer it already knows is erroneous.
  • As you’ve probably experienced, bad sleep really hits your productivity, focus, and mood.
  • Chronic bad sleep contributes to heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s.

The pharmacological purpose of Modafinil is keeping Narcoleptics awake, if you don’t have narcolepsy it may keep you from naturally falling asleep and getting good sleep. It remains in your body and affects your sleep for 15–20 hours after you consume it.

To quote tarbtl on Longecity:

“The only thing I notice is I’m able to stay “awake” longer. It completely kills deep sleep for the time it’s in effect (6–8) hours so you can forget about taking naps. Also, it makes me a tad bit nauseous and makes my head feel more “swollen”. That’s about it as far as effects go. I took 200mg the first day and couldn’t sleep that night.”

Watch: How to get AMAZING sleep after a “Modafinil Day” [MODAWAKE® Biohacker Review]

There are a few things that you can do to mitigate the chances of Modafinil ruining your sleep.

  • Don’t take a full dose. I now cut Modafinil or Armodafinil tablets in half so I’m only doing 75–100 milligrams instead of the full 150–200.
  • Dose very early. Since it stays in your system so long I only take Modafinil very early in the morning; like around 6 AM or 7 AM.
  • Use tranquilizers in the evening. When it’s finally time to relax; use some natural anxiolytics like Ashwagandha, CBD oil or Apple Cider Vinegar and honey tea.

But Modafinil is a very powerful drug and even taking these steps Modafinil may result in a night of crappy sleep or hours spent tossing and turning in bed with your mind racing. This is why I use it less frequently now, I only touch it if I really need a day of powerful focus and wakefulness which is worth sacrificing some of the following day’s productivity.

2. Anxiety

A very frequently reported side effect of Modafinil and something I’ve certainly experienced is anxiety. It’s a hardcore stimulant and it may make you nervous, irritable or even paranoid. As a rule of thumb, if you start getting annoyed by little things — your family, slow people at stores, traffic, etc — while dosed on a Nootropic, you’re overstimulated. Good Nootropics should put you into a state of relaxed-arousal, where you’re focused and motivated but also clear-headed and happy. If you’re motivated yet angry you’re doing it wrong!

A number of biohackers on Longecity discussed the downsides of Modafinil

Especially counteradvised for anyone with predisposition for anxiety, OCD and generally having a cocky personality (you’ll later regret the things you said on moda). I’m also unimpressed by its effect on creativity…

I have some ill effects if I use every day, especially anxiety, which is why its not a regular thing for me to use.

I also feel pretty excited (which is verging on anxiety). It’s really a very surreal feeling. I’m still trying to assess whether it’s pros outweigh the cons.

To avoid a minor panic attack while on Modafinil, don’t combine it with too many other stimulants, go easy on the coffee (or Nicotine) add some light anxiolytics to your daily stack, like L-Theanine (drink a lot of green tea) or a small dose of a few hundred milligrams of Ashwaghanda.

3. Dopamine Desensitization

Modafinil releases a lot of Dopamine into your synapses, which is part of what makes it such an effective smart drug for many (just try having sex on it!) This can also result more problematically in Dopamine Desensitization. This could manifest in a higher tolerance to Modafinil (needing to do more of it to get the same cognition-enhancing effect) or, more concerning, it could rob the joy out of the simple, natural pleasures of life. You may find that after chronic use of Modafinil you just don’t enjoy a succulent meal or deep conversation with a friend as much. This may account for some of the personality changes discussed in this article.

To quote from a 2014 paper, Performance enhancement at the cost of potential brain plasticity

Cognitive enhancement is no longer a scientific fiction; we must consider the unique dynamics of the developing brain and proceed cautiously until thorough safety and efficacy parameters have been established.

4. Histamine Reactions

Modafinil stands out as an ostensible Nootropic in that it hacks histamine, the neurotransmitter that you are probably well acquainted with thanks to the annoying itch you get after being bitten by a mosquito. Modafinil’s wakefulness mechanism works by elevating histamine levels in the mind and body.

Boosting histamine may not have the performance-enhancing, smart drug effect that you desire.

The imminent biohacker Dr. Andrew Hill, in a Reddit AMA shared a harrowing negative reaction he had to Modafinil

“I hate modafinil. It put me in the hospital with body-covering hives, that lasted weeks and left me with reactive histamine system for months. If you don’t feel like eating today, google Erythema Multiforme Minor, to see what I was dealing with. Also, the cognitive enhancing effects are pretty minor — not as powerful as neurofeedback or mindfulness, or even piracetam imho, and definitely not sustainable. If you are narcoleptic it probably has good use, but I’m very adverse to it as an off-label drug for ADHD, etc. In fact, review papers show that there is an increased risk for side effects in people with attention issues.”

A reaction this bad is pretty rare, you probably don’t need to be paranoid about landing up in the hospital after taking Modafinil.

Whiskey on Longecity reported some unpleasant histamine related side effects…

“After third dose I noticed some reddish rash on my cheeks. It was not bad as I have had these before, but after the fourth dose my skin started to feel warm and itchy, but as I said, it has been very mild. I discontinued the use of modafinil and the rash has not yet spread… It seems that I am having allergic reaction and increased amounts of histamine H1 have caused the skin rash and H3 some sleep difficulties (even after the use was discontinued). I think antihistamines might work to relieve the problem… Can one get cured from modafinil allergy or prevent it happening with use of antihistamines?”

RXList.com lists among Modafinil’s side effects Serious Rash, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which is…

A serious systemic (body-wide) allergic reaction with a characteristic rash involving the skin and mucous membranes, including the buccal mucosa (inside of the mouth), conjunctiva, and genital areas.

An unpleasant dry mouth is another frequently reported symptom of histamine reactions…

“Modafinil gave me the WORST dry mouth I’d ever experienced, and I’ve been on more than a few drying agents. Unfortunately, I had to stop using it within a couple of days”

5. Effect on Personality

Few Modafinil users will deny its assortment of effects on one’s personality, not all good.

“It’s having many of the positive effects I had expected (enhanced mood, reduced fatigue etc) but I confess it’s also having a few unwanted effects. I’m more jittery and jumpy than i’ve ever been and sometimes stutter when trying to speak. I also feel pretty excited (which is verging on anxiety). It’s really a very surreal feeling. I’m still trying to assess whether it’s pros outweigh the cons.”

“Man I hate being modafinils bitch. It’s all nice and easy till I find myself snapping at others… I feel bad. Long term consumers of modafinil wouldnt be the type of people I would like to hang around with too much, specially heavy dutty users. Long term use of anything that takles with your brain will alter (in my opinion) your personality.”

“I’m very verbose about the first 3 hours after taking the pill, but after that it’s giving me speech problems, fucking-up my words…”

“…useful, but not perfect. Especially counteradvised for anyone with predisposition for anxiety, OCD and generally having a cocky personality (you’ll later regret the things you said on moda). I’m also unimpressed by its effect on creativity”

“The bad thing about it is that if anything goes wrong, or if I get even a little paranoid I find it impossible to stop thinking about that thing… I’ve decided that modifinil is not something I can take on a daily basis. It will be saved only for all nighters, and study time when I can be left alone and not worried or angered.”

“Whenever I was on Modafinil, around others, I would occasionally run my mouth, and unwittingly make terrible comments, as if the train of thought went faster than my consciousness of my actions.”

One Aussie reported that Modafinil enabled very costly and impulsive gambling…

“Seemed to work well except for one down side — made me gamble extremely impulsively. Third day on the dafodils (modafinil) went to the pub , usually put 20 to 50 buks through the machines and walk away but on the dafodils i managed to lose myself 5 grand — end result …..stopped taking them god dammed daffodils”

When I’m on potent smart drugs like Modafinil or Racetams I feel like a psychopath. In every social interaction, I’m visualizing an invisible chessboard of competing frames, motivations, desires, status, risk and opportunity.

Veteran Biohackers (or those close to them) will admit that long term Nootropics usage does change your personality. Amongst the anecdotal reports, a lot of people report that it makes them more cocky and egocentric.

If you’ve long been the nice guy (or gal) that people disregarded or took advantage of Piracetam may inject a quantum of psychopathy into your personality that makes you a bit more functional in a cynical, unfair world.

Watch: Quantum of Psychopathy

6. Retardation of Verbal Fluency?

Some report odd or undesirable effects on verbal fluency

“Modafinil fucks up my verbal fluency and choice of words often times”

“this is interesting, because i feel the same way. in particular i believe it affects my verbal abilities… i get the “tip of the tongue” problem… i know exactly what word i want to say in a conversation, but i just can’t think of it. sometimes it’ll take me 30 secs before i can remember what it was i wanted to say, but not before fumbling around for the right word.”

“It is an odd feeling. My description of it as being like a very short silent stutter. The mouth seems to open to form a word mid-sentence, but that word seems to not get sent from the brain so you find yourself struggling to find it for a few seconds.”

“Modafinil absolutely destroyed my verbal fluency when I was on it. Stuttering constantly with a cloudy head, never knowing what to say next. That’s exactly the reason I stopped using it… Not good for a sales job.”

7. Birth Control Disruption

Modafinil causes a higher rate of contraceptive failure when hormonal birth control is used concurrently with the smart drug according to an FDA research paper. Hormonal birth control is problematic (to be very charitable) but many women use it anyways. Don’t combine the two if you’re a woman and don’t want to become pregnant.

8. Unpredictable Side Effects

Perusing the internet you won’t have to search hard for reports of undesirable and more severe side effects.

Charles Muffin on Quora warned

“WARNING: I bought some of these pills online (both modafinil and armodafinil at different times) and used them for about 2 months with caffeine and have given myself some kind of heart attack / stroke.”

“The capacity of my heart seems to be reduced now. 6 Months on since, quitting all caffeine / stimulants I have tried drinking tea again and found that I cant even drink a single cup without my heart beating erratically for the rest of the day. I have seriously damaged my health by taking this stupid drug. I think I have shortened my life by 10–30 years as a result of listening to Dave Asprey’s advice of drinking coffee with this stuff, which I seriously do not recommend. Before doing this I was a pretty healthy and in shape 29 year old.”

9. Illegitimate Pharmaceutical Modafinil

If you research Modafinil much you’ll notice that most of the websites selling it are selling Indian manufactured Modafinil from HAB Pharma or Sun Pharma. This is problematic, to say the least, neither the manufacturers nor the vendors of Modafinil test the product for purity, legitimacy, or absence of toxins. From Medicines Made in India Set Off Safety Worries, a New York Times’ article

India’s drug industry is one of the country’s most important economic engines, exporting $15 billion in products annually, and some of its factories are world-class, virtually undistinguishable from their counterparts in the West. But others suffer from serious quality control problems. The World Health Organization estimated that one in five drugs made in India are fakes. A 2010 survey of New Delhi pharmacies found that 12 percent of sampled drugs were spurious.

10. Cost

Finally, Modafinil is a pricey habit, those little tablets cost between $1-$3 per dose (you need to buy it in significant quantities to get the price closer to a buck per dose!)

I’ll suggest that if your objective is performance optimization…

If you’re not struggling with narcolepsy; if it’s the wakefulness, focus, cognitive enhancement, and productivity that Modafinil is supposed to imbue that you want, there’s a lot better Nootropic option…

QUANTUMiND

This is a Nootropic stack that stands out as a wakefulness promoter and cognitive enhancer as an alternative to Modafinil.

Let’s look at the ingredients and how it might offer the upsides of Modafinil…

  • ALCAR — It has 500 milligrams of one of the most underrated Mitochondrial Nootropics. N-Acetyl L-Carnitine is the version of carnitine that passes the blood-brain barrier.
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid — 275 milligrams of this antioxidant that was demonstrated in a University of Massachusetts study to enhance cognition in combination with ALCAR, Alpha-GPC, and phosphatidylserine, other ingredients of QUANTUMiND.
  • Alpha-GPC — If you’re wondering why this stack is a bit pricier than a lot of products that you can find on Amazon or the shelves of your local pharmacy, high bioavailability ingredients like Alpha-GPC are why. This is the version of Choline that has been demonstrated to enhance cognition.
  • Ashwagandha — A Nootropic stack like this delivers a state of relaxed arousal by combining stimulating Nootropics with several anxiolytic Nootropics. Ashwagandha is a favorite sleep hack of mine but smaller quantities like the 200 milligrams in this stack simply take the edge off the anxiety that can result from combining a lot of stimulants.
  • Black Pepper — You’ve probably heard that you should combine the spices Turmeric and pepper to increase the absorption of the renowned Indian spice. This stack contains 10 milligrams of BioPerine®, a special patented version of pepper which is a bit fancier than what you can find in condiments. Pepper on its own as a supplement doesn’t do much, but it increases absorption of the other Nootropics in the stack. I think it’s a great addition that enhances the cognitive bang for your buck.
  • Caffeine — The current version of QUANTUMiND contains 300 milligrams of Caffeine which is a lot, enough to keep even a serious coffee drinker very awake for hours. The daily dose is 6 capsules, so you’re getting 50 milligrams per capsule. A strong coffee is typically about a 100 milligrams so you would definitely want to spread out your dosing; 3 capsules first thing in the morning and 3 around lunchtime. Doing QUANTUMiND after 6 PM in the evening may mess with your sleep if you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
  • Ginseng — It contains 200 milligrams of the storied and mystical Adaptogen Panax or True Ginseng, at this dosage, it has a subtle anti-stress effect.
  • Green Tea Extract — It has 150 milligrams of Camellia Sinensis leaf extract. This has an anxiolytic effect that enhances creativity just a bit. On my infrequent Modafinil Days, I try to drink 3–5 cups of green tea to keep my mood even and keep irritation and mild anxiety at bay.
  • Hordenine — Inhibits the dissolution of noradrenaline which results in an uptick in energy, motivation and possibly alertness.
  • L-Tyrosine — A natural amino acid, which interestingly shares some of Modafinil’s benefits when it comes to wakefulness. It contains 450 milligrams, which is a dose demonstrated to normalize cognitive function while in a sleep-deprived state.
  • Phenylethylamine — Or PEA, has been called a small molecule with a large impact, For those disorders that are characterized by low PEA levels (e.g. attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), PEA has been suggested as a ‘safe’ alternative to drugs, such as amphetamine or methylphenidate, which are accompanied by many undesirable side effects.
  • Phosphatidylserine — It contains 350 milligrams of The Golfer’s Nootropic, which interestingly increases performance without increasing stress levels, which is like having your cake and eating it too. Typically enhanced performance in the form of cognition and wakefulness has a downside of boosting stress hormones.
  • Shilajit — It contains 150 milligrams of this eastern adaptogen which mysteriously emerges from rocks! There are several clinical trials of Shilajit, demonstrating that it enhances testosterone by as much as 23.5%. According to some Chilean research, it’s a Potential Procognitive agent, It is a potent and very safe dietary supplement, restoring the energetic balance and potentially able to prevent several diseases.
  • Vitamin B12 — The daily dose 1000mcg has the Methylcobalamin version of essential brain vitamin, which has the subject of +40 clinical trials.

A 180 capsule bottle of QUANTUMiND runs about $65, which is a sufficient supply for you to use 6 capsules daily for 33 days which few will. You want to take a day or two a week off Nootropics. A 90 capsule supply is $35, this might be a more appropriate option for many because 6 capsules daily is a hefty dose of this potent Nootropic cocktail. To compare with Modafinil, a regular Modafinil habit can easily add up to $50 — $70 monthly.

A big usage difference between QUANTUMiND and Modafinil is that with Modafinil you’re pretty limited with your experimentation with the dosage. Modafinil is typically 150 or 200 milligrams, you can cut the tablet in half to halve the dosage, but if you want an even lower dosage sometimes the tablet crumbles, some people should only be taking like 50 milligrams of Modafinil. With QUANTUMiND the recommended daily dosage is 6 capsules so you have a whole lot more room to find your ideal dose.

Pure Nootropic Ingredients

One thing that makes QUANTUMiND stand out among Nootropic stacks is that they prove that it includes the advertised ingredients, by publishing a certificate of analysis from a 3rd party lab.

A few important things to note on these COAs…

  1. The spectroscopy confirms that the analyzed samples conform molecularly as the Nootropic ingredient.
  2. The analysis is of a recent batch of Nootropic ingredients. Nootropic ingredients tend to expire 2 years after synthesis.
  3. Crucially, toxic heavy metals are extremely scarce. Within acceptable Parts Per Million ranges.

What people are saying about QUANTUMiND…

Sabrina C. reported:

I have used modafinil a number of times for clarity of mind, focus and efficient productivity when in time crunches.

A drawback of modafinil was the medicine like side effects I would also experience.

With quantumind, I have all these benefits plus more without the side effects!

I took half the recommended dosage and had an incredible focus, increased stamina and energy without the side effects.

Akash adds:

Nootropics products can become quite expensive these days. However, if properly dosed, Quantumind is actually a bargain. You can tell this product is legit from its unique blend of quality ingredients. It has definitely improved my quality of life!

Taylor noted:

Another thing that stands out for me is that most of the [nootropics] included are at the appropriate dose for their benefits. A lot of other stacks seem to only put in small fractions of like, 50 random [nootropics], offering no actual benefit from any of them. This stack makes a lot more sense when looking at it. To put it simply, you get what you pay for, and what you pay for works excellently.

Dr. Philip Grivas discusses his dosing regimen:

As a chiropractor by day and “trader” by night, I’m always going. I take 2 capsules in the morning since I am a bit sensitive to caffeine, 2 capsules a few hours later and then 2 capsules around 4 PM. With this regimen my productivity is heightened from 8AM till about 9 PM.

If you’re acquainted with Modafinil, leave us a comment…

Let us know what effects, desirable or undesirable, you’ve experienced with Modafinil. How do other wakefulness-promoting Nootropics and cognitive enhancers compare to Modafinil?

Originally Published on LimitlessMindset.com. I’m not a doctor, medical professional, or trained therapist. I’m a researcher and pragmatic biohacking practitioner exercising free speech to share evidence as I find it. I make no claims. Please practice skepticism and rational critical thinking. You should consult a professional about any serious decisions that you might make about your health. Affiliate links in this article support Limitless Mindset — spend over $100 and you’ll be eligible to join the Limitless Mindset Secret Society.

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Jonathan Roseland

Jonathan Roseland

2.6K Followers

Adventuring philosopher, Pompous pontificator, Writer, K-Selected Biohacker, Tantric husband, Raconteur & Smart Drug Dealer 🇺🇸