Mechanism and uses of Modafinil

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Due to its ability to enhance memory, keep you alert and active for extended periods, modafinil has become quite common among academic circles as well as business executives. I mean, who does not want to be ‘cleaver’ and all active, especially when their maximum output is needed?

The excitement behind how functional this drug is has sparked great interest among many other groups, not just students. The most unfortunate bit of all this is that these people fail to recognize possible effects resulting from it. 

Lots of bloggers talk of it quite eloquently however fail as well to emphasize the potential ill fates associated with its over-time usage. Instead, they put their focus on their short-term effects, which sounds more attractive.

Before we get into understanding the long-term effects of Modafinil, it is essential that we first learn of its primary user types. These include;

The Daily Users

This category consists of those who are under medication and use the drug daily as prescribed by their doctor. Such people include persons suffering from sleep apnoea or narcolepsy. Other people in this category include Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) patients or those suffering from multiple sclerosis conditions growing fatigued in them.

Such people may experience more or intense long-term side effects, which would most likely affect their lives more. They should ensure to make their doctor’s aware of any of the abnormal effects they might face.

Occasional users

Not all modafinil users would want the drug for medical reasons. Some would wish to them for purposes of enhancing their competitive edge. Such situations are widespread with students or business executives. If they need to maximize their performances, some always chose to use modafinil. For students, it could be in preparation for a test or an interview. CEO and other business executives will need it when they have a huge workload that needs ultimate concentration and keenness. 

For whichever of these cases, the prescription varies. Will take the drug once or twice every month while other 1 to 4 times every week.

Those looking for more frequent cognitive enhancement 

This category of users contains the high-performers. It consists of those who take this drug to enhance their daily output. They lead a healthy life, sleeping as required, eating healthy, do not drink or smoke, and are mindful of performances. 

These people use the drug more frequently daily; however, not for medical reasons but to boost their productivity. 

How Modafinil works

Mainly, this drug affects the functionality of the brain. 

  1. It induces the production of high dopamine levels in the brain

Dopamine is a vital neurotransmitter that, when in high concentration, alters and regulates certain brain operations. Apart from adjusting your routines and habits, it affects one’s learning process, memory, focus, and even emotions.

Long-term effects of high dopamine concentration

While under its influence, you intend to stay active, sharp, and happy. Well, all these you may experience as short-term effects. However, the high concentration of dopamine in the brain you must know bears severe long-term effects. It is likely to enhance the addiction potential, especially if you take it alongside other substances such as alcohol. To other people, it causes depression alongside hormonal imbalance.  

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  1. Modafinil keeps the brain awake

Each one of us has some sought of a biological clock we calibrate with the nature of our daily routines. It, therefore, understands when to send us to sleep and when to wake up. You must have experienced this. When it is your usual bedtime, you naturally feel sleepy and wake up always at certain times you are used to. 

What therefore, happens when you have to adjust your sleep hours or time? It might be because of your new job needing you to wake up early or come back late at night. It will mean that your level of focus on your job will lower due to a lack of enough rest. 

What Modafinil, therefore, does in helping such situations is stimulating the nervous system controlling waking up. By this, it releases orexin, which is a neuropeptide into the brain hence activating the waking portion of the nervous system.

Long-term effects of keeping yourself awake using Modafinil

  • Chronic insomnia
  • Poor concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  1. Modafinil increases Norepinephrine concentration in the brain

Norepinephrine is one of the vital hormones and, again, a neurotransmitter essential in moments of fighting and flight. It helps us get away from any danger or stressful condition, making us uncomfortable by activating the defensive mechanism in us.

To enable this, it increases the glucose level in our blood and shuts down other systems like digestion and immune function, which may not be very necessary at the moment. 

Long-Term Effects of high Norepinephrine concentration

  • Insomnia/ excessive sleeping
  • High vulnerability to stressful conditions 
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Poor digestive function
  • Low immunity

According to various medical researches on Modafinil, only a limited number of users tend to experience any of these long term side effects. Different categories of users will as well have their varied side effects since it will also depend on the level of the substance concentration in the body. 

For instance, occasional users will hardly experience any of the severe long term user effects as opposed to frequent users. Most of the adverse effects, however, occur to those abusing the drug or using it alongside other toxic substances such as alcohol.


Modafinil, sometimes referred to as Provigil, is one of the schedule IV prescription drugs highly effective in its operation. Various research work on its performance confirms its high effectiveness in keeping its users awake, focused, and happy.

 Like most other drugs affecting the brain’s performance, this drug comes with lots of both short-term and long-term effects, some positive others negative. Some of the negative ones can be very adverse, and each user should be very much aware of this. 

For its safe use ever, always a doctor’s prescription is better. Self-diagnosis of sleep disorders, if you are not a medic, should not be your push to utilizing this drug. Always seek excellent medical attention for your ill-health condition for proper diagnosis.  




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