Modafinil Side Effects: A Complete Guide 2020 | Smart Drug Reviews

Modafinil side effects

Modafinil Side Effects: A Complete Guide 2020 | Smart Drug Reviews


Modafinil has been touted as a "safe" nootropic, study drug or smart pill (whichever term you prefer), but is that true?

We asked our team of experts to explore the existing literature and to delve a little deeper into modafinil's side effects. We examined people's personal experiences and existing scientific literature to dig to the bottom of this issue.

Does modafinil have any side effects? What are they - and what do most users report as problems? What would we recommend to take instead of modafinil? 

Find out the answers to these questions (and more) by reading on.

If you're interested in the topic of modafinil, you should also consider checking out our Ultimate Modafinil UK Guide: Effects, Side Effects, Dosage and More.




What are modafinil's side effects?

What are modafinil's long-term effects?

The best modafinil alternatives

- Conclusion

Overview: What is modafinil?

Modafinil - Provigil (generic) - is the most popular ‘study drug’ in Britain.

The Tab has estimated that around 20% of all students in the UK have used it, and it can often seem like a ‘miracle drug’ for students and those who want to concentrate/focus better.

If you want to learn more about modafinil, click here to head to our Ultimate Modafinil Guide.

But, does modafinil have side-effects?

This article will look at modafinil scientifically, referencing studies and published material, to determine whether modafinil has side effects that you should be concerned about if taking it as a ‘smart drug’.

This article will be as based on fact and science as much as possible, taking material from authoritative sources such as medical publications, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Health Service (NHS).

It aims to provide a balanced, fair assessment of modafinil’s side effects. As always, you can find our references at the end of the page.

Quick Tip: BrainZyme Focus Pro works as a great alternative to AdderallModafinil's mechanism of action is (by a large degree) to act on the brain neurotransmitter dopamine, of which one pathway has a major motivational component. It can, for some, also increase wakefulness and decrease appetite.

A safe, natural and fully legal UK alternative such as Brainzyme® Focus Pro works on the same pathway as modafinil (and thus has similar results with fewer side effects).

Background: What is modafinil used for?

Modafinil, first synthesised in the 1970s, is a legitimate pharmaceutical used to treat sleep disorders like narcolepsy. It is similar in effects to Adrafinil.

Its wakefulness-promoting effects have led to it being used off-label by shift workers and students to stay up and study.

Modafinil is also believed by some to boost brainpower, improving concentration and memory, contributing further to its use by students and other academics.

When used in this way, the most common way to attain modafinil is either online through unlicensed pharmacies or through friends.

What are modafinil's side effects?

Common Modafinil side effects can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach Aches
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)

These side effects are quite common, and you see the same side effects from similar substances such as Adrafinil and Armodafinil.

One commonly reported side effect that is not mentioned here is modafinil side effects on the stomach. Often, users report having diarrhoea and having to use the toilet more often than usual.

Watch: Tim Grivell Msc MBACP (Registered Psychologist & Counsellor) talks about modafinil side effects.

Teva, one of modafinil’s manufacturers, says that headaches may occur in ‘more than one in ten’ modafinil users.

Modafinil abuse can also lead to addiction - either psychologically or physically, so it is recommended to take breaks.

Rarer and more serious side effects of modafinil are suggested by the American FDA’s documentation on the drug.

Rarer modafinil side effects include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Mania
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Psychosis
  • Mania
  • Delusions
  • Skin rash (severe - to the point of hospitalisation).

Doctors warn that if you experience any of these symptoms then you should stop taking modafinil straight away.

Modafinil reviews corroborate these side effects.

As many users purchase modafinil online, from unregistered and unregulated pharmacies, you cannot guarantee that what you are getting is what you are told. Therefore side effects may vary.

Below is the chemical structure of Modafinil:

the chemical structure of modafinil

What are modafinil's long-term effects?

The long-term effects and side effects of modafinil are also not fully known. The drug has not been around long enough for us to have researched it fully, meaning there might be issues that we aren’t aware of connected to extended use.

However, there is research on the effects extended modafinil use can have.  A study has suggested that long-term use of modafinil can have "deeply concerning" effects, as it is believed to impair brain plasticity in young adults or adolescents. 

Given that students - mostly comprising younger people - are the most likely demographic to take the drug, this is a very relevant issue.

What is known, however, is that the longer you take modafinil, the more likely you are to experience the shorter-term side effects and they will, in fact, become more and more severe with increased usage.

As mentioned before, there isn't much data on the long-term effects, but the aforementioned study states that "modafinil could induce changes in plasticity or behavioural rigidity, and potentially damage WM [working memory], logical thinking and decision making," in young adults.

The best modafinil alternatives

Because of the high risk of side-effects, we recommend that people who want to boost cognitive performance to use natural brain food supplements that provide similar effects but without the side-effects modafinil causes.

Our recommended brain food supplement is Brainzyme, which has been scientifically proven to support concentration, mental performance and the reduction of tiredness.

We've compared the effects below. 

Modafinil Brainzyme
Helps concentration, motivation, wakefulness
Works fast
Helps concentration, motivation, energy
Works fast
Side effects Side effects
o Headache
o Dry mouth
o Sweating
o Tapping/restlessness
o Feeling antisocial – may be impatient/irritable
o Anxiety if not doing what you want to do
Hardly any side effects; some reports of feeling thirsty or going to the bathroom more
Wakefulness Wakefulness
Keeps you awake for a long time.
Potentially longer than you want to.
Difficulty switching off
Helps maintain wakefulness and alertness
Focus Focus
Laser focus, which can be on the wrong task
You may end up playing computer games, reading about other topics, etc
Can be detrimental to studying
Helps give you the motivation and will to work, and aids in reducing distractions.
Assists in maintaining a natural focus.
Stimulation Stimulation
Highly stimulating, causing agitation in some individuals. Calms and focuses the mind.
Tolerance Tolerance
May cause tolerance, needing increased doses to have the same effect. No issues with tolerance
Availability/Legality Availability/Legality
Only available by prescription
Maybe screened for in sporting drugs tests
Readily available to buy
Legal and natural for sporting use
Both aid in motivation, better concentration and alertness.

Modafinil tends to be harsher, with more potential for side-effects which can lower productivity and hinder results in the long-term.

However, Brainzyme is smoother, and overall may yield more productivity and better results, especially over weeks and months.

You would need to decide for yourself which one is better for you, especially in light of the side-effects and other issues.



So, there we have it.

Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to impress your friends about the dangers of pharmaceutical study drugs, such as modafinil.

Despite these dangers, more and more people are continuing to take modafinil and other similar substances to boost concentration, mental performance and energy.

Instead of buying a risky pharmaceutical, you should consider natural brain supplements.

Related articles

If you have enjoyed this article about modafinil side effects, we recommend you also check out the following related articles:

The Ultimate Modafinil UK Guide: Effects, Side Effects, Dosage and More.

The Ultimate 2020 Adderall UK Guide: Legality, Alternatives and More.

Smart Pill UK 2019 Review - Which Ones to Try and Which to Avoid.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you take modafinil and have experienced any side-effects, and are concerned in any way, please speak with your doctor.

* = Important note - whilst Brainzyme is scientifically proven to support concentration and mental performance, it is not a replacement for a good diet, moderate exercise or sleep. Brainzyme is also not a drug, medicine or pharmaceutical. It is a natural-sourced, vegan food supplement with ingredients that are scientifically proven to support cognition, concentration, mental performance and reduction of tiredness. You should always consult with your doctor if you require medical attention.


  • Hi Bella!

    BrainZyme is a naturally-sourced brain food supplement so no, you do not need a prescription.

    If you were looking for the one with the most similar effects to modafinil, we recommend BrainZyme Professional as both of those work on the dopamine pathway in the brain.

    I hope this helps!

    Robert (Mod)
  • Do you need a prescription for brainzyme?


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