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What is Modafinil?

Modafinil (sold under the brand name Provigil) has continued to increase in popularity over the last decade, so much so that it has become synonymous with Nootropics and Smart Drugs.

Modafinil is generally a drug prescribed to improve wakefulness in people with sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS), and shift work disorder (SWD).

However, Modafinil has increasingly started to get used off-label due to it's known benefits of increasing cognitive function, including working memory, executive function, and decision-making ability. It has also been shown to improve mood and reaction times.

Modafinil is increasingly getting taken by students, entrepreneurs, lawyers, bankers, consultants - you name the industry and there would be people taking the drug regularly in to optimise their performance and to get the most out of their day.

Continue reading to get a better understanding of where Modafinil has come from, how it works, the benefits of taking it, and also importantly knowing the potential downsides.

Now let's get stuck into it!

What is Modafinil - Modafinil tablets in a hand

What does Modafinil do?

Modafinil is a central nervous system stimulant and wakefulness-promoting drug.

It is approved for the treatment of narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness in people with obstructive sleep apnea. Modafinil has also been used off-label to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, myotonic dystrophy and major depressive disorder.

Modafinil is structurally different from other central nervous system stimulants such as amphetamines, methylphenidate and cocaine. The precise mechanism by which Modafinil promotes wakefulness is unknown. However, it is thought to work by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, norepinephrine and histamine.

However, Modafinil is commonly used off-label for its stimulant effects to help increase cognitive performance, while promoting alertness and wakefulness.

What is Modafinil? Pile of white tablets.

How does Modafinil work?

The exact mechanism by which Modafinil works is still not completely understood. Despite decades of research conducted on Modafinil, it remains a mystery on how it effectively treats conditions such as narcolepsy and sleeping disorders.

Don't let that discourage you however, what research has been able to conclude is that Modafinil is effective.

There is ongoing research still underway to try and get to the bottom of this mystery, hopefully one day we'll find out. The good news is that we don't have to wait until then before we can experience the benefits that Modafinil has to offer.

Modafinil is a racemate with the two enantiomers; R-enantiomer and S-enantiomer. Armodafinil, which targets just the R-enantiomer, has also been commercialised as a waking drug, with some members of the community finding it to be more effective as a smart drug than Modafinil.

The pharmacological profile of Modafinil is notably different from the traditional psychostimulants, such as amphetamines, cocaine or methylphenidate.

Research indicates that Modafinil elevates dopamine levels in the hypothalamus. It is thought to do this by acting as a dopamine re-uptake inhibitor. Interestingly, it is understood that Modafinil binds to the same site on the Dopamine Transporter (DAT) as cocaine, but in a different way.

Aside from Modafinil, examples of other atypical DAT inhibitors include Vanoxerine and Benztropine, which have a relatively low potential for abuse similar to Modafinil.

How does modafinil work. Modafinil structure.

A quick history of Modafinil

Let's take a brief look at where Modafinil has come from...

Modafinil was originally created in France by neurophysiologist professor Michel Jouvet and Lafon Laboratories.

Modafinil emerged from the first of a series of benzhydryl sulfinyl compounds developed in the 1970s, that also included Adrafinil.

Modafinil is the primary metabolite of Adrafinil but it doesn't have the polar -OH group on its terminal amide and has similar activity to the parent drug but is more commonly used.

Modafinil was first offered as an experimental treatment for narcolepsy in France in 1986. From 1994, Modafinil then went on to be prescribed to patients in France under the name of Modiodal.

In late 2002, the UK also approved the used to Modafinil.

In 1998, Modafinil was approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Narcolepsy. Later in 2003, Modafinil was approved for the treatment of Sleep Work Shift Disorder and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

It was sold over the counter in the United States by the American biopharmaceutical company Cephalon. They used to lease the manufacturing rights from Lafon Laboratories, but in 2001 they made the move to acquire the whole company, giving them the sole manufacturing rights.

Cephalon were able to maintain their monopoly right up until 2012 through a combination of patent protection and litigation legal cases following the expiry of the Modafinil patent in 2001. Soon after generic versions of Modafinil were readily available worldwide and at a much more affordable price.

Michel Jouvet - French neuroscientist and medical researcher - Discovered Modafinil

What does Modafinil treat?

Modafinil is generally prescribed to treat issues surrounding sleep, arousal and wakefulness.

Some of the conditions treated with Modafinil include the following:

The benefits of Modafinil

Modafinil has a number of advantages, which has made it one of the most popular nootropics regularly taken by people all around the globe.

The following list contains some of the advantages reported for taking Modafinil:

  • Improved alertness and wakefulness

  • Improved cognitive function

  • Improved ability to concentrate and focus

  • Reduced fatigue; and

  • Improved mood.

What is Modafinil. The benefits of Modafinil.

Side effects of taking modafinil

No medication or drug is ever perfect. Even NZT in the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper had negative side effects which he only discovered later on since it was very much still an experimental drug. There are always going to be downsides, but ideally you need to find products that have more positives than they do have negatives. Otherwise, what's the point.

Despite modafinil not being completely understood, it has been somewhat researched and consumed by the public long enough for us to have a pretty good idea of all the different symptoms and side effects that you might experience while taking it.

If you head over to the webmd page for Modafinil it might give you a fright, although looking at any medication on webmd (or any page for that matter...) will cause a shock. Their list mostly contains "infrequent" and "rare" side effects. These are useful to know but the chances that you experience any of them is very slim, especially if you follow our advice and take it slow while listening to your body and consulting the required health professionals.

Let me bring your attention to the more common side effects, which affect less than 15% of users:

While these side effects are not very appealing, they don't happen to everyone (less than 15%) and some of these can also be avoided by better understanding the medication, as well as your own body and tolerances. We'll continue to prepare some posts to cover all that is know about Modafinil and how to minimise the side effects so that users are able to get the most out of their experiences.

Although it can be incorrectly mentioned online, Modafinil has been found to not be addictive.

Research has also generally concluded that the likelihood of abuse is very low with zero reported Modafinil caused fatalities. There is an interesting medical article written on the attempted suicide of a teenage who took 5000 mg of Modafinil (~25 tablets which is 25x the recommended average dose of 200 mg), however, lived to tell the tale...

"Approximately 2 hours following ingestion the patient complained of headache, nausea and abdominal pain. /.../ There was no deterioration of kidney or liver functions, and no change in complete blood count or blood pressure."

Not a bad outcome all things considered.

What is Modafinil? The side effects of taking Modafinil.

Do people buy Modafinil online?

It is becoming increasingly popular for people to want to buy their medicine online. The growth of this trend has only been accelerating. People already buy most of what they need need online, so it was only a matter of time until the pharmaceutical industry started to also head in the same direction.

Pricing is a lot cheaper when you're purchasing online, especially for generic medication since there is more competition. Brand named products are still expensive, but you'll still be paying less than if you were to walk into a physical store.

The purchase of Modafinil online has followed the same trend. More and more people are looking online to try and find ways that they can better perform at school, in their jobs, or just in life in general. The benefits of trying a smart drug like Modafinil seem all too irresistible, but who can blame us, life is all about trying to be our optimal selves.

The increased competition between online Modafinil vendors has only meant one thing - lower prices. I would have liked to add 'better service', but from what we've seen over the years it hasn't been the case... The industry is a mix of reliable vendors but also plenty of scammers looking for trusting buyers. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between the two, especially with fake or misleading reviews being plastered all over the internet.

We've started writing our own vendor reviews to try and help people to avoid getting scammed or misled.

So this brings us to the question of whether or not it is legal for people to be purchasing their Modafinil and Armodafinil products online. Let's dig into this in some more detail.

Is buying Modafinil online legal?

The answer to this question is a combination of 'yes' and 'no'. It just depends, but let's dig into why this is the case.

Long story short, it will depend on which country you live in and whether a prescription is required for Modafinil. Modafinil has been around for decades now with approval to be sold in the US, throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Each country has classified Modafinil differently, which is generally the case for all pharmaceutical products. It's a complicated space to say the least - and it's no different for nootropics or smart drugs.

There isn't a universal standard that all countries follow, so in order to know whether buying Modafinil online is legal or not, I'd recommend that you keep reading on to our next section of this blog, that looks at the legality of Modafinil by country.

The legality of Modafinil by country

Modafinil is legally available in many countries, with varying restrictions.

In most countries, Modafinil is a prescription-only drug, making it nearly impossible to obtain without seeing your doctor first. However, this does not mean you can't buy Modafinil lawfully if you don't have a prescription. This is because online pharmacies located in other parts of the world such as India, sell pharmaceuticals more permissively than what your country's rules allow.

What happens if your parcel is intercepted by border security?

There are three different outcomes that have come of your order:

  1. The parcel is shipped successfully and you receive your order without any issues: This is generally the outcome, more often than not. Only a very small percentage of parcels get sent to customs and properly processed. There is a very high likelihood that your order will be received seamlessly.

  2. The parcel is intercepted by customs: In the event that your order is intercepted by customs, you will likely first see that is has been stopped but looking at your tracking number. The country border agency will then senmodad a 'love letter' to the intended address and name provided for your order. The 'love letter' will request that you provide valid proof of a prescription for these medications that you're trying to import. In the event that you don't provide them with a prescription within the required timeframe, you forfeit your parcel, and they will arrange for its destruction.

  3. The border agency try and prosecute you for the importation of medicine: There have been no reported cases of this ever occurring. Modafinil and Armodafinil are non-addictive smart drugs that are generally used off-label for enhanced cognition and mood, so they're not deemed a threat to the citizens of any country. For this reason, governments choose to focus more on schedule I and schedule II drugs (Modafinil and Armodafinil are classified as schedule IV in the United States).

Country by country breakdown

Each country has their own rules when it come to the importation of pharmaceutical products like Modafinil and Armodafinil so it's best to check the regulations that relate to the specific country that you're planning to have the products shipped to.

We've provided a quick summary of the border security rules for some of the largest Modafinil consuming countries:

  • Australia: Modafinil is classified as a Schedule 4 substance in Australia, which means it has certain restrictions. Modafinil sales are restricted without a prescription, but the drug isn't prohibited from entering the country without one. That said, customs will typically check for a vendor's prescription when an order is intercepted by them. If no prescription is included, the parcel will be held for up to 30 days until one is received. If a prescription is not provided within the required time the order will be confiscated and destroyed.

  • Canada: Modafinil is classified as a Schedule F prescription drug, however it is not specifically mentioned in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. A doctor's prescription is required when ordering online. Canada is known for being notoriously hard to send to by online vendors, so the general recommendation is to use a Mail Forwarding Service in the US, prior to having the package delivered to you in Canada. This will add extra time and complexity to your delivery, but it increases the likelihood that your package arrives safely.

  • Croatia: Yes, Modafinil is legal in Croatia. However, it is important to note that the drug is only available with a prescription from a licensed medical professional. Additionally, importation of Modafinil into Croatia is strictly regulated by the Croatian Ministry of Health. For example, you cannot sell Modafinil without a license from the Croatian Ministry of Health.

  • Germany: In Germany, Modafinil is considered a prescription medication and is only available with a doctor's prescription. Germany is a part of the EU and is therefore subject to the same regulatory bodies regarding pharmaceuticals that all EU member states are, which includes the European Medicines Agency.

  • Mexico: Similar to India, Mexico does not classify Modafinil as a controlled substance under their National Health Law. As a result, this means that it can be easily purchased over the counter in pharmacies without the need of a prescription. It is sold under the brand name Modiodal.

  • Sweden: Yes, Modafinil is legal in Sweden. However, it is important to note that while Modafinil is legal, it is not yet approved by the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket). This means that Modafinil can only be used if prescribed by a doctor. Furthermore, because Modafinil is not yet approved by the Läkemedelsverket, it is not covered by Swedish health insurance. Therefore, patients who wish to use modafinil must pay for it out-of-pocket.

  • Russia: Russia considers Modafinil a Schedule II drug, which means it is banned for personal possession and for most medical uses. Modafinil is not legal to buy or import into Russia, even if you have a prescription so you'll find that Russia is on the restricted country list for most (if not all) online vendors.

  • United Kingdom: While Modafinil is legal in the UK, it is important to note that it is classified as a controlled substance by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This means that there are certain restrictions on its use, and it can only be obtained from a registered pharmacy. It is not currently available over the counter in the UK, but can be obtained with a valid prescription from a doctor. Interestingly, it can also only be prescribed for narcolepsy within the UK.

  • United States: Yes, Modafinil is legal in the United States. However, it is only available with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. Modafinil has been classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance in the United States, which means it has a low potential for abuse and dependence.

What is Modafinil? Country flags

For more in-depth information on how to buy Modafinil in other countries, we've created specific guides for the following list:

Before ordering any prescription medicines from an online vendor, we'd recommend reading through the relevant country guide to learn about the rules and restrictions that specifically impact you. We've also put together recommendations on which vendor(s) we thing your better off using based on your location, hopefully making the process of finding a good and reliable vendor that little bit easier for you.

Where to buy Modafinil

While Modafinil can be purchased from your local pharmacy with a valid prescription, it can also be purchased online easily enough without a prescription.

That being said, it isn't obvious to know where to purchase from and which vendor you can trust. This is why we've prepared some detailed vendor reviews to help you find a supplier that best suits your needs based on how much you're looking to spend and what country you live in.

Remain productive and stay safe!

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