Modafinil Not Working | How To Fix it
Updated: Mar 12
We get it, and we know how frustrating it can be when modafinil is not delivering promised results.
You've probably explored the nootropics scene, got your hopes up for fixing cognition related issues via nootropics, you've read and heard many success stories of people utilizing smart drugs for cognitive enhancement, only to be utterly disappointed with a mediocre or non-existent effects - modafinil is not working for you.
On the other hand, you might already have used and harnessed modafinil for cognitive enhancement and with time the initial spark just diminished - productivity, laser focus, motivation are no longer things modafinil elicits?
Well, worry no more because we'll be happy to guide you through the uncertainty - this is a comprehensive guide on non-working modafinil, we'll cover:
What is it, modafinil's side effects, how does it work, why it's not working for you, how to fix that, and possible alternatives.
So without further ado, let's start.
If you haven't used modafinil yet, but you're still interested in this smart drug, this segment is designed for you.
Modafinil is a eugeroic drug (aka wakefulness promoting drug), and whilst there is congruence between the eugeroic class of drugs and the stimulant class - they are not quite the same, not in effects nor in pharmacology.
However, modafinil is also known as a "smart drug", some refer to it as a nootropic substance (similar to a smartdrug, but poses minimal/non-existent side effects), because of its cognitive augmenting effects.
It was created in 1976, by a pharmaceutical corporation called "Lafon Laboratories" and synthesized after its "pro drug" adrafinil was already known and researched by science after its discovery in 1974.
Post ingestion, adrafinil gets broken down into the active metabolite - modafinil, but supplementing with adrafinil is not necessary since it possesses greater side effects, and it's redundant because modafinil is available commercially.
After its creation in 76' modafinil received a lot of attention from the scientific community, and in 1994 it began to be prescribed in France; few years later in 1998 modafinil received the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) approval for treating narcolepsy.
Later, after doctors and scientists recognized modafinil's unique effects on patients, and the safety profile has been established, it's on-label purposes extended to treating Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD), and obstructive sleep apnea.
Today, health care providers, also prescribe modafinil for off-label purposes, meaning that sometimes your physician may think that a certain medication may help you, even though it is not officially designed to treat your medical condition, ergo the term "off-label".
However, modafinil's evolution of how we treat and grasp it doesn't end here - today plenty of enthusiasts called biohackers, neurohackers, or just nootropics users, have migrated from the traditional cup of Joe, to the pragmatic act of swallowing a pill.
These high-functioning individuals, you know the types - CEOs, software programmers, entrepreneurs, stockbrokers etc... are harnessing the brain boosting properties of modafinil, to stay ahead of the game:
Increased productivity - the efficiency of users skyrocketed, the yield of professional material is increased; ask Australian public servants about when they used modafinil to finish the federal budget dead-line.
Prolonged focus - modafinil is active for average of 12 hours, duration various on different biological factors such as weight, levels of enzymes, genetics, water consumption etc...
Motivation - It's always fun to have ambition and lust for life. For some users, modafinil provides that general motivation like no other.
Executive function - Inhibiting cravings, controlling attention, planning forward, thinking outside the box, are all traits under EF, which modafinil is known empirically to improve.
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Modafinil side effects
It's imperative to address and understand modafinil's possible side effects before getting into the endeavor of using it.
Pharmacological cognitive enhancers (PCEs) or even natural nootropics and supplements usually entail rebound effects - when you drink coffee, you're bound to the infamous caffeine crash, right? Every action has a reaction.
That said, modafinil is one of the few cognitive enhancers that poses minimal side effects, and severe ones seldom occur.
Common side effects That can be mitigated with correct usage, are:
However, there are rarer side effects, albeit that require immediate medical attention, such as:
Rapid mood changes
Shortness of breath
One Redditor shared his tough experience about hypersensitivity to modafinil, he and his doctor concluded that modafinil stayed in his system for 3 days, in which he had unfortunately suffered from insomnia, muscle twitches, anxiety, and more:
"I ended up going to a walk in centre, the doctor said i Am hypersensitive to stimulates. He compared the drug to mdma due to its stimulating affects. 100mg lasted for 3 nights unbelievable, absolutely wired. I never had a panic attack before and apparently it elevated my anxiety at the same time."
Luckily, the probability of you experiencing such adverse effects is low - It's important to be aware of the rare side effects, but important nonetheless to understand their rarity.
One risk that almost nobody talks about is the potential menace modafinil (or any other pharmacological compound for that matter) can be to the adolescent brain - as we've stipulated in our article "Modafinil for Young People?", there are methodologies and frameworks that can be inserted to your cognition enhancing routine, for mitigating risks while keeping peak performance.
Modafinil Not Working | Long-Term Users
Your relationship with modafinil was fine, even great, until something went missing. Modafinil doesn’t work as well as it used to. What could be the cause?
There are a few potential explanations for this problem.
The first is that you have built up a tolerance to the drug and need to take a break from it.
The second possibility is that you bought a low-quality batch of modafinil, which means you’re not getting the same results as before because it is a tablet that consists of, well, fillers aka non-active ingredients, that poses non-pharmacological efficacy whatsoever:
One possible filler that could be present in a fake drug is lactose.
Lactose is a sugar molecule that is often used as a filler in place of the active ingredient in a medication.
This can be problematic for those with lactose intolerance, as they may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, and gas after taking the drug.
Some other possible fillers that could be present in a fake drug include starch and gluten. These fillers are regularly used in place of the active ingredient to save on costs. They may also be used to increase the weight of the drug, making it appear as if there is more of the active ingredient present than there actually is.
If you bought from ModafinilXL or Buymoda, our recommended vendors, and your batch seems to not work, we suggest that first omit the possibility that you developed tolerance (more on that in a bit), and if tolerance is 100% not the issue, contact them for help.
These vendors are years in the business and have phenomenal customer service.
To validate that possibility, you can send your non-working modafinil batch to a laboratory to assess the authenticity of the drug.
After doing their analyzation, they can see if the medicine has been altered in any way, or mixed with fillers, which is unlikely if you bought the generic modafinil from a reputable vendor.
In any case, this would turn out more expensive than just purchasing another modafinil batch.
Tolerance for Modafinil
Tolerance to the drug means you're required to take more and more of it to achieve the same results, that's because your neurochemical conditions have changed from the drug tempering with your nerve cells, receptors, reuptake proteins, or levels of a certain neurotransmitter.
There are a few things that can be done in order to fix this, but it's important to understand that this is common - the desire to operate in an enhanced mental state all the time is constant, and very alluring.
However, it is very critical to develop the right dosing methodology to keep safety up and drive tolerance away.
What can one do in order to mitigate the tolerance they built for a drug they once found so effective?
Take a break from modafinil: if modafinil is not working for you anymore, aim for a long break to really eliminate any tolerance that might have built up in your system.
Go for at least a one-week break from modafinil, but if you really want to make sure the tolerance is gone, do a whole month without modafinil. You can fill in that space with another nootropic such as mindlab pro, which can deliver other great results such as improved memory, verbal fluency, neuroprotection that modafinil does not deliver.
After finishing your break, change how you use modafinil:
Start with a low dosage, 25 mg to 50 mg is a great starting point, this way you'll find your sweet spot, reduce the possibility of tolerance, and get more bang for your buck!
To add another layer, consider revising the frequency at which you dose with modafinil. We recommend keeping at least a 48-hour gap between each supplementation of the drug, which will keep tolerance away.
This section was designed for healthy individuals using modafinil for off-label purposes, if you use modafinil for any medical condition, it's important that you keep doing the instructions your physician gave you and be transparent with him/her about Modafinil use.
All of these solutions involve being proactive in order to maintain the benefits of Modafinil. Taking a break from the drug allows the body to reset, while trying a different nootropic can help to find an effective alternative.
Modafinil Not Working | New Users
First, it's important to understand that you've not been wronged.
The concept of cognitive enhancement is alive and well, and modafinil is standing in the forefront of that industry.
Plenty of individuals enjoy the effects it delivers for them, and the efficacy of that drug has been proven again and again.
While it is true that some users are just non-responders to modafinil there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the problem:
First, asses if you are a non-respnder, one option is to make a test, as these Redditors did
"Basically the test is to take one tablet after a few hours of sleeping and go back to sleep. If you don't wake up after 1 - 2 hours then you're a non responder. I did the test. Went to bed at midnight, set a pill alarm for 4am and my regular alarm at 7:30am leaving 3.5 hours for it to work. I ate the pill, went back to sleep, and the 7:30 alarm woke me up so I'm fairly confident I'm a non responder."
This test is very anecdotal and does not consist of any concrete scientific backings, unlike the following methods:
CYP3A4 and Modafinil
This implies that the metabolism of modafinil is contingent on the presence of this enzyme. The liver contains the majority of CYP3A4 expression. Modafinil does not act as a direct inhibitor of this enzyme, but it does prevent some metabolites from functioning effectively.
In some people, Modafinil does not work as intended because their CYP3A4 enzyme is not functioning properly, meaning that the levels of the CYP3A4 are above average, which makes modafinil elimination from the body much faster, and may hamper the cognitive enhancing effects of modafinil.
This could be due to genetics or other health-related factors.
If Modafinil isn’t working for you, it might be worth getting your CYP3A4 enzyme checked out by a doctor.
There are ways to compensate for a malfunctioning CYP3A4 enzyme. Certain drugs can inhibit the activity of this enzyme and increase the effectiveness of Modafinil. Known inhibitors of CYP3A4 include grapefruit juice, erythromycin, azithromycin, and clarithromycin. If you’re taking any of these medications, it’s important to be aware that they could potentially increase the potency of Modafinil.
However, there are further pharmacological agents that alter the functioning of the CYP3A4 enzyme, such as the nootropic herb bacopa monnieri.
Important note: elevated levels of CYP3A4 might not be the reason modafinil isn't working for you, so experimentation using CYP3A4 inhibitors like grapefruit, piperine extract, or bacopa monnieri should be done with small dosages of modafinil and very rigorously - you don't want to pull an unexpected all-nighter, it is advised to consult with your doctor.
COMT and Modafinil
This is going to be a little technical, but we'll also explain in plain English afterwards:
Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting agent that is used to treat conditions such as narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder.
Modafinil was found to bind the dopamine transporter and inhibit dopamine reuptake.
The smart drug also binds to the receptors for hypocretin/orexin. Moda also was found to increase histamine levels in the hypothalamus in rats.
Modafinil is also a substrate for the COMT enzyme. The COMT enzyme metabolizes catecholamines, including dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (DE), The Val158Met polymorphism of the COMT enzyme results in a three-fold difference in enzymatic activity. The Val158Met polymorphism of the COMT enzyme is associated with cognitive function because different levels of COMT affect the levels of DA and NE in the prefrontal cortex primarily.
Some users are excited to try modafinil for cognitive enhancement, only to find that it does nothing to them. This could be due to the fact that the user has the Val158Met polymorphism of the COMT enzyme, which results in a three-fold difference in enzymatic activity.
The Met allele of the Val158Met polymorphism is associated with better cognitive function. If a user has the Met allele of the Val158Met polymorphism and takes modafinil, they may experience an increase in cognitive function. If a user has the Val allele of the Val158Met polymorphism and takes modafinil, they may experience no change in cognitive function, that's an esoteric reason why for some users Modafinil Is not working.
Now let's try and simplify all the scientific & biological terminology - the COMT enzyme can interfere with how modafinil is working.
So decreasing the levels of COMT via changing the genetics that control it - is not feasible, however using supplements to change the COMT enzyme's activity itself is a valid option, here are the guidelines.
Pick a compound that is known to inhibit the activity of COMT, we advise getting a high quality green tea extract because EGCG is known to have these inhibiting properties.
Start with a low dose of modafinil and the COMT inhibitor because these stacks are powerful, caution is important
Keep a 2-day gap at least between supplementation
Eliminate any third-party substance that might interfere with the experimentation - no coffee!
If you notice laser focus, motivation, energy, better memory etc... than the combination works, write down the dosages that are your "sweet spots".
Buymoda is another recommended vendor that holds a big variety of generic modafinil brands, including the best and highest quality types such as Modvigil and Modalert.
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Safe Modafinil use
One must use modafinil intelligently, here are some important points for you to consider, when using modafinil.
Drink plenty of water - we cannot stress enough the importance of getting adequate amounts of water when using a demanding compound like Moda. Modafinil dehydrates you, and may even lead to heat stroke in some cases if abused, because of elevated heat.
No drinking or partying - Moda amplifies the effects of alcohol and other drugs, so avoid using it if you're planning on partying hard. It's also not a good idea to mix Moda with medications you're not familiar with.
Eat nutritious food - Modafinil is a demanding drug and can quickly drain your energy reserves if you're not eating properly. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet when using Moda.
Get enough sleep - Modafinil is a powerful substance, and can easily keep you awake for long periods of time if not monitored. Modafinil is not a substitute for sleep!
What's more, these general rules of thumb will definitely increase the likelihood of modafinil to function properly, if modafinil is not working for you, consider getting these in check.
Modafinil Not Working - Conclusions
The article discusses how some users find Modafinil ineffective because of their genetics or other health-related factors.
Modafinil may not be effective for some people because their CYP3A4 enzyme is not functioning properly.
If Modafinil isn't working for you, it might be worth getting your CYP3A4 enzyme checked out by a doctor, or if not possible, try including a cup of pure grapefruit juice with Modafinil.
In order to mitigate the tolerance you built for Modafinil, take a break from it, start with a low dosage, and revise the frequency at which you dose the drug.
Keep in mind that these solutions are for healthy individuals using Modafinil for off-label purposes, it's always a good idea to ask your doctor.
This is not medical advice.
Important note: this article may contain affiliate links, with that being said, our articles are always made with good intentions & faith.
Please contact us if you find any outdated information in one of our guides or articles; we put a lot of time and effort into researching, so the info is always scientific literature based from platforms such as NCBI.