Modafinil could be the ultimate study drug — and science says it’s safe

Modafinil, also known as Provigil, is a relatively common wakefulness drug first developed in the 1970s for chronic sleep deprivation. Fast forward to today: Modafinil has become the drug of choice for narcolepsy and often ADHD and shift work sleep disorder. Like its more well-known cousins, Adderall and Ritalin, modafinil is often used as a “smart drug” or “nootropic” by the otherwise healthy general public. But unlike Adderall and Ritalin, it may not be as dangerous.

ok in a rare display of good timing immediately after i made that last post my mom texted me saying she found the provigil prescription slip i lost weeks ago lmao

Narcolepsy medication modafinil is world's first safe 'smart drug'
Increasingly taken by healthy people to improve focus before exams, after a comprehensive review researchers say modafinil is safe in the short-term
By Helen Thomson

Modafinil is the world’s first safe “smart drug”, researchers at Harvard and Oxford universities have said, after performing a comprehensive review of the drug. They concluded that the drug, which is prescribed for narcolepsy but is increasingly taken without prescription by healthy people, can improve decision- making, problem-solving and possibly even make people think more creatively.

While acknowledging that there was limited information available on the effects of long-term use, the reviewers said that the drug appeared safe to take in the short term, with few side effects and no addictive qualities.

Modafinil has become increasingly common in universities across Britain and the US. Prescribed in the UK as Provigil, it was licensed in 2002 for use as a treatment for narcolepsy - a brain disorder that can cause a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times or to experience chronic pervasive sleepiness and fatigue.

Used without prescription, and bought through easy-to-find websites, modafinil is what is known as a smart drug - used primarily by people wanting to improve their focus before an exam. A poll of Nature journal readers suggested that one in five have used drugs to improve focus, with 44% stating modafinil as their drug of choice. But despite its increasing popularity, there has been little consensus on the extent of modafinil’s effects in healthy, non-sleep-disordered humans.

A new review of 24 of the most recent modafinil studies suggests that the drug has many positive effects in healthy people, including enhancing attention, improving learning and memory and increasing something called “fluid intelligence” - essentially our capacity to solve problems and think creatively.