Can You Take Modafinil Every day?

Updated May 4, 2024 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci
(Estimated reading time: 3 minutes)

Modafinil is a unique, and a relatively new type of smart drug. It is one of the most commonly prescribed compounds for the treatment of narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Its stimulant properties however mean that it can be used as a smart drug by healthy individuals in order to boost their cognition and mental abilities to a higher level.

But does taking Modafinil on a daily basis lead to tolerance or addiction? And does it have any long-term health effects?

In this article, we will attempt to answer these questions.

Dosage To Take Daily

Modafinil affects the central nervous system and works mainly by improving the alertness of users.

It almost completely blocks the reuptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain.

As a result, it can cause a large release of these neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in a feeling of euphoria.

This is why many people get addicted to it pretty quickly.

However, at dosages that are safe and effective for medical purposes, Modafinil does not have serious side effects like those caused by prescription stimulants like cocaine (which is more addictive than Modafinil).

People usually take anywhere from 100 to 300 mg of Modafinil early in the Morning (taking it later in the day will result in Insomnia).

How Frequently Should You Take It?

Modafinil is an interesting smart drug.

Its chemical structure causes it to have very different effects from other drugs that many people would consider “smart drugs”.

It is not actually a stimulant, because it does not directly affect the dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain.

However, Modafinil does affect these neurotransmitters in a secondary manner by increasing the amount of glutamate that is made available to the brain (glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter).

In addition, Modafinil has been found to have numerous effects on other neurochemicals including:

  • Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF)
  • Norepinephrine (norepinephrine is responsible for alertness)
  • Acetylcholine (acetylcholine helps us pay attention)
  • The AMPA receptor (AMPA receptors are needed for synaptic plasticity and memory formation in the brain)
  • Dopamine receptors (dopamine receptors play an important role in learning, mood and pleasure).

The way that Modafinil works is very different from most other smart drugs. Hence, it is difficult to say exactly how often you should take Modafinil in order to get the most out of it.

That being said, it's generally considered a bad idea to take Modafinil every day because tolerance will build up quickly (if you use it more than 3-4 times per week).

Daily Use And Long-term Potentiation

By increasing the body’s ability to process glutamate, Modafinil helps promote what scientists call “long-term potentiation”.

It is believed that this process is one of the primary reasons why people feel more alert and attentive when they use Modafinil.

Long-term potentiation basically means that synaptic plasticity (a phenomenon that allows neurons in your brain to grow and connect with one another) increases drastically when using Modafinil.

This is why you don’t crash as you would with caffeine or other stimulants, once the drug wears off.

However, the exact duration that Modafinil lasts depends on many factors such as:

  • Individual factors
  • Bodyweight and metabolism
  • How you take Modafinil (e.g some people feel more alert when they take it on an empty stomach)

According to a scientific review, most of Modafinil’s effects are felt for around 7-8 hours after ingestion. This would mean that if you take 200 mg of Modafinil in the morning and experience its full effects for 7-8 hours then there is no need to re-dose with another dose.

However, because all of these factors affect how long Modafinil lasts, it’s not possible to accurately predict how long it will last for everyone.

Modafinil can be detected in your bloodstream for up to 2 days after ingestion at dosages that are within safe medical benchmarks (200-400 mg).