Is Modafinil Bad For You?

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

It all comes down to how you are using it.

Modafinil isn't addictive, though there have been rare cases of abuse and addiction.

Modafinil (Provigil) is a prescription drug that gives cognitive benefits without the "jitteriness" side effects caused by caffeine or other stimulants.

The active ingredient in Modafinil is actually adrafinil, which was first synthesized in France in 1974.

Modafinil was a product of a research program looking for drugs with nootropic properties to help treat memory and concentration problems in sleeping patients.

Researchers created this drug with the intention of administering it to patients who were suffering from narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea who were unable to stay awake during the day without stimulants like caffeine.

When it was first approved in France, the drug was given to patients suffering from narcolepsy, and a year later, the FDA approved it for use as a wakefulness-promoting agent for people with shift-work disorders.

The drug is used for a variety of indications when it is used according to the directions as prescribed.

Overuse of Modafinil by those who do not have depression or other sleep disorder can lead to over stimulation of the nervous system.

Abuse of Modafinil may also result in permanent physical damage under extreme conditions involving regular abuse lasting over one year.

It is usually a safe drug to use, though some rare cases have been reported where the patients experienced injuries unrelated to their prescribed daily dose.

Is Modafinil Bad For Your Heart?

Modafinil has no effect on the heart, though any stimulant can cause an elevated heart rate when taken in high doses or when used for an extended period.

This will cause increases in blood pressure, fast breathing, and irregular heart rhythm.

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, stop using this drug immediately.

If it is used as prescribed, there are no serious side effects apart from headaches, nausea or vomiting if the drug is taken with food.

To avoid any of these side effects, always take Modafinil on an empty stomach.

Is Modafinil Bad For Your Liver?

Modafinil is known to have a slight effect on the liver, but this is reversible.

Some patients who have taken Modafinil for extended periods of time showed mild, reversible liver damage which returned to normal once they stopped taking the drug.

Other users reported no side effects on the liver, with levels of enzyme activity returning to normal after discontinuation of Modafinil.

It has been shown that drugs with a similar mechanism like Modafinil can damage your liver when used over a long period of time.

The most common drugs that are known to cause mild liver damage when used for long periods are alcohol and acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Modafinil when taken in low doses over long periods of time is not dangerous.

There will be no serious side effects, and there will be no serious health problems associated with it either unless you take it at extremely high doses continuously for one year or longer.

That being said, I'm not a doctor and everyone is different, so do your own due diligence before jumping on the Modafinil-hype-train.

Is Modafinil Bad For Bipolar?

It has been shown that Modafinil can exacerbate bipolar disorders, so it should be taken with caution, if you're bipolar.

The way Modafinil works is by boosting the brain's dopamine system.

In bipolar people, when there is hyperactivity in the "reward" part of the brain, dopamine does not get released as much as it should.

When there is not enough dopamine released it can lead to a manic episode.

This may mean that people who use Modafinil may become manic and go into a full-blown mania without even realizing it because their brains don't release enough dopamine on their own.

Modafinil will more than likely not cause bipolar, because Modafinil is a pure stimulant.

However, it's not impossible that someone who was already bipolar may turn into a full-blown mania.

Modafinil can be dangerous for those with bipolar depression, because it may exacerbate those types of symptoms.

If you're feeling depressed while taking Modafinil and the depression won't go away, discontinue use


Is Modafinil Bad For Your Kidneys?

Modafinil is known to cause a change in kidney function tests (some of which are very rare.)

Some users have reported that they have experienced mild kidney pain, dark urine, while others have reported no side effects on the kidneys at all.

A person's body may react differently to Modafinil than another person who uses the same dosage or even higher dosage.

The reason why you may be experiencing these side effects is because the drug causes your kidneys to excrete excessive amounts of dopamine into the urine.

Modafinil also causes a decrease in levels of dopamine when it is used for an extended period of time.

Modafinil works by boosting your brain's own production of dopamine, which will last throughout the day and improve cognitive functions.

If your dopamine levels are high your kidneys will try to compensate by removing excess amounts of it from your body through urination.

That being said, Modafinil has shown no long-term damage or permanent kidney damage when used as prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy or sleep apnea.

Modafinil seems to have few to no effect on the kidneys, though it may be risky when used for extended periods of time or if you're in an emergency situation where your kidneys are already severely compromised.

Modafinil is generally a very safe drug to use, and most people won't experience any side effects from it.


  1. (Health-related quality of life effects of modafinil for treatment of narcolepsy)
  2. (Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury)
  3. (Evaluation of modafinil effects on the cardiovascular system)
  4. (Approved and investigational uses of modafinil : an evidence-based review)