How To Treat Modafinil Headaches

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

If you've ever experienced a headache after taking modafinil, you're not alone.

Modafinil is a type of medication better known as "Provigil" and it's used to treat sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea.

This wonder drug has been around for over 20 years, but unfortunately, it can lead to headaches in certain users.

It's important to note that modafinil headache is not a common side effect.

Most people who take modafinil will never experience it, and even those who do can take steps to avoid it or get rid of it faster.

Some people have also reported that the headaches they get from modafinil are different from any other type of headache they've ever experienced.

What Are Modafinil Headaches?

Modafinil headaches tend to be sharp and painful as if you're getting a migraine, but they also have an unpleasant "pressure" feeling.

This can make the headaches seem worse than they really are.

The good news is that modafinil headache relief is fairly simple when you know what you're doing.

Modafinil headaches are not a sign that you're allergic to the medication. You can continue taking modafinil without any problems if you know how to treat them properly.

How Do The Headaches Occur?

While it's not known for sure why some people get headaches on modafinil, there are a few theories out there.

One theory is that the drug causes vasoconstriction, which is where the blood vessels in your brain narrow.

This would explain why they are so intense and have both a sharp and pressure feeling to them.

A more likely explanation for the headaches is that they are caused by the drug's effects on histamine levels in your body.

Modafinil is known to lower histamine levels, which can cause headaches.

Some people have also reported that the headaches occur as a result of an increase in norepinephrine, although this has not been conclusively proven.

How Long Do They Last?

A common question about modafinil headaches is how long they last.

Most people find that their headaches go away on their own within an hour or two, but they can last for up to 24 hours in some cases.

If you have to drive or go to work after taking modafinil, you should be aware that the headache might not go away until you're somewhere that you can rest.

If it's really bothering you, taking ibuprofen or aspirin can provide relief.

You'll also want to stay away from caffeine, which is a known headache trigger.

The best way to avoid modafinil headaches is to adjust your dosage so that you're not taking too much.

If you need a lot of modafinil to treat your sleep disorder, it's better to have one or two headaches from taking too much than it is to be suffering from a sleep disorder that may be treated by lower doses.

You'll also want to avoid taking other medications or using other drugs with modafinil.

Modafinil has a long list of potential side effects, and many of them are similar to the symptoms of headache.

This is why you should always talk to a doctor before you take modafinil.

Your dose may be different than what's recommended for other people, and your doctor will be able to tell you if it's safe for you to use.

Alternative Treatment

If you're getting headaches on modafinil, you'll want to do whatever you can to get rid of them.

Getting extra sleep before you take the drug is also a great way to avoid headaches in general as well as drinking plenty of water throughout your day.

The important thing is to avoid taking too much modafinil because it will make the headaches worse in the long run.

It may also be a good idea to supplement with choline.

Choline is a B vitamin that normally occurs in high amounts in fatty foods, but
not everyone can get enough of it through their diet.

Choline is an important nutrient because it plays an important role in brain cell communication.

In fact, some studies have shown that choline deficiency can result in memory and cognitive impairment.

One study even demonstrated that choline deficiencies could result in anxiety and severe migraines.

To increase your intake of choline, you can eat eggs and fatty fish.

Or, you can skip the food and supplement with a choline source instead like Alpha-GPC.