What Modafinil Dosage Should You Take?
The standard Modafinil dosage is 200 mg per day. It is a pretty straightforward drug, without many interactions or side effects to bother you.
There is little evidence for bodyweight based dosage, either.
Still, you will see a lot of people in the Nootropic community prefer to take much larger, or much smaller dose than that. Let’s explore what goes into figuring out the perfect Modafinildosage.
Modafinil is not your typical stimulant.
You probably know by now that it’s usage as a Nootropic is off-label.
It typically gets prescribed for the excessive fatigue and sleepiness that comes with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work disorder.
While the exact mechanism of it’s action is yet to be understood, the most common theory is that it binds to dopamine transporters and prevents neurons from taking back the dopamine used in a synapse. This leads to increased levels of the neurotransmitter outside the cells.
So far, so good but cocaine also blocks dopamine transporters and we all know that cocaine is anything but a smart drug.
Researchers think that Modafinil actually binds to those transporters in a different way (it is an atypical dopamine transporter inhibitor) and this is why it does not produce the same effect as typical dopamine transporter inhibitors.
The two most important consequences of this are:
- Modafinil promotes wakefulness in a more sustainable way. You essentially lower the amount of sleep that you need. There is no need to compensate from the sleep you missed while on the drug.
- Modafinil is not addictive. Even though it raises dopamine it does not lower your dopamine sensitivity. The lower sensitivity to dopamine is the reason why activities that were once pleasurable no longer interest drug addicts. Modafinil does not do that but it does give you the elevated mood and focus.
How Modafinil Behaves In Your Body
Let me take a wild guess here and assume that you will not be taking Modafinil through an IV line.
The only way to get 100% of the drug is to administer it directly into the blood stream. Any other way of administration automatically means that only a fraction of what was ingested will actually be available.
For Modafinil taken orally, typically around 80% enters the bloodstream. Out of those, 60% bind to plasma proteins (the proteins in the drug). The major site where Modafinil is eliminated is your liver. Your kidneys also play a part.
This might not be something all Nootropic enthusiasts realize but every drug you take puts a strain on your kidneys and liver. Although conventional recommendations for doctors say Modafinil dosage should only be lowered in those with severe liver problems, it would not hurt to be extra cautious.
If you have had kidney or liver problems before, it would be wise to start with 100 mg/day. This is still a big enough Modafinil dosage (not a microdose) for some people to experience the positive effect. Plus, you would not be stressing out your liver so much.
Within 2-3 hours you get the peak Modafinil dosage and levels in your blood. Is this when you first experience the effects? Certainly not.
Anecdotal advice suggests that you start to ‘feel it’ as soon as 1 hour after taking it. What will this depend on? Here are the major factors:
- Whether you take it on an empty stomach or not. Generally speaking, taking Modafinil when fasted makes the effects come faster as food slows down it’s absorption.
- How efficient your liver is.
- Drug interactions
Out of all three, the first one is always under your control.
Taking Modafinil after breakfast can slow down it’s effects for about 1 hour. Fortunately, it does not lower the total amount absorbed. Whether you choose to have your breakfast before or after Modafinil, you will be getting your money’s worth.
However, the delay in absorption will also mean a delay in the time for the effects to wear off. If you are not looking to have problems falling asleep, plan accordingly.
Modafinil Dosage And Effects
Although some Modafinil marketers like to make you believe it is completely harmless, that is not the case. As with any drug, there are some side effects you might experience with Modafinil.
The most common ones are headaches and anxiety. One trial found that while Modafinil improved mood and well-being, this change was consistent with a rise in anxiety. Bear the possible side effects in mind when deciding the dosage.
Clinical trials and conventional Nootropic wisdom both say that increasing beyond 400mg will not make a significant difference in the positive effects but it might make it more likely to experience side effects.
As for overdose, I think it is safe to say that it’s nearly impossible. In human experiments, people were taking up to 1200mg per day and still no life-threatening effects occurred. In mice, the lethal dose is around 1250mg per kilogram of bodyweight.
You can see how achieving these doses will be virtually impossible (this is not a challenge, though).
What Are Your Options?
Now let’s look at the most common Modafinil dosage people use:
50mg – Modafinil ‘micro dosing’.
It might be hard to achieve, as Modafinil does not come in tablets of less than 100mg. You could cut your tablets with a very sharp razor but even then you would be losing some of the drug to the dust. People microdose Modafinil to avoid it’s side effects, and to make sure they are getting a good night’s sleep.
In theory, sleep you skipped while on Modafinil should not lead to sleep deprivation, users have noticed that a poor sleep quality does affect them negatively.
There is, after all, no pill that could eliminate your need for sleep completely and it is possible that the damage of Modafinil-induced sleep deprivation is simply not well understood.
Typically, Modafinil keeps you alert and focused for 10-12 hours after administration. A micro dose might not last as long. The effects will also be more subtle.
You might not even notice them at first and only realize there was an effect after going off Modafinil.
100 mg – The ‘Newbie’ Dose
100 mg is a decent dose to feel the effects of Modafinil. It might be more subtle but you will definitely notice it. If it was not prescribed to you (in which case simply follow the prescription), start with this dose to get a feel for it.
If you are happy with what a 100mg per day do then there is no real reason to take more.
And if you have any history of liver problems whatsoever, try to stick to this dosage.
200 mg – The Classic
200 mg is the standard Modafinil dosage.
This is what a doctor will typically prescribe for fatigue in an otherwise healthy adult. At 200 mg you usually get the most out of the drug with the least amount of side effects. At 200 mg in the morning, you will typically feel the effect within 1 hour- 1.5 hours and it will last for around 10-12 hours.
It is wise to plan your work beforehand, as Modafinil can make you less aware of what is a priority and what is not. At 200 mg you have a lot of user reports and pharmaceutical information to help you plan.
Ultimately, this prevents wasting the extra energy on something only mildly useful.
300 mg – Unusual But Useful
There are not a lot of people that do 300 mg per day simply because it requires planning ahead or having to cut your tablets. It is quite common for a doctor that is no longer seeing the result of 200 mg to suggest you try 300.
However, for off-label use, there is actually very little evidence that this increases the positive effect.
300 mg might be useful if you want the effect to last longer. For instance, you might take 200 mg in the early morning and then 100 mg more around 1 PM to help you stay up longer and finish whatever you have to finish.
400 mg and above – Why?
400 mg is still a safe Modafinil dosage. Still, in most cases, there is really no reason to go there. If think that you are building up tolerance a smarter idea would be to stop taking Modafinil for a while.
Although it is not addictive, it is still not great to become dependent on the effects Modafinil can give. Doses of 400 mg and above are best reserved as one-time fixes and only if you have previous experience with the drug.
They are not too dangerous but the side effects might be more pronounced and the accommodation period after taking Modafinil could be longer and more unpleasant (although it will still not be withdrawal)
There are actually some groups for which Modafinil will not do a lot. This ineffectiveness is not necessarily due to a bad batch. Rather, it is because of their genetic makeup. You could get 23andMe testing for that particular gene but considering the price you could simply order a pack and see if it does anything for you.
Reputable Modafinil vendors offer to reship bad batches. If Modafinil still does not work the second time you could be one of the unlucky few that can’t benefit from it.
Finally, before taking Modafinil make sure you are very well-informed about it’s side effects and interactions.
Stay smart and safe!
PS: I only get my Modafinil at one place, and that's Modafinil Star.