Modafinil vs Provigil – Do Generic Drugs Work Just As Good?

Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoter and a cognitive enhancer. It is a racemic mixture because it contains both enantiomers (mirror images of the same molecule). It usually comes in 200mg tablets. But you already know that, I presume. The case of Modafinil vs Provigil is a case of substance vs it’s brand name. Provigil is the name of the drug Cephalon patented and sells in the U.S.

In other words: all Provigil is Modafinil, but not all Modafinil is Provigil.

Generics And Brand-Name Drugs

When a bioactive compound is discovered it has to pass through over 10 years worth of tests, experiments, and studies before it can turn into a drug. If it fails at any step along the way—there can be no drug.

Out of thousands of compounds that enter this cycle, only a few end up being used as medication.

Imagine a company works 10 years on a prospective drug only to find it severely disturbs the metabolism of primates, or that it is detrimental to fetal health. The “monkey stage” of testing the molecule is one of the latest. This means that each time a patented molecule turns out to be unsuitable to be a drug, the company loses a huge investment.

Some of the drugs make it, though. In this case, the company has around 3-5 years left of the patent to return the investment. This is where brand-name drugs come from. It is also the only way in which new medications are created.

Once the patent expires, other companies can start producing the drug. They already know that this compound works so they are saving themselves millions of dollars that would otherwise have to go into research and testing. This way, generics can be much cheaper for the end consumer, hence Modafinil vs Provigil.

That is, for you.

Are Generics Any Different? Modafinil vs Provigil.

Generics are the same compound in the same dosage, sold under a different name. The brand name does not have to do with the name of the compound – Provigil is the brand name for Modafinil. Generics just have the name of the molecule.

Generics have to be approved by the FDA.

They can only be sold if they have the exact same properties as the brand name drug and they contain the same dose. In terms of effect, generics and brand name drugs are virtually the same thing.

There are two main differences between generics and brand name drugs:

  • How they look – In the U.S. generics can’t look identical to brand-name.
  • Inactive compounds – The active compound in Provigil is Modafinil but there are also dyes, molecules that keep the tablet together, the coating might also be different etc. Some people might have a reaction to one of the inactive compounds. For instance, if you are lactose intolerant and you take a generic that contains lactose the reaction you will get has to do with the inactive compound not the quantity or quality of the active one. This is an entirely hypothetical example, though. Modafinil does not contain lactose.

FDA-Approved Generics

If you get a prescription and go to fill it in a physical pharmacy in the U.S. you can either buy Provigil (100 or 200mg) or one of it’s generics. There are seven different companies that supply pharmacies with Modafinil.

What does this imply for you and the drug? 

Firstly, that you don’t have the FDA guarantee that this generic is of the same quality as the brand-name and the approved generics. Second – the dosage might be different.

While Provigil comes in 100mg and 200mg tablets, both Sun Pharma and HAB’s products only exist in 200mg doses. This is the standard dose and lack of 100mg version hardly bothers anyone. The only case where it is a bit inconvenient would be when you are looking to microdose.

You will have to cut up the tablet and inevitably you will lose some of the product.

Modafinil vs Provigil

The Price

All seven generics of Provigil were approved in 2012 when the patent expired. They are still not as cheap as most generics, though, as the patent expired quite recently.

When you buy Modafinil online the two main producers are Sun Pharma and HAB. They are both based in India where they have years of experience in Modafinil production. This was possible because India has a different set of copyright and patent regulations. In most other parts of the world, it would have been illegal to begin production of Modafinil if you are not Cephalon.

The difference in legislation put Indian factories over a decade ahead of other factories for Provigil generics. Out of the two suppliers, Sun Pharma is larger and it has a longer history of making Modafinil. HAB is a bit of a newcomer and this is reflected in the price. With Sun Pharma you are paying for their name and experience while HAB’s competitive edge is the low price.

Either way, buying generics online is at least a couple times cheaper than getting them at a pharmacy. Of course, this depends on your health insurance, too.

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Modafinil vs Provigil

Quality of Modafinil vs Provigil

People new to the Nootropic world often face the dilemma of legal vs illegal. As we mentioned above, neither Sun Pharma nor HAB have had their products assessed and approved by the FDA. Besides, Modafinil is a schedule IV controlled substance. Buying it, selling it, possessing it, and taking it without a prescription is illegal.

So there are a couple more issues with non-FDA-approved Modafinil as compared to FDA-approved generics.

Obviously, it sounds a bit scary to order a drug that was produced in a developing country, is illegal without a prescription, and acts on your brain. These are all valid concerns but here is the thing:

FDA-approved generics also come from India. 

In fact, Indian companies might as well be better at making Modafinil. They certainly have more experience.

If you are still unsure, bear in mind that a huge part of the production process in the pharmaceutical industry as a whole is outsourced to countries like India or China.

There is nothing inherently wrong with these factories, rather it is a question of cost and in the case of Modafinil, legislation.

What If They Are Not Good?

Mistakes happen very rarely during the production of the drug but they are still a part of life. Some Reddit users and blog writers have suggested their own ways of testing one of the pills for authenticity. One guy even said he used mass spectroscopy, which I highly doubt, as those devices are incredibly expensive and even labs sometimes struggle to afford them.

It is wildly unbelievable that somebody would just buy a mass spectrometer. But then again, if he happened to be working at a lab that had one or something like that, I fully believe the mass spectrometer (it is a very sensitive device). He reported no difference between Provigil and Modafinil.

Not everyone has the time, energy, and sheer devotion to learning the method for examining the pills. To be honest, I don’t see why you would spend time on that even if you had it. So far there have not been any cases of serious side effects from generic Provigil bought online.

In the rare and highly unlikely case that the batch you received is not right (i.e. it does not work for you, it causes unexpected side effects, etc.), vendors have a reshipment/refund policy. This is a great way to distinguish a reputable online pharmacy from a fraudulent one. The “bad batch” guarantee often goes with reshipment in case the package does not arrive and other protective policies for extra peace of mind.

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Modafinil Vs Provigil: Conclusion

It should be pretty obvious. Whether you buy generic or brand-name the results will be the same.

The only serious reason to worry is if you are sensitive to the inactive ingredients in some drugs. There is no information on the coating, fillers, and dyes used in a Modafinil generic sold online. If you think this might be a risk for you, definitely contact the vendor beforehand.

They will give you the most accurate information about the product that you can find. Besides, Modafinil vendor customer service tends to be very quick, never taking more than 24 hours to respond to an email. It is easy and quick to get that information, and it’s also detrimental to how the drug affects you.

As for the actual Modafinil inside, Provigil and generics both have the same thing. The Modafinil is very well “cleaned” from any chemicals that participated in it’s synthesis. This is standard for all drugs (because often those additional compounds are toxic)

There is no reason to believe that Provigil is more refined, better at it’s job, or better in any way. It’s two big advantages lie in that it is legal and FDA-approved. This is a good place to mention that although Modafinil can’t be possessed without a prescription there have never been any lawsuits or other sort of prosecution against people who have bought it.

Do you think there is a difference between generic and brand-name Provigil? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Leave them in comments!


PS: To get Modafinil shipped straight to your door (risk-free), click here.

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