Modafinil is a popular nootropic drug used to enhance cognitive abilities and improve productivity. While 200 mg, the recommended daily dose of the medication, is usually enough for optimal mental performance, some individuals may be tempted to increase the dosage to achieve better effects. However, is it safe?
The article examines whether taking the higher dose of the drug is safe and effective, as well as the 400 mg modafinil experience based on feedback from users on Quora and Reddit. Let’s dive in.
Modafinil dubbed a “smart drug” is a nootropic that has been around for over 40 years. It was first discovered as a narcolepsy drug by a French scientist working at Lafon Laboratories in the 1970s. In 1998, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it under the brand name Provigil for use in the treatment of narcolepsy and in 2003 for shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Aside from its approved indications, modafinil is also used off-label by doctors to treat other health conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cancer-related fatigue, and multiple sclerosis fatigue. It is also considered an effective drug for depression and cocaine dependence .
Modafinil is a stimulant that works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, including dopamine, orexin, norepinephrine, and histamine. This leads to increased wakefulness, enhanced alertness, and boosted productivity. It also augments cognitive abilities, including memory, focus, and mental acuity. Modafinil is also popularly known for its mood-brightening effects. Healthy individuals such as students, scientists, business executives, coders, and airline pilots use the “smart drug” off-label to ameliorate attention, concentration, decision-making & planning skills, reasoning, and learning.
Today, apart from the branded version, modafinil is available as a generic medication due to patent expiration and is sold under various brand names, including Alertec and Modavigil . The availability of generic modafinil drugs varies by country and region, with some countries, such as India, having multiple generic options available. In India, pharmacies sell various modafinil-based meds, such as Modalert, Modvigil, Modavinil, Modawake, etc. Generic brands are generally cheaper than the brand-name version but offer the same level of safety and effectiveness.
Basic Recommendations for Dosage
The recommended daily dosage of modafinil is typically 200 mg.
However, it may be increased or decreased based on the user’s tolerability or sensitivity. The time of administration depends on the condition looking to be treated :
- for narcolepsy and OSA, take the pill once daily in the morning;
- for SWSD, take the pill approx. one hour before the start of the work shift;
- for cognitive enhancement or other health conditions, take the drug as prescribed by a doctor.
It’s important to note that the maximum recommended dosage of modafinil is 400 mg per day. While doses up to 400 mg per day, administered as a single dose, have generally been well tolerated, there is no consistent evidence to suggest that this higher dose provides any additional benefits compared to the standard 200 mg per day dose.
When it comes to the off-label use of modafinil as a cognitive enhancer, the dosage recommendations are less clear. Some individuals may take as little as 50 mg or 100 mg as an initial dose and gradually increase it under medical supervision if needed. The dosage may need to be adjusted in elderly patients or those with liver or kidney impairment.
It is important to follow the doctor’s recommendations and not to adjust the dose or stop taking the medication without first consulting a healthcare provider.
The drug is typically taken orally with or without food, and it is essential to take it at the same time each day for optimal results. Avoid taking modafinil late in the day, as it may interfere with your night’s sleep. Individuals with a history of heart problems, liver or kidney disease, or drug/alcohol abuse should use this med with caution.
Taking Modafinil in a Dosage of 400 mg
Taking a modafinil tab at a dosage of 400 mg is too much & generally not recommended unless specifically prescribed by a physician. As earlier mentioned, it is the highest dose that can be taken per day, and exceeding it can increase the risk of negative effects. Besides, taking modafinil 400 mg significantly increases the potential for abuse and may lead to an overdose.
While some individuals may report taking higher doses of the nootropic to achieve a stronger effect, this practice is not recommended and may be dangerous. In most users, modafinil 200 mg works well, providing the desired effect in a relatively safe manner. For those who require a higher dose, armodafinil may be a better alternative. This drug is similar to modafinil and is taken at a lower dose of 150 mg. It’s important to remember that like modafinil, armodafinil is a prescription med that should only be used under the guidance of a physician.
Who Uses This Dosing?
The maximum recommended dose of modafinil may be prescribed to patients with severe symptoms of narcolepsy, SWSD, OSA, or other health conditions that require a higher dose of the medication. Furthermore, some long-time users may develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning they have an insufficient response to the 200 mg dosage, and that’s why they may require higher doses to achieve the same level of effectiveness.
Besides, some healthy individuals may also take modafinil 400 mg pills in an attempt to enhance cognitive performance. This may be especially true for individuals who require sustained periods of intense focus or concentration, such as students studying for exams, professionals working for long hours, or athletes preparing for competitions. Such people may need a higher dose of the nootropic to work better & harder 24 hours in a row without sleep or maintain the desired level of cognitive effect. However, as stated above, this practice can potentially cause harm to the body and may not provide additional benefits.
Safety and Side Effects
While modafinil is generally considered safe when taken as directed, it can cause side effects such as headache, nausea, runny nose, upset stomach, & dizziness. If these negative effects occur, they are typically mild, short-lived, & go away without treatment. Severe negative effects may also happen, but they are usually associated with the incorrect use. Here are some serious side effects of modafinil :
- chest pain;
- fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat;
Although these side effects rarely occur, they can be life-threatening, especially if left unattended. Seek urgent medical attention if you show any of them.
Note that modafinil is a Schedule IV controlled substance in the USA, meaning it has a potential for abuse and dependence, especially when taken in higher than recommended doses. Also, it can be habit-forming if used for long periods. Further, it can interact with other meds, such as antifungals, birth control pills, and antidepressants, which may reduce the effectiveness of one or more of the drugs combined or lead to negative effects. As a result, it’s crucial to inform your doctor of all meds you’re currently taking before starting modafinil .
Modafinil 400mg: User Experience
Some individuals have reported taking modafinil 400 mg dosage at a time and shared their experience. According to some Reddit users, taking such a high dose of the drug can enhance focus and productivity when writing articles, but obtaining a prescription for it may be quite difficult. Some people report taking both 400 mg of modafinil and 100 mg of methylphenidate daily as a mix, but they warn that this dosage can lead to fatigue in the afternoons and disrupt sleep, even if taken consistently. On the other hand, others suggest starting with a lower dose of modafinil, e.g., 300 mg, to potentially reduce any jittery feelings that can result from higher doses. However, it’s important to maintain regular sleep patterns to avoid disrupting the sleep cycle. One individual states that taking 400 mg of modafinil allows them to read for 8 hours straight with full comprehension without losing focus, but still, many believe that 400 mg is excessive and a dose of 200 mg is sufficient for their needs .
A Mayo Clinic Connect user states that despite taking 400 mg of modafinil each morning, they still experience extreme fatigue. Their mornings are unpleasant, and they’re feeling more tired daily upon waking up than before going to bed. They have been using modafinil for years, but it doesn’t seem to be as effective as it used to be. Probably they still have daytime sleepiness. Another user states that he has taken 400 mg of the “smart drug” for 2 to 3 years due to excessive daytime sleepiness. However, afterward, his primary care physician ordered him to stop taking it after removing parathyroid glands. Although his daytime tiredness has improved significantly, he’s still dealing with insomnia and wishes that he could take at least 200 mg of modafinil .
A Quora user states that the likelihood of abuse or overdose is significantly higher with a dosage of 400 mg. Typically, individuals who take modafinil for an extended period and find that 200 mg doesn’t work resort to such a high dose . While some individuals have not experienced any adverse effects with the 400 mg of the “smart drug,” it’s paramount to keep in mind that everyone’s response to the medication can differ, and only a physician can guide an appropriate and safe dosage.
Final Thoughts: Taking Modafinil 400 mg
In conclusion, taking a high dose of modafinil, such as 400 mg, comes with potential risks and side effects. While some individuals may find that this dosage is necessary to achieve the desired effects, it’s important to approach the use of this drug with caution. It is also crucial to be aware of the potential for abuse and dependence with high doses of the “smart drug.” It’s generally recommended to start with a lower dose, such as 100 mg or 200 mg, and gradually increase it as needed while monitoring any negative effects. Ultimately, the decision to take modafinil and at what dosage should be made in consultation with a doctor & based on an individual’s specific medical needs and circumstances.
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- Taking 400mg of Modafinil Experience. By u/VariousPen1601. Retrieved: May 2, 2023. Reddit.com.
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- How Does 400 Mg of Modafinil Feel Different from 200 Mg of It? Retrieved: May 2, 2023. Quora.com.