Modafinil is used by many individuals globally for the treatment of sleep disorders and off-label as a wakefulness-promoting drug for boosting productivity and concentration. It is the go-to solution for any corporate workers and students who need to put in some extra effort to cope up with the work demands. You must have heard the names of Modalert or Waklert 150 mg if you are in touch with any high-functioning individual. With the long list of jaw-dropping benefits, it is important to be aware of the Modafinil interactions to use this ‘superdrug’ properly. Modafinil is a safe pill but can interact with many drugs and other products that can influence its impact on your body. 

Let’s Get The Basics Right

Modafinil

modafinil basics

Modafinil comes under the wakefulness-promoting drug category. It was developed in 1970 in France to treat daytime excessive sleepiness and fatigue in people suffering from critical sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and shift work sleep disorder. When it was introduced to the pharmaceutical world in the United States, the minimal side effects attracted the high-achievers to explore its off-label benefits. Modafinil is not a stimulant but exerts stimulant-like effects on the brain and body.

It works by intensifying the effects of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and compounds such as orexin & histamine, in the central nervous system by increasing their concentration.[1] The central nervous system naturally regulates the circadian rhythm by producing certain proteins. The level of these proteins increases during the night and reduces during the day, thus balancing the sleep and wakefulness cycle. By influencing the wakefulness cycle, the duration of alertness and focus can be increased to meet our needs.

The benefits of consuming Modafinil are enlisted below:

  • Boosts concentration ability for up to 12 hours.
  • Increases productivity.
  • Better memory retention.
  • Improves mood.
  • Overall enhancement of cognitive functions.

All psychologically influencing drugs come with side effects. Though less, Modafinil may negatively impact some individuals.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Reduced appetite
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Dryness of the mouth

Alcohol

alcohol bascis

People use alcohol in social gatherings to bond over, at home to relax and unwind, and sometimes to calm nerves. The impacts of alcohol are opposite to Modafinil. It has depressant-like effects on the central nervous system, therefore, reduce concentration and productivity.[3]

  • Within 30 seconds, the alcohol starts slowing down the chemical pathways and reflexes. 
  • Your mood and thinking ability also gets affected. 
  • It also makes you sleepy but doesn’t allow the enriching REM sleep that you need. 
  • In the long-run drinking alcohol critically affects your body’s organs and functioning.

However, there are positive impacts of alcohol as well.[2] 

  • Light to moderate intake of alcohol may reduce the risks of certain cardiovascular issues like ischemic stroke, heart attack, peripheral vascular disease.
  • When consumed before meals, improve the digestive process.  
  • Moderate drinking also helps in the reduction of odds of diabetes, gallstones.
  • It also has positive psychological impacts.

Modafinil’s Interaction with Alcohol

modafinil interaction with alcohol

All Modafinil tablets come with cautionary information of what should be avoided while you are on the treatment regime and alcohol is one of them. Their interaction may not result well. Although limited data is available on the effects of combining alcohol with Modafinil, the experts recommend avoiding their use together. 

Any substance that exerts psychological effects falls on the spectrum of stimulatory effects and depressants. Modafinil & alcohol effects are on the opposite ends of this spectrum. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, while Modafinil is a stimulant. When taken together, the alcohol will work to calm your body by stimulating the release of relaxing neurotransmitters and Modafinil will work on enhancing the concentration of stimulating chemicals in the brain. So their collaborative effect, which largely depends on the dose consumed, cannot be predicted. 

In addition, how these drugs affect bodily functions also varies depending on an individual’s tolerance and body chemistry. When healthy people take Modafinil for enhancing their cognitive function, they may or may not experience side effects. While a person who has any health issue may get adversely impacted by the use of Modafinil. Similarly, the tolerance levels for alcohol are different for every person. 

Drinking on Modafinil

There are different scenarios of how Modafinil and alcohol can mix up in the body: 

  1. Drinking immediately after taking Modafinil.

Many party lovers have tried the hack to have a great time – taking alcohol & Adderall together to party all night. Similar experimentation with Modafinil and alcohol has also surfaced. Which you shouldn’t and we’ll tell you why.

  • Irrespective of how much alcohol you drink, Modafinil will keep you awake. So yeah you would be drunk beyond words, but your body won’t be able to pass out. Such a situation can be hazardous and chaotic.
  1. 10-12 hour gap between both.

Taking Modafinil in the morning and then consuming alcohol in the evening when you go out for drinks with friends is the most common situation reported. People usually do it because they think Modafinil’s effects have already worn out. But due to the half-life of Modafinil, which is 15 hours, it can still interact with alcohol. 

  • Modafinil increases your tolerance level for alcohol, which means you will drink more because you don’t feel the effects of alcohol at that particular moment. This causes a terrible hangover the next day.
  1. Consuming alcohol the day after taking Modafinil.

This situation doesn’t impact your alcohol consumption and the related impact on the body. By the next morning, the effects of Modafinil would have waned off. However, be cautious about having such days consequently as both the drugs negatively affect your immunity.

Hazards Of Mixing Alcohol & Modafinil

hazards of mixing alcohol and modafinil
  1. Over-Drinking 

Modafinil stimulates the wake-cycle of your brain and keeps you alert and active for a long period. You won’t be able to feel the sedative-like effects of alcohol. So even when your body has passed the tolerance level, you won’t ‘feel’ drunk. A side effect of Modafinil is suppression of appetite, and everyone knows what happens when you drink on an empty stomach. You can get sick and drastically impact your health. Plus individuals report waking up with a terrible hangover when they have consumed Modafinil and alcohol.

  1. Risk of Dehydration

Both alcohol and modafinil cause dehydration in the body because their metabolization and excretion of the metabolic by-products require a lot of water. When both products are taken together, it can exert a lot of pressure on the kidneys for elimination and considerably increase the odds of dehydration.

  1. Impact on Liver Function

Every compound that you consume has to undergo metabolization in the liver. When both modafinil and alcohol are required to be metabolized at the same time in the liver, other important processes such as hormonal regulation, sugar & fat metabolism, production of transport proteins get affected. 

Are there any benefits?

Although the uncertainty of the outcome of having an alcohol-Modafinil cocktail makes it a risky region, there are certain benefits to it as well. 

  1. Increased Tolerance

Modafinil enhances the tolerance level of alcohol in your body as you won’t be able to feel how drunk you are. Those interested in having a time-of-their party may find it a positive sign. 

  1. No Passing Out

The cognitive-enhancement abilities of Modafinil do not get impacted by your consumption of alcohol. You won’t pass out even when you are over-drunk. Plus, you won’t get up the next day with no memories of the previous night. 

  1. Modafinil Hangover Fix

Drinking while on Modafinil is not recommended, but many people use Modafinil as a hangover cure. When you wake up with a severe hangover, popping a pill of 200 milligrams Modalert (Modafinil) may help you fight fatigue and keep you alert for the day. 

How to Fight Effects of Modafinil-Alcohol Combination?

hazards of mixing alcohol and modafinil

We cannot stress enough to AVOID the combination of alcohol and Modafinil. However, in case they are expected to be combined, you should find the following tips helpful.

  1. Hydrate yourself

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration by consumption of alcohol and Modafinil. Staying hydrated will also prevent the burden on kidneys, and the buildup of metabolic waste products in the body. 

  1. Take Care of Food

Consuming alcohol and Modafinil with food will slow down their absorption and prevent the side effects like nausea and vomiting.

  1. Reduce the Amount

The amount of alcohol and Modafinil you are consuming will decide the severity of impact you will feel. If you cannot avoid having them together, make sure you consume less amount to dodge the complications.

  1. Don’t Make it a Habit

Accidental or intentional mixing of alcohol and Modafinil occasionally may not pose a serious threat to the body. However, it happens every day or every other day, it can cause serious trauma to your health.

The Final Say

Considering all the aspects, consuming Modafinil and Alcohol together should be avoided. The risks and severity of their effects increase when consumed together. The amount of pressure this combination will exert on the organs, particularly the kidney and liver, can mortally affect your health. 

Alcohol is for pleasure and Modafinil is taken for work. So as far as their combination is concerned, it is best to keep the work and pleasure separate. 

References

  1. Gerrard, P., & Malcolm, R. (2007). Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 3(3), 349–364. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/ 
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/drinks-to-consume-in-moderation/alcohol-full-story/ 
  3. Mukherjee S. Alcoholism and its effects on the central nervous system. Curr Neurovasc Res. 2013 Aug;10(3):256-62. doi: 10.2174/15672026113109990004. PMID: 23713737. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23713737/ 

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