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Brain Health

Modafinil: A Safe, Smart Drug?

Posted on 20 February 2016

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A systematic review is suggesting that Modafinil may indeed boost cognition without any serious side effects

The concept of a ‘smart’ pill has been explored in many mediums, and while no-one’s claiming a drug could transform your average Joe into Einstein anytime soon, we may now be honing in on compounds that can up brain speed without any particular consequences. 

What is Modafinil?

First prescribed in 1998, Modafinil is an ‘alertness’ drug used for treatment of narcolepsy among other conditions. As more people studied the drug, and others began taking it for non-medical reasons, reports of additional cognitive benefits began to emerge. 

Does it do anything?

A drug’s effect can be quite a subjective and personal experience, but the latest research is indicating Modafinil can boost higher cognitive functions like attention and learning. This is significant in itself, but there are still many questions regarding safety and long term efficacy. We don’t know whether users start building a tolerance to it, or if there could be consequences later on. 

Is it safe?

The drug has become increasingly widespread, but many scientists are concerned about long term effects of such a drug, especially if used regularly. It can also cause mild side effects in some individuals like stomach pain and insomnia. Recent studies are suggesting it has no immediate serious consequences, but there are no long term reviews of yet which means no-one knows for sure whether it’s safe. We don’t know whether it benefits a particular demographic more than others, or exactly how it works – but given that many people claim positive effects, it’s likely usage will increase regardless of safety concerns. Watch this space, we may be entering an era where nootropics become commonplace. 

Read more at Scientific American

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