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Modafinil Interaction with Other Drugs, Food and Alcohol

Modafinil Interaction with Other Drugs, Food and Alcohol

Modafinil is a popular medication used in the treatment of sleeping disorders like excessive sleeping and narcolepsy. But what makes it truly popular among healthy people, is its over-the-counter usage as a “smart drug” that can enhance learning and memory capabilities.

The drug is considered a safe stimulant with little-to-no side effects and a no-addictive behavior. But this does not mean you can consume it without any precautions.

Here is everything you need to know about the possible hazardous modafinil interactions with food, alcohol, and other drugs.

Some Warnings from Modafinil Manufacturer

Modafinil is an oral medication that is sold in the form of pills. It was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the year 1998 for the treatment of narcolepsy [1].

Since the drug has been approved by the FDA, it is well tested for safe use for a particular condition. The pills can be obtained using a prescription from a local pharmacy store or can be bought from online vendors without prescription, as a generic medication.


The “smart drug,” in general, is quite safe to use, but as with any medication, the manufacturers will provide you contraindications and side effects observed during clinical trials.

These warnings could help you decide whether the drug will work for you. It is generally advised that people with the following medical conditions should take their doctor’s advice before consuming the pill:

  • pregnancy and breastfeeding;
  • heart diseases;
  • liver diseases like cirrhosis;
  • hypersensitivity to medications;
  • allergy (pills are made of wheat gluten which could be allergic to some people);
  • blood pressure irregularity [2].

Some of the common side effects observed are:

  • anxiety;
  • headache;
  • nausea;
  • nervousness [3].

Side effects, like back pain, a reduction in appetite, belching, diarrhea, or having problems making a bowel movement are not as common, but have been reported by users. Rare but severe side effects like rashes, fever, and hallucinations, if experienced, should be dealt with immediately by stopping modafinil usage and consulting your doctor.

Severe side effects include:

  • elevated blood pressure;
  • somnolence;
  • insomnia;
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or inside the mouth;
  • stuffy/runny nose;
  • swelling;
  • tingling, burning, or prickling sensations in the skin;
  • back pain;
  • belching, etc.

It’s not a full list, read the instructions to explore more.

Serious side effects:

  • trouble breathing;
  • fever;
  • blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
  • severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
  • easy bruising or bleeding;
  • depression;
  • hallucinations;
  • thoughts of suicide;
  • aggression or other mental problems [4].

Children under the age of 17 are also not recommended to use modafinil [2].

How Modafinil Interacts with Food

Modafinil is consumed orally, and you can take it along with water or any other drink. It is considered safe to take it with or without most types of food.

Certain foods like grapefruit juice and grapefruit are known to increase the effects of the drug. Hence, if you are already on this drug, avoid taking too much grapefruit or caffeine unless you want to feel more agitated and nervous [5].


For faster action, you can take this pill on an empty stomach. This way, your liver can break down the pill compound faster, and your body can absorb it quickly. Taking it after food might delay the onset of effects by about an hour, which can be insignificant.

Additionally, you must also avoid having the “smart drug” with ginseng as the latter works as a nootropic too.

What About Taking Modafinil with Alcohol?

There are no long term studies available gauging the effect of modafinil and alcohol together. Yet mixing of these two compounds is considered dangerous or counter-effective as they have opposing reactions in your body.

Alcohol tends to make a person feel more relaxed and reduces inhibitions, whereas modafinil makes the person feel alert and awake. These two compounds also react with neurotransmitters that serve opposing functions in your brain.

Both modafinil and alcohol interact with the neurotransmitters GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) and glutamate. GABA is the neurotransmitter that is associated with vision, locomotive activities, and anxiety. Glutamate is related to memory and learning abilities. Modafinil works in a way to improve glutamate reactions and inhibits GABA receptors to make a person stay alert [6].

Alcohol does the opposite of this function, making a person feel more relaxed and less in control of their movements and memory. Combining these two could cause some extreme mood swings. Thus mixing alcohol with modafinil could either lead to dampened effects of both or some unpredictable effects. Some possible results could be:

  • increased tolerance for alcohol;
  • increased tolerance to modafinil;
  • severe blackouts.

To stay safe, avoid consuming alcohol when you are using modafinil.

Modafinil Interactions with Other Drugs

Inform your doctor of any drug you might already be taking before you start using modafinil. Some common drugs that interact with it are:

  • Inderal;
  • Neoral;
  • Sandimmune;
  • rifampin;
  • Rimactane;
  • Adderall;
  • Wellbutrin;
  • amoxicillin;
  • birth control pills;
  • tramadol;
  • Celexa;
  • gabapentin;
  • sildenafil;
  • Viagra;
  • sedatives like diazepam/Valium;
  • antifungal medications like itraconazole/Sporanox;
  • anti-depressants;
  • Carbamazepine;
  • MAO inhibitors like phenelzine [7].

Modafinil can react with other drugs and produce differing results like speeding up or slowing down the removal of other medications.


It has been observed that modafinil decreases the effectiveness of birth control medications and may be hazardous to use along with blood pressure related drugs.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, although the “smart drug,” modafinil does react with other drugs, food, and alcohol. While some interactions could decrease the effectiveness of the pill, other interactions could have more serious repercussions.

Therefore, it is wise to consult your physician when you start taking medication to know the right dosage and possible drug combinations. Be safe and use modafinil wisely, so you get the best results.


  1. Provigil Approval Labeling.
  2. Provigil.
  3. Modafinil Side Effects.
  4. Modafinil Side Effects & How To Avoid Them. Published Online: May 1, 2020.
  5. Provigil (modafinil).
  6. Mechanisms Of Modafinil: A Review Of Current Research.
  7. Modafinil Drug Interactions.
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