Can you overdose on Modafinil?
The internet is chock full of reports of users trying more than the daily recommended amount of modafinil. 200mg is the approved dosage for regular use, but many people have reported trying 400mg or even more. The question is, is this dangerous and at what point could you overdose? The FDA’s complete report on modafinil gives us the answers.
What is an overdose?
An overdose is simply when too much of something is consumed, and this results in unpleasant physical effects that can be dangerous or even life-threatening. Many common medications can actually be quite dangerous in large quantities, for instance acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver damage with doses of up to 4000mg. Take 12,000mg, and you’ll likely die of liver failure.
You can even die from drinking too much water! So overdose is always possible. However, if you use common sense you shouldn’t have any issues.
LD50 and Overdose
The LD50 is the “lethal dose 50% of the time” in an animal or a human. Companies have to find the LD50 for their product, and they usually use rats for this since they have similar metabolisms to people. An LD50 is measured in mg/kg, that is, milligrams of the medicine per kilogram of body weight. So an LD50 of 10mg/kg would mean that a person who weighs 50kg would reach the LD50 after taking 500mg.
How much to Overdose on Modafinil?
The good news is that modafinil is very well tolerated in individuals and so far there have not been any cases of overdose in humans. The amount needed to kill a rat is well over 1,000mg/kg. The average person weighs about 80kg, meaning that they would need to take 80,000mg/kg to die. That’s over 400 pills! I think it’s safe to say that there’s no risk of dying due to accidental, or even intentional modafinil use.
But an overdose is possible without extreme consequences. There was an instance of a 3-year-old child taking 4 or 5 pills, over 50mg/kg! He was fine, just extremely hyper for a while.
In adults there were two cases where 20 pills (4000mg+) were taken at once! The patients reported feeling very uncomfortable and unable to relax at all. However, aside from the temporary mental side effects, they were fine physically and returned to normal after a couple of days.
Are large doses safe then?
While you probably shouldn’t take 20 pills at once (not to mention it’d be quite expensive if you did) the risk of an overdose is generally very low. Clinical trials have tested doses of 800mg-1200mg in adults with no serious side-effects or overdose situations. It seems that taking these larger doses of modafinil increases the chance of minor side effects, such as headaches or nausea. But the patients took these doses regularly and had no long-term issues.
So if you want to try a larger dose, go ahead. But keep it reasonable, and definitely don’t give children larger doses. Overdosing on modafinil is nearly impossible, but it can happen if you are careless.