If you read reports from various modafinil users you’ll see quite the variety of recommendations when it comes to dosage, with equally varying results. It’s important to understand that each person’s biochemistry is unique and that while most people should respond the same, some people may respond quite differently to modafinil. But why does this happen? And what dosage is ideal? Let’s take a look.
Some people complain of a lack of effect on modafinil. Dosage is dependent on body mass, a larger person is going to need more of a medicine to have the same effects as a smaller person. In addition, there are certain genetic factors which can affect your processing of modafinil. The most common reason why a person feels unusually more or less effects from a drug is that they have an abnormal amount of cytochrome P450.
P450 is a family of enzymes that work in the liver to break down complex chemicals, most commonly pharmaceuticals. An excess of this enzyme would result in the body breaking down the material quicker and limiting its potency, while a deficit will mean that more of the medicine enters the bloodstream, resulting in increased potency. Generally, if you respond to medicines normally without requiring a special dosage, your P450 is probably fine. However, it can be inhibited by other means, particularly citrus fruits and their juices. Grapefruit juice is a powerful inhibitor of P450 and can cause other substances to become more potent. Whether this works for modafinil or not is still under debate, but it’s likely that it would have an impact.
So with those points aside, let’s look at some of the dosages and their effects.
Low dose: 100mg or lower
Modafinil is active at doses as low as 20mg. Several clinical trials have explored using modafinil in low doses for specific applications, such as treating addiction. It’s clear that modafinil works at these levels but without noticeable effects. On the low end, these doses are unlikely to result in a very productive day.
But doses near the 100mg mark are quite common and popular. I myself use 100mg when I have a light day and don’t feel the need for a full 200mg, but would like the extra energy and focus. Low doses also make your money go further, which is useful if you’re on a tight budget. Also, low doses tend to reduce or outright eliminate the occurrence of side effects, great if you find modafinil uncomfortable for whatever reason.
Low doses are often recommended for new users to get a feel for modafinil and find out whether or not a full dose is necessary. Considering the aforementioned diversity among users, it’s not a bad idea to play it safe the first time around and take a smaller dose, lest you find yourself over-stimulated or affected by side effects, however rare that may be.
A low dose will have a similar peak to a standard dose, meaning about 8-12 hours of peak performance. However, a low dose tends to decline quickly once it nears the half-life and from there may not be effective. Sleep comes easier on a low dose, I’ve even been able to take a nap.
Standard dose: 200mg
This is the gold standard of modafinil doses, the pill arrives in a neat 200mg disc, you pop it out of the foil, swallow it down, and get to work. Tried, tested, true, there’s little that you can’t do with 200mg of modafinil. Having said that, some people find the dose to be a bit excessive or overstimulating, particularly people with lower body masses.
Clinical trials have shown that the 200mg range tends to have a very low incidence of side effects, with less than 10% of users reporting any issues, mostly minor.
A 200mg dose should last for 12 hours and from there wear out in a couple of hours. Sleeping while on a 200mg dose is very difficult so you should plan accordingly.
Some people divide a 200mg dose into two 100mg doses. This can be good if you want to have peak effects for a short while, perhaps your morning work, and then another dose in the afternoon. Neither dose is very large, allowing you to take one in the morning and one before lunch and still sleep well, and you benefit from two peaks of energy during the day. However, some people find that short-term tolerance builds and that the second dose is not as effective as the first.
Large dose: 400mg
Doses of 400mg are not generally issued by doctors unless a patient is unresponsive to a standard 200mg dose. However, considering the increased frequency of users taking modafinil without a prescription, reports of people taking larger doses are becoming more common. Most users report no adverse effects but find instead an improvement in wakefulness and alertness. It seems that those who experience side effects will feel them more on 400mg and those who don’t normally get them may experience them slightly or not at all.
Larger doses can also be achieved by taking 200mg twice in the same day. This isn’t usually recommended as it’s likely to make sleep difficult, but with proper timing it can work well. A friend of mine was taking 200mg at 6 AM and another 200mg at 12 PM before lunch. He’d end up getting 18 hours of video editing a day done during the course of a week, before getting to bed at 12 PM.
A 400mg dose will last longer than a normal dose, and the intensity of the effects will be greater for a longer duration, but the same half-life applies and it will eventually fade out, albeit a few hours later. It’s more likely that your dose will provide more than 12 hours, closer to 15, of good solid modafinil time.
Large doses are perfectly safe and have been clinically approved. However it’s still recommended that you don’t take a large dose as your first one, just in case you might be allergic to the medication.
Very Large Doses: 400mg+
Doses over 400mg are rarely reported, although the few reports I’ve found on forums and reddit seem to indicate that they are safe, though rarely needed. These cases are generally seen as one-time incidents: Perhaps somebody has to cram for a major test and needs to go full speed for a couple of days, that’s the type of situation that calls for a very large dose, although one user mentioned consistently needing 800mg-1200mg to get an effect.
Very large doses are not recommended as their safety has not been thoroughly tested, although if it’s an occasional activity it’s probably not dangerous. Doses of several grams have been tested on humans with no serious adverse effects.
Is there a way to make modafinil more potent?
Aside from the dubious suggestion of using grapefruit juice, which is not widely recommended as its effect is unconfirmed and it can have adverse reactions with other drugs, there IS an effective way to increase modafinil’s strength.
Sublingual absorption of modafinil (under the tongue) can increase the potency and reduce the time it takes to kick in. The area under the tongue is full of mucous membranes which will go directly through the bloodstream, bypassing metabolism in your stomach. This makes for a more potent delivery of modafinil and less loss due to biological factors. Some users report crushing 50mg to consume sublingually and find this as potent as a 100mg dose. Be advised, pills and their binders tend to be bitter and not very pleasant in the mouth.
When you’re trying to figure out how much modafinil to take, consider these experiences and those of others, and remember that everybody’s response to medicine can be different. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure of how best to proceed.