January 30, 2021

How Long Does It Take for Modafinil to Kick In?

If you’ve decided to start taking modafinil, whether it’s for its cognitive-enhancing effects or to treat excessive daytime sleepiness, it is vital to know everything about it. This includes its benefits, side effects, mechanism of action, and how long it takes to work. Having a good understanding of these things will enable you to avoid unnecessary discomfort such as a sleepless night and get the best out of it instead.

We’ll find out how long modafinil’s effects take to kick in. But before that, let’s share all the essential information you need to know about it.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a famous wake-promoting drug that is recognized the world over for its ability to increase focus, alertness, memory, creativity, and motivation with hardly any harmful adverse reactions. Compared to other stimulants used for similar benefits, it is much safer, as it does not induce cravings and has a low potential for addiction [1].

Modafinil is common among airport traffic wardens, top-level executives of Fortune 500 companies, pilots, soldiers, and celebrities. Engineers and other individuals whose jobs require some serious concentration use this medicine as well.

Modafinil Side Effects: Common and Rare

Modafinil may cause adverse reactions, especially when it is being used for the first time. However, the common symptoms are usually mild and typically disappear without being treated. They include [2]:

  • headache;
  • constipation;
  • gas;
  • diarrhea;
  • dizziness;
  • insomnia;
  • drowsiness.

The more severe adverse reactions that modafinil can cause include trouble swallowing, swelling in the face, hands, or mouth, hives, skin rash, and itching. Fortunately, these symptoms rarely occur and are linked to the misuse of the medicine. However, they can be life-threatening and require urgent medical attention [3].

How Does Modafinil Work?

Funny as it may sound, the exact way modafinil works is yet to be fully understood. However, many experts believe that its wake-promoting and cognitive-enhancing effects are linked to its ability to alter the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as histamine, dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) [4]. These chemical messengers have been known to influence alertness, mood, and the wake-sleep cycle.

Popular Generic Modafinil Brands

Modafinil is available in generic versions. Generic medications are medications produced by other pharmaceutical companies after the patent owned by the drug’s original developer must have expired. Although they contain the same active ingredients and offer the same benefits as their branded counterparts, they are usually far cheaper [5]. Sometimes by up to 5 times.

Modvigil and Modalert are popular generic versions of modafinil, and they perform no less in terms of effectiveness and safety. Like other generic medications, they cost less and are more readily accessible compared to Provigil – brand name modafinil. This makes them the choice option for “smart drug” enthusiasts, as it helps them get the best bang for their buck.

Modvigil vs. Modalert: What Is the Difference?

Modvigil vs. Modalert: Which is better? Well, both products are basically the same since they contain the same active ingredient – modafinil. One of the conditions pharmaceutical companies looking to produce generic drugs are given – is to ensure that they use precisely the same active ingredients as the patented brands. However, the companies are given some freedom to use varying inactive ingredients, hence the reasons different generic versions of the same drug can have different colors, tastes, and odors. Sometimes this brings about slightly different effects in the medications.

For example, some “smart drug” users have said that Modvigil has a milder action compared to Modalert. Although the drug’s effects may vary from one individual to another, there seems to be some truth in this, as several users have indicated similar observations. Consequently, because of its mild effect, first-time users of modafinil are advised to start with it before switching to Modalert as time goes on.

Regardless, because both products can have varying effects on different individuals, the best way to determine which one meets your expectations is to try both of them out. While this can be expensive if you’re buying the products individually, you can get them at a better price if you source them in a combo pack.

Some online pharmacies offer combo package services; one of the reputable vendors known for delivering high-quality pills is BuyModafinilOnline. It sources its products directly from the manufacturers and fulfills them to its customers’ doorsteps in discreet packaging. It offers excellent discounts, bonuses, and, very importantly, a genuine 30-day money-back guarantee.

How Long Does It Take for Modafinil to Kick In?

Now to answer the question you’ve been waiting for: Modafinil takes 30–60 minutes to start working for most people. However, its onset of effects may vary from one user to another based on certain factors. Some of them include body weight, age, and the overall health of the individual using it.

The drug’s effects generally take longer to kick in overweight people, as the active ingredients get distributed between their fat and lean tissues, leaving only very little to reach their bloodstreams. Also, the type of food one eats before or after taking the pills may influence their onset. Fatty meals typically make them take longer to start working [6][7].

Be sure that modafinil is an effective medication for many years. But you should definitely consult your doctor before taking this drug. Self-medication can negatively affect your health!


  1. Practical Use and Risk of Modafinil, a Novel Waking Drug. By Dongsoo Kim. Retrieved: January 22, 2021. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  2. Modafinil: Drug Information. Retrieved: January 22, 2021. Medlineplus.gov.
  3. Modafinil (Oral Route) Side Effects. By IBM Micromedex. Retrieved: January 22, 2021. Mayoclinic.org.
  4. Mechanisms of Modafinil: A Review of Current Research. By Paul Gerrard and Robert Malcolm. Retrieved: January 22, 2021. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  5. Generic Drugs: Questions and Answers. Retrieved: January 22, 2021. Fda.gov.
  6. Effects of Obesity on Pharmacokinetics Implications for Drug Therapy. By G. Cheymol. Retrieved: January 22, 2021. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  7. Provigil: Side Effects, Dosage, Uses, and More. Written by MNT Medical Network. Medically reviewed by Lindsay Slowiczek, Pharm.D. Retrieved: January 22, 2021. Medicalnewstoday.com.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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