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Mixing Modafinil and Alcohol: What to Expect?

Mixing Modafinil and Alcohol

Modafinil, popularly known as a “smart drug”, is an FDA-approved oral medication prescribed to treat excessive sleepiness caused by sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorder, and narcolepsy [1].

If you plan to consume this medicine for staying awake and want to know how it would interact with alcohol, here is everything you need to know.

What Is Modafinil and How Does It Work?

Modafinil is an oral medication sold under the commercial brand name of Provigil. It helps induce alertness and wakefulness and can make a person feel more active and energetic [2]. It is also observed to have additional effects like increased focus, improved concentration, and enhanced cognitive abilities. All these qualities have earned it the nickname, “smart drug”.

Modafinil is also used off-label in the treatment of conditions like ADHD and idiopathic hypersomnia. It helps people trying to stay awake and improve their productivity [3].

While the exact mechanism of action of modafinil is not conclusively proven, it has been observed to inhibit dopamine reuptake by neurons, thereby increasing the alertness level of the brain.

Why Mix Modafinil with Alcoholic Drinks?

Anyone taking medication should know that certain combinations of drugs and alcohol don’t work together.

The same goes for modafinil. It bears a clear warning not to combine it with alcohol as these two in a combination could result in a dangerous interaction. But there are numerous chances when casual drinking can lead to this mix.

Before a Social Event

When you are planning to attend several social events and want to stay lively without being tired, you may want to take modafinil. But such events are usually where you get served with alcoholic drinks, and you might end up taking a sip or two while modafinil is still in your system.

Busy Nightlife

People enjoying the party scene would want to take a “smart drug” to stay awake during the whole night. Music festivals, concerts, club parties are places where people get drunk and try to have all the fun they want. The chances of modafinil getting mixed with alcohol and other recreational drugs are quite high in these scenarios.

A Party

Unintentional Alcohol Mixing

This may happen even with careful nootropic users who might be taking the pill to treat conditions like narcolepsy or ADHD. Modafinil has an average half-life of 15 hours, meaning that it takes almost a day for your body to be completely free of the medicine. But sometimes this number of hours can differ based on dosage or your metabolic activity. So, sometimes taking alcohol even long after modafinil can lead to the unintentional mixing of these two products in your body.

Modafinil and Alcohol Interaction

Modafinil and alcohol interaction can have varying reactions, from blackouts to a considerable increase in alcohol tolerance. You might not be able to get drunk even when you consume alcohol, as you normally do.

These two products have different kinds of impact on the brain. While the nootropic is used to increase alertness, alcohol works in the opposite way. They affect the two specific neurotransmitters, GABA and glutamate, in the brain differently. GABA is a chemical that helps in producing calming effects and a balance of other neurotransmitters. While modafinil is a GABA antagonist and increases the glutamate activity in the brain to inhibit sleepiness, alcohol actively enhances the GABA levels and decreases the glutamate activity. Mixing these substances can thereby result in negation of the effects that they intend to bring. You may not feel drunk as you used to, or modafinil will just not be able to let you focus as it should. Combining this “smart drug” with alcohol could also lead to a sudden increase in the effect of the latter. If you end up drinking too much due to alcohol tolerance, the resulting hangover could feel massive. Sometimes modafinil might relieve the symptoms of a hangover.

What Dangers Should Be Expected from This Mixing?

As mentioned earlier, combining modafinil with alcohol has unpredictable results that can put your health and safety in danger. Some serious side effects of this mix are as follows:

  • more nausea;
  • blackout;
  • dehydration: both products cause water loss and taking them together can lead to increased chances of dehydration;
  • liver damage: modafinil pills are usually broken down by the liver, so is alcohol. The liver enzymes used to break down these substances are different and having to force your liver to break down both of them at once causes it to exert a lot of energy. Liver damage can thus be expected if you keep consuming alcohol and modafinil together.

How to Reduce Possible Side Effects?

Reduce Side Effects

First thing you should avoid, mixing modafinil plus alcohol at all costs. But if it were to happen so unintentionally, the following pointers could help you reduce the possible side effects:

  • if you plan on taking a “smart drug” on a day when you may have to consume alcohol, make sure you administer a lower dose of the medicine;
  • increase the time interval between modafinil and alcohol consumption, the longer the time interval between these two, the better it will be for your body. As the med’s half-life makes it stay in your body for more than 10 hours, plan your drinking sessions to be held at least all day after taking a modafinil pill;
  • take the nootropic and alcohol combined with food, consuming this mix on an empty stomach aids in faster absorption of the substances and may fasten the dangerous reactions as well, food digestion can slow down this process and can also reduce the burden these two compounds place on your liver;
  • stay hydrated, drinking plenty of water helps fight the dehydrating effect of both modafinil and alcohol, it also fastens the elimination from your system through kidneys.

Remember, it is always important to consult your doctor before taking modafinil with alcohol!

Is Modafinil Used for Hangover?

As Modafinil acts as a wakefulness-promoting agent and makes fatigue disappear, many people consider it a remedy for a hangover. It is normal to feel drained and fatigued when you drink alcohol at night. Taking this nootropic can sometimes be the best way to feel fresh during a hangover morning.

But there is a particular schedule to follow if you do choose this method. You cannot simply take alcohol and modafinil together and expect to have a lot of energy in the morning. That is the dangerous mix we have been explaining so far.

Instead, after a night of alcohol consumption, follow the steps below while using modafinil to cure a hangover:

  • get as much sleep as you want;
  • hydrate yourself with water, juices, or nutritious fluids;
  • get some greasy food to get a loaded stomach;
  • take a long, hot shower 30 minutes after your meal;
  • drink coffee to keep you awake during the day;
  • don’t skip your meals;
  • get a good night and daytime sleep the next day, this helps you reset your sleep schedule.

It is not wise to experiment with chemicals when your body is the vessel. So, avoid Provigil and alcohol mixing whenever you can.

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We highly recommend you consume modafinil after getting it prescribed from a doctor. Also, avoid mixing it with alcohol to steer clear of any associated side effects. Stay safe!

References:

  1. Modafinil in the Treatment of Excessive Sleepiness. Published online: February 6, 2009. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  2. Modafinil. Pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  3. Modafinil Dependence: A Case with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Published online: March 30, 2018. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
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