What is Modafinil? How does it interact with alcohol?
At first, we should tell you why we have decided to review this issue.
That’s because this question is extremely important. Some of our readers probably know everything about Modafinil (or Provigil, that’s a brand name), but we still should refresh your memory. It would be unwise to talk about Modafinil (or Provigil) and alcohol interaction without the full information about this medication.
What is it? Why is Modafinil so popular and how it works?
So, it’s an eugeroic or a wakefulness-promoting agent. In other words, it’s a medication which was designed to treat sleeping problems, such as narcolepsy, pauses in breathing while sleeping (it’s called sleep apnea), and to improve wakefulness. Modafinil is a very good choice for those who want to solve their sleep problems, but it hasn’t gained its huge popularity just because it’s a good narcolepsy pill.
It’s a very popular “smart drug”. Nootropics, or smart drugs (they are also called cognitive enhancers) are the drugs that increase your cognitive functions and improve your memory. Most of these medications also have some other positive effects, such as increased focus, improved mood, etc. But Modafinil is not only good for those who want to improve memory and focus — as you remember, it’s also a medication that helps people with sleep problems. That’s the key — this nootropic has all the advantages other nootropics have, but it also normalizes your sleep and makes you functional in the morning. By the way, Provigil is also good when it comes to a shift work sleep disorder — so your performance will always be high when you need it. Energy boost, improved memory, good sleep, more focus… Sounds like an ideal smart drug, doesn’t it? Especially considering the fact that this medication can make you feel better. That’s because of dopamine — Modafinil wasn’t created as a mood enhancer, but it really helps if you are a person with depression.
What about minuses of Modafinil?
That’s natural that those, who want to start using this medication should know about some possible side effects. Among them are:
- Pain in chest (by the way, this one is the most dangerous among the common side effects of Modafinil);
- Dry skin etc.
As you see, the list is not very long (although it’s not exhausted, of course). If you take Modafinil correctly, you will most likely have no problems with it. But what do we mean when we say that the usage is incorrect? Usually it means one of these things:
- Improper use of the drug. When you use Modafinil to treat sleep problems, to get an energy boost or to improve your memory, it’s OK. For instance, when you take it in order to get high— that’s what we usually call “improper use”. Avoid it and no problems will appear.
- Whether intentional or not, overdosing is never a pleasant thing. If you feel arrhythmia or high blood pressure, as well as problems with sleeping — exceeding of the dose can be the reason. You should call the emergency help and your doctor if you feel it can be the overdose.
- And the last example of incorrect usage is mixing medications with other substances — medicines, drugs, alcoholic drinks (for some reason, quite a lot of people try to mix Modafinil and alcohol), etc. Let’s talk about the results of such combinations. To begin with, let’s look what it is like to mix Provigil and alcohol.
So, how do Modafinil and alcohol interact?
The very first thing you should know is that those who mix Provigil and alcohol might suffer from unknown but unwanted problems. It’s usually not recommended for patients to mix these two substances, because Provigil and alcohol effects have not been the subject of clinical trials yet. It’s not recommended to mix them, and your doctor will most likely tell you the same. Of course, it’s not only “not recommended” but even dangerous to combine alcohol with Modafinil for those who experience side effects of the latter or have problems with liver— such a combination can be even deadly. Drugs increase the load on your liver, alcohol does it, too — people with such problems shouldn’t even try to mix them.
But if you are still interested — the following text is for you.
Well, it depends on some factors and circumstances. Long story short, the effects of taking Provigil with alcohol depend on how you take Provigil and alcohol. Let’s see.
The first factor is the frequency of drinking. If you drink too much, or too often — you probably have tolerance to alcohol. Such tolerance is possible because of the increased level of GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) in your body. This acid is a neurotransmitter, and it has many functions, for example, it controls anxiety. This chemical influences your ability to learn and remember things. If you drink much, your neurons produce much more GABA than the neurons of those who don’t drink alcohol, because alcohol increases the level of this acid.
What does it mean?
Such an increased producing of the acid makes you tolerant to the agonist of the acid — alcohol. It means that you can become less sensitive to the alcohol, thus you have to drink more to get the same effect.
But, as alcohol is an agonist (activator of the receptor), Modafinil does the opposite. It reduces your tolerance to alcohol so you need much less alcohol to get drunk. It has such an effect because Modafinil is an antagonist of GABA, so it inhibits the production of this acid. Modafinil also increases the production of glutamate in your body. That’s a neurotransmitter, too, and here is one more important thing —alcohol reduces the glutamate level while Modafinil does the opposite again. All these chemical reactions lead to one result: it doesn’t matter how much you drink and how long you have been doing it. Mixing Modafinil and alcohol will reverse your tolerance so you’ll need much less to get drunk. Moreover, we can safely say that you will need almost the same amount of alcohol to get drunk as you needed when you started drinking it. It’s an interesting effect, but please, be careful of it! If you’ve decided to combine alcohol and Modafinil, please, take the above written information into account. Don’t plan to drive when you’re drunk.
The second factor is the amount of time between taking a pill and drinking alcohol. Again, bear in mind that no clinical trials were done, so all this information can be either useful or not. Provigil and alcohol side effects are not proven clinically yet, and the mechanism of action of Modafinil is still unknown, so this text is based on lots of feedbacks. Remember that it often depends on your organism how you will react to such a combination, so please, if you feel something is wrong — call your doctor or emergency help.
So, let’s now see how different periods of time influence the effect. We’ll take one 200mg pill of Provigil as a standard, because the majority of patients take one such a pill per day.
So, the most common situation is when you take your 200mg pill in the morning in order to wake up and to increase your morning productivity. After that, you’re invited to the evening party with your friends. Very common situation, isn’t it?
If you’ve taken a pill at 7 am and the party starts at 9 pm — here are the good news. Modafinil half-life is about 14 hours, which means that if you drink after 14 hours after taking a pill, you will most likely experience no troubles.
If a period between taking a pill and drinking alcohol is about 10 hours, you will need less alcohol to get drunk. But you will most likely have no troubles walking after drinking alcohol in 10 hours — of course, if we are talking about a couple of beers. The more you drink, the worse will be the problems.
But the real problems can appear if you take alcohol in a few hours after taking a pill of Modafinil. In such cases, people often get their faces red after the first drink! Of course, you will not be able to drive even if you’ve drunk one beer.
Talking about hangover one should mention that Modafinil decreases the possibility of being in bad shape the next morning. But, despite this fact, if you take a pill and drink right after it, you will probably have problems.
So if you want to mix Modafinil and alcohol, the most important thing you should do is to be careful. Don’t go all out — it would be better to start slow. Don’t drink too much — remember that you need much less to get drunk if you take Modafinil. Despite many people say that they take this combination and feel fine and clear, you never know how it will influence your brain and body. So, if you want to drink — drink, but be very careful with it.