Modafinil, sold under the brand name Provigil, has become one of the most popular smart drugs in the world. Of late, it is called a study drug – thanks to its cognitive-enhancing effects.
The drug has been competing with other well-known smart drugs like Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin.
Modafinil is not an average study drug but it can offer profound benefits for students to boost their learning, particularly if used correctly and under the supervision of a medical provider.
Provigil is the king of the study drugs, according to modafinil.org. It has an action on different brain chemicals that are associated with the entire process of studying or learning. The drug makes the brains more alert and awake by improving the secretion of certain neurotransmitters, boosting concentration and focus.
The drug also improves the speed at which our nerve fibers send electrical impulses, according to modafinil.org, which means that one who uses the drug can study longer and more efficiently.
One study, published in 2015 in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, has found that modafinil actually works for some people, improving their performance on long and complex tasks.
Co-author of the study Ruairidh McLennan Battleday, Ph.D. candidate, University of California, Berkeley, said, “This is the first overview of modafinil’s actions in non-sleep-deprived individuals since 2008, and so we were able to include a lot of recent data.”
He added, “The recent studies of the drug have used more-complex tests of cognition than those employed previously, and found that modafinil indeed enhances thinking,” according to Live Science.
Battleday explained that in particular, the drug affects the “higher-brain functions that rely on contribution from multiple simple cognitive processes.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved modafinil for the treatment of excessive sleepiness (ES) caused by narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea. However, off-label, many students have been taking the drug to do well in academics, raising ethical concerns.
Previous research has shown mixed results for the drug’s effects on healthy people with no ES.
The study researchers found that modafinil improved only certain features of cognition, such as executive function and decision-making ability. The drug also helped in boosting the ability to pay attention, learn and remember in some people.
Although the drug has been found good for studying, parents and students should seek medical advice before using any prescription drug, including modafinil or its close cousin armodafinil (Nuvigil).