You may have tried modafinil or any variants such as armodafinil or adrafinil, and noticed little or no change. Are you a modafinil non-responder? Did you get fake pills? Maybe you read too much hype and had higher expectations than reasonable. There are many reasons for which one may underperform on modafinil or experience no effect in cognition, alertness or general performance. Lets explore some reasons which might explain why.
Make no mistake bad batches happen. These happen when genuine manufacturers such as HAB Pharmaceuticals fail to distribute active ingredients in their pills. In such cases the pills are mostly full of harmless binder such as calcium carbinate, lactose and starch. According to vendor Modafinilcat – bad batches occur 0.04% of the time – an incredibly low statistic!. There was a recent bad-batch scare in /r/modafinilcat. While proven incorrect it prompted re-examination into the idea of bad batches and more importantly the truth of non responders.
Many people don’t know how modafinil is supposed to feel, this makes it very easy for someone to misinterpret the drug thus more prone to believing it isnt working for them. Modafinil has a limited effect in healthy individuals just like creatine has no effect on people who eat meat regularly. On top of this limited effect there is variability of effect depending on dosage, body-weight and genetics. There are a few main categories non-responders fall under:
- truly non responsive due to physiological properties of the person
- works but ineffectively due to the biology of the person
- judged as working but ineffectively due to the wrong expectations of the person.
There can also be combinations of these categorical problems.
Modafinil in healthy individuals
A study led by Dr. Ahmed Dahir Mohamed from the University of Nottingham came to the conclusion that modafinil does not make people more intelligent and it may even impair overall performance during complex tasks which require more than simply brute focus. These results came completely contrary to their expectations which were that modafinil is an effective cognitive enhancer. A quote by Dr. Dahir summarises perfectly that modafinil is only effective in deficient individuals:
“It looks like modafinil is not helpful for healthy individuals and it might even impair their ability to respond and might stifle their lateral thinking, while people who have some sort of deficiency in creativity are helped by the drug.”
SNP (RS4680) and modafinil
A study on modafinil usage in sleep deprived individuals has stated that modafinil greatly improves alertness in sleep deprived subjects of a G/G (or val/val) genotype of SNP RS4680 and that in A/A (or met/met) individuals it is hardly effective at all. While this study was solely focused on sleep recovery it does have larger implications in the nootropics community because the mechanism of action in which these SNP variants make someone modafinil-ineffective is by degrading dopamine.
People of an A/G genotype are in the middle of A/A (non responsive) and G/G (incredibly responsive) and if the hypothesis is true then individuals who are of A/G will have a not-completely impaired response from modafinil. The results from the study are received with mixed feelings from the nootropics community because there are a handful of individuals reporting non-response while being A/G and G/G while some A/A individuals are reporting responsiveness. While this could be down to many factors (placebo, bad pills, variance in evaluation) the dominating factor of ineffectiveness is the fact that SNP data is well known to be wrong, and that services such as 23andme frequently warn and disclaim that the services provided are not medical tools or tools of precision. In addition the paper detailed experiments involving a small test size (23 people) – and the experiment has not yet been repeated. One single paper does not make a scientific conclusion – many do.
What should modafinil feel like?
With the understanding that modafinil usage in healthy individuals isnt going to be some kind of drug which turns you into an adderalled’ Jesus – it becomes necessary to verify the levels at which modafinil is going to influence the biology of a healthy person, here is what you should expect:
Do you feel more talkative? Feel like spending more time on a task? Cleaning up obsessively? If so the pills are definitely working. Modafinil tolerance goes up FAST. If you have taken modafinil for many days in a row then up your dose each time (not exceeding 400mg daily) until you feel effects! Side effects can DROWN OUT the positive effects such as alertness and cognitive enhancement. Side effects like headaches, dehydration, grinding teeth. Remedy these side effects by staying hydrated, moving around every once in a while and taking rest from your tasks.
One of the simplest steps anyone should take to ensuring they respond properly to medication is by purchasing modafinil from a reputable source. If you dont want fake pills then dont buy from a dodgy place. Please send us your experiences with modafinil by using the contact form!