Modafinil and Alcohol Interactions

Introduction

Modafinil is a drug used that promotes wakefulness. As such, it is often prescribed to individuals who suffer from sleep disorders such as extreme sleepiness and narcolepsy. Taking modafinil with other drugs must be done with the utmost caution and should only be done so under the supervision of a health professional. However, what about taking modafinil with certain foods? In particular, alcoholic beverages.

Taking modafinil with alcohol has shown a wide range of side effects. Further research is still being carried to this day to determine the exact effects of modafinil and alcohol. In this article, we will be discussing all the known facts of mixing modafinil and alcohol. What are the risks? Are there benefits to be had?

What is Modafinil?

As we have stated earlier, modafinil is a medication used in treating certain sleep disorders that cause the individual to experience extreme sleepiness or drowsiness. To those who are not familiar with this drug, it is easy to confuse it with other drugs’ structure. For example, modafinil provides virtually similar effects with stimulants such as amphetamines. However, modafinil is vastly different from amphetamine-based medications if you look closely, especially with its mechanism.

For example, modafinil stimulates the neurotransmitters – namely dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamates, serotonin, and GABA. Primarily, it is the dopamine neurotransmitter that gets the brunt of the effects of modafinil.

Keep in mind that modafinil can cause side effects. Some patients experience mild side effects, while others might incur more severe consequences. This is due to modafinil being able to trigger a level of histamine response from the body. Not all patients experience this, but it has proven to trigger reactions for some individuals so always follow instructions made by your doctor.

Side Effects of Modafinil

While relatively safe, modafinil is still known to cause some side effects. In some cases, the patients are discovered to be hypersensitive to modafinil. This leads to more severe side effects such as rashes and shortness of breath. If these side effects arise, it is best to discontinue the use of the drug to prevent further health issues.

As for common side effects related to modafinil, here is the list of commonly reported cases:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal Issues

How Modafinil Interacts with Alcohol

The shortest answer to this question is: No, you should not take modafinil with alcohol. While studies are still on-going, most experts recommend never to mix the two. There have been reports of individuals who experienced complete blackouts after taking modafinil and drinking alcohol soon after. There are also cases wherein taking modafinil boosted the individual’s tolerance to alcohol.

The thing to understand here is that modafinil and alcohol are two substances that cause complete opposite reactions to the brain. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that mixing two substances that deliver contradictory results will be counter-productive. Combining the two substances will be quite similar to turning on the air-conditioning and the heater at the same time.

To go into further detail, alcohol affects neurotransmitters differently – specifically GABA, which alcohol effects by increasing its activity. This is the complete opposite of what modafinil does to the neurotransmitters. Taking alcohol with modafinil is akin to initiating a tug of war in the brain. On one side, modafinil stimulates the brain to enhance focus and wakefulness. On the other end of the rope, alcohol reduces overall brain activity. As experts have pointed out, the effects of combining the two are utterly unpredictable, with side effects ranging from mild to severe.

Known Side Effects of Mixing Modafinil with Alcohol

Let us go into further detail as to the effects of mixing the two substances. As you will find out down below, reactions can range between mild to severe. Understanding this is crucial to help avoid health issues in the future. As you will find out, some of these side effects can be extremely dangerous and might even be fatal.

Delays the Negative Effects of Alcohol

One of the most common side effects of mixing modafinil and alcohol is with how the former dampens most of the adverse effects of getting drunk. This means that individuals will be able to feel the positive effects of alcohol without the downsides, yet. This is a detriment in the long run as the person will most likely overdrink, only to experience the kickback of getting drunk in one fell swoop later on.

Exponentially Makes Hangovers Worse

Modafinil can significantly increase and prolong the effects of a hangover. Some cases reported feeling sick for a couple of days after a night of heavy drinking while still under the effects of modafinil. For anyone who has experienced the head beating migraine caused by a hangover, take that and spread it through two to three days. Quite simply, one of the most valid points as to why you should never mix the two substances.

Ask any health professional, and all of them will warn you never to drink alcohol if you take modafinil. The side effects are simply unpredictable at this point, and it is better to be safe. Also, take note that modafinil has a considerably long half-life. If you take modafinil in the early morning, the effects of it will last throughout the day into the middle of the night – might even last past midnight.

Conclusion

Simply put, modafinil should never be taken along with alcohol as it can cause wildly different side effects. These side effects include delaying the alcohol’s effects which may lead to overdrinking, more prolonged hangovers, and even blackouts. Also, oxycodone and other opioids can trigger side effects. These side effects are similar to withdrawal symptoms when taken with modafinil.

Modafinil is a prescription drug, which means it is best to follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter when taking it. You should be not only aware of its harmful effects when combined with alcohol, but also other medications as well. Always inform your doctor during checkups about pre-existing health conditions to avoid health complications from developing in the future.

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