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Can You Lose Weight With Modafinil?

Executive Summary

  • Multiple scientific studies have found a relationship between Modafinil and weight loss. The proposed mechanism is that modafinil, being a weak dopamine reuptake inhibitor, increases the dopamine levels in the brain.
  • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that influences our sense of pleasure. Food that is rich in sugar, salt, or fat causes a surge in dopamine levels in the reward area of the brain that leads to increased pleasure sensation and subsequently potential food addiction followed by weight gain.
  • Modafinil users have elevated levels of dopamine so they experience no surge of dopamine, no pleasure sensation, and thus a better self-control on food intake. This leads to less dietary intake due to reduced feeling of hunger and ultimately weight loss.


Modafinil belongs to a family of drugs known as wakefulness-promoting agents. This drug promotes vigilance and boosts energy levels. It is approved for sleep disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea, and sleep deprivation.

There is growing evidence that modafinil could help overweight people lose weight. This process results from releasing dopamine that can reduce appetite and support healthy weight gain. Many studies are currently investigating the link between modafinil and a reduction in food intake.

In this article, we will demonstrate how modafinil could be associated with weight change.

Modafinil Effects

Modafinil has been shown to increase dopamine levels. It functions as an unusual, selective, and weak dopamine reuptake inhibitor, as well as an indirect activator of the production of orexin neuropeptides and histamine, leading to increased arousal.

It is a non-amphetamine central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that promotes wakefulness. Many people noticed that this smart drug boosted their levels of energy and improved their cognitive functions. When cognition is improved, many people tend to make smart decisions regarding eating healthy, exercising, and lifestyle.

Modafinil, sold under the trade name Provigil among others, enhances alertness and treats narcolepsy, which is a shift work disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. Because Provigil increases cognition and brain activity, it leads to increased self-control and awareness. In a randomized controlled trial (RCT) published in the Annals of Surgery journal, doctors who took modafinil after a sleepless night did better on cognitive tests than the placebo group, with no improvement in their clinical psychomotor performance.

Is it possible to lose weight while taking modafinil?

Dopamine is classified as a neurotransmitter. It is produced by your body and is used by your neurological system to deliver messages between nerve cells. That is why it is sometimes referred to as a chemical messenger. Dopamine is a key factor that influences how we experience pleasure and gives a motivation boost to accomplish tasks. We experience a powerful surge of dopamine in the pleasure or reward area of the brain when we consume food.

The good thing about modafinil is that this drug raises levels of dopamine. People who have low dopamine tend to feel hungry and they are more inclined to overeat impulsively and consume excess energy, so food addiction is often correlated with low dopamine levels. Modafinil boost dopamine levels to induce a “rewarded” feeling in people, decreases their urge for rewards such as food. Therefore, modafinil can help food addicts lose weight. Several studies showed that modafinil users experienced significantly reduced hunger and food intake.

Obesity therapy is a recent topic of focus in terms of modafinil’s medicinal potential. Modafinil has been demonstrated to boost serotonin turnover in various brain areas, including the frontal cortex, amygdala, and dorsal raphe, in addition to elevating dopamine levels. These neurochemical responses are compatible with the effects of numerous obesity-treatment drugs. A variety of risk factors contribute to obesity. In a study publishes in Psychiatry Investigation, obesity has been connected to behavioral disorders such as depression. Many food addicts or obese people are physiologically hooked on foods rich in fat and sugar.

According to research published in lancet, obese and food addicts suffer from type 2 dopamine receptors, which diminishes their sense of reward and pleasure. This means food addicts must eat to have the same level of satisfaction. As a result, modafinil reduces impulsiveness and thus food addiction.

Modafinil, like amphetamine, lowered food intake and decreased energy intake without changing the percentage of macronutrients ingested, resulting in significant weight loss. Modafinil might help food addicts lose weight by increasing dopamine levels and decreasing food intake. People with low dopamine levels tend to gain weight. By increasing dopamine, a person can easily lose weight by feeling satiated without actual food intake.

Is there scientific proof that modafinil reduces food intake?

In a study published by the Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior Journal, the researchers found that modafinil decreases food consumption similar to d-amphetamine. During the study, a broad variety of foods and drinks were freely accessible. Volunteers received an oral modafinil dosage one hour after awakening for three consecutive days under two shift conditions: day shift and night shift.

The two doses of a drug called modafinil (200 and 400 mg) reduced total caloric consumption by 18% and 38%, respectively, independent of the shift situation, without affecting the percentage of total calories obtained from carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Both active dosages considerably reduced food cravings and make participants consume fewer calories.

Modafinil reduced the frequency of eating occasions, which may have contributed significantly to the reported effects on overall calorie intake. The experimental research suggests that repeated doses of modafinil reduced overall calorie intake and sense of hunger in human volunteers living in a domestic environment that mimics natural ecology. It indicates that this drug promotes weight loss and could help food addicts lose body fat.

Clozapine, an atypical antipsychotic drug, has fewer extrapyramidal adverse effects and is recommended for those with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Weight increase is one of the most concerning side effects of clozapine. In a study published by the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry Journal, a case of modafinil-associated weight loss was reported in a clozapine-treated man with schizoaffective disorder.

He lost 40 pounds of body weight and had a 5.08 kg/m2 decrease in body mass index, supporting modafinil weight loss. His weight was maintained at 230 pounds after three years on the combination of clozapine and modafinil. A 30-pound weight increase was observed over 6 months following the discontinuation of modafinil. The reintroduction of modafinil resulted in a 10-pound weight loss during a 6-week timeframe, confirming modafinil-associated weight loss. He also experienced a significant boost in his sleepiness and sedation while taking the combination of modafinil and clozapine. Modafinil may help people on antipsychotics in weight loss.

In another study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal, researchers found that modafinil could help food addicts lose weight. The researchers ran a series of experiments on 60 healthy individuals that were males, aged 19 to 32, with 20 receiving a placebo, 20 receiving Atomoxetine, and 20 receiving Modafinil. The tests found that individuals who had taken modafinil were much less impulsive, but atomoxetine had no effect as compared to the placebo group.


Modafinil has been shown to provide a variety of cognitive effects, including enhanced attention, increased energy, and sustained concentration for several hours. This drug improves self-control and is also used for sleeping disorders. Modafinil is intended to suppress your appetite and help you lose weight while promoting healthy weight gain. This drug can improve cognitive function and offer people greater control, allowing food addicts to lose weight and therefore improve the quality of their health.


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