Modafinil – A memory and decision-making ability enhancing drug


Researchers have found that modafinil can improve much anticipated cognitive performances such as some aspects of memory, planning and decision making.

This research has been published online in the journal Neuropharmacology.

Modafinil is a medicine that is helpful in achieving wakefulness or to treat excessive sleepiness caused by sleep apnea, narcolepsy or shift work sleep disorder. It has also been found to work effectively in improving the performance of patients with attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia. The mechanism through which the modafinil induces its action still needs further work.

In the recent study, researchers worked on the effect of modafinil on sixty four non-sleep deprived healthy volunteers in the age range of 19-36 years. They divided the volunteers into two equal groups and gave 200 mg of modafinil to one group and placebo to the other group.

Researchers found that the volunteers, who took modafinil, enjoyed thinking related tasks more than the other group. They found that the performance of the volunteers, who took modafinil, increased on several cognitive tests of planning and working memory.

So, this research and the other related researches showed that modafinil can improve alertness, motivation and thereby some aspects of memory and problem solving and “thus potentially reduce apathy and improve functional outcome and adherence to treatment in neuropsychiatric disorders such as substance abuse, depression and schizophrenia.”

However, researchers have not found significant improvements in mood and creative thinking after taking modafinil.

Among the psychological side effects of the drug are hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior, depression, anxiety and aggression.


Müller, U., Rowe, J., Rittman, T., Lewis, C., Robbins, T., & Sahakian, B. (2013). Effects of modafinil on non-verbal cognition, task enjoyment and creative thinking in healthy volunteers Neuropharmacology, 64, 490-495 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.07.009

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