It can make you as focused as you’ve ever been, improve your memory, and repress your need for sleep. It’s the real life Limitless pill that is gaining popularity worldwide as people in high pressure industries and students try to meet deadlines and expectations.
In the movie, Eddie’s (Bradley Cooper) life is a disaster until he is introduced to the drug NZT-48 which allows him to use 100%of his mind and turn his life around. It’s a fiction story but ‘lifehackers’ have found the equivalent in the drug Modafinil.
Modafinil is medication used to treat sleeping disorders like narcolepsy. In Australia it’s sold as Modavigil and is only available from a prescription. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) warns against taking the medication for anything other than its intended uses because there is “definitely a risk” says AMA NSW medical director Dr Robyn Napier.
There hasn’t been much scientific research into the long term effects on healthy brains but common side effects, even for legitimate users, can include headaches, anxiety and agitation as well as some concern regarding liver failure and the possibility it can worsen pre existing psychiatric disorders.
Then there are the medications that it can interact with – everything from anticoagulants and antidepressants to the contraceptive pill.
Dr Napier stresses that it is not a smart drug.
“Nothing makes you ‘smarter’. It is a stimulant, so what it might do is heighten wakefulness,” she says.
A quick Google and you will find thousands of testimonials from people who believe it has changed their life for the better alongside warnings and people claiming the exact opposite.
On the blog The Bullet Proof Executive, Dave Asprey posted Why You Are Suffering from a Modafinil Deficiency and runs through how his life improved, especially with personal breakthroughs, after starting on the medication. He says that taking the pill every day most days from 2001 to 2009 was an “enormous boost for my career and even my family.”
After reading the article it would be easy to be convinced that Modafinil is the answer to all your problems. Until you get to the comments.
There are over 100 comments with people spouting similar stories to the Asprey but there are just as many citing issues they have had and warnings from their health professionals when getting their prescriptions.
A commenter under the name ‘drows’ said they take Modafinil for narcolepsy and has experienced none of the effects cited in the blog, instead experiencing negative effects as a result of other medication for eczema.
You may be wondering how so many people are able to access Modafinil if it is a prescription drug and the answer is online. Regardless of the medication itself, buying online is seriously unreliable as you can never be sure what you are getting.
While it may sound appealing, there are still so many questions about how it works and potential side effects that you would be taking a huge risk taking Modafinil without consulting a doctor.
AMA Australian Medical Association President, Dr Steve Hambleton stresses the importance of getting a good nights sleep, eating well, and exercising.
“If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.”