Modafinil Mechanism of Action. How Long Does Modafinil Last?

Last Updated: October 12, 2021

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Modafinil’s mechanism of action cannot be over-emphasized as recent studies prove how this medication aids the treatment of excessive sleep disorder caused by some medical conditions, including sleep work disorder, narcolepsy, and obstructive sleep apnea. This article will explain more about the duration of this substance in the body system and how to remove it from the system safely.

Provigil is classified under schedule IV drug and has some specific therapeutic effects with a low rate of physical addiction. The clinical study on this medicine has been approved for the treatment of idiopathic hypersomnia, shift work sleep disorder, narcolepsy, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

This medicine excels in this use due to the few short-term side effects and activity consciousness in the brain. A dose of this drug helps in promoting a person’s focus on a task or activity for a more extended period. These results make it more attractive to individuals who need treatment with an excessive sleep disorder, improve their performance and stamina, including amateur athletes, students who study late hours, and shift workers. Other similar medicines like Nuvigil and Provigil radiate the same clinical effects in the human body and still differ in side effects.

The Modafinil mechanism of action acts as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. The effects of this dopamine lead to stimulation of the human brain and help individuals not sleep off quickly, remain mentally alert, and maintain good focus.

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The Cognitive Effects of Modafinil

While the Modafinil mechanism of action suggests increasing wakefulness and reducing sleep, there are more studies to consider. Individuals promoting the effects of Modafinil regularly excite it due to the increase in dopamine and the clinical health benefits. Recent studies state that the effects of modafinil can improve: pattern recognition, memory, planning, problem-solving.

The above cognitive functions are essential for individuals working in technology companies. For people who study software engineering and programming, there is a need to maintain focus in any activity, and increasing the ability to cater to problems is an excellent way to produce more quality work. This alone will make the brain more productive.

Clinical studies state how the effect of Modafinil moa can add to an individual’s mood. Experts are considering it to be a potential medication for seasonal affective sleep disorder and depression. This benefit of taking a dose of Modafinil is to help people who work long night shifts, study for school exams. By indulging in stressful work, the brain gets a tired giving room for effects like narcolepsy. The rate at which this substance helps increase wakefulness and lifting low moods is brilliant for overworked employees. This is specifically for employees in clinical wards who may need a mental boost of the brain to maintain focus on any activity or task.

What is Provigil Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized medications like Provigil for the treatment of health conditions.

Some of the Approved Uses of Provigil are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Shift work sleep disorder
  • Narcolepsy
Man is Suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Modafinil Half-Life

A recent case study of Modafinil half-life indicates that a dose lasts between 10 and 12 hours for most patients. Provigil is primarily eliminated via metabolism, mainly in the liver, with subsequent excretion in the urine. Some studies state that quite a few numbers may experience Modafinil half-life up to 15 hours.

What is Modafinil Pharmacology?

Clinical studies on modafinil’s mechanism of action show that the medicine acts as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor in the brain. Upon intake, the brain experiences an increase in dopamine. The effect leads to the transmission of signals to nerve cells which fights against narcolepsy by reducing daytime drowsiness and improving wakefulness.

Modafinil moa does some wake-promoting actions which are similar to sympathomimetic agents. This includes methylphenidate and amphetamine.

Absorption

The absorption process occurs during oral administration, with peak plasma concentrations within 2 – 4 hours. The bioavailability of Provigil tablets is almost equal to an aqueous suspension. It is known that food won’t have any effect on overall bioavailability. However, time to reach the peak concentration activity level may sometimes be delayed by an hour or more and this may depend on the individual’s dopamine level in the brain.

Volume Of Distribution

As regards administration, keep in mind that this medication has a probable volume of distribution of about 0.9 l/kg. In vitro, the administration is averagely bound to plasma protein which is approximately 60%. The potential for Provigil interactions with protein-bound medications is considered essential, and this explains the low risk of interaction with solidly bound medications.

Biotransformation

This substance orally is biotransformed into the liver, which goes to the inactive metabolites before being removed in the urine.

Route Of Elimination

The primary route of elimination is metabolism which is about 90%, majorly by the liver, using renal elimination treatment of the different metabolites. Urine alkalinization does not have any effect on the elimination of the medicine.

Regarding the use of this drug on elderly and pediatric patients, their ages play a crucial role in the administration of this substance.

Elderly Population

In the elderly population, the elimination of this drug and all its metabolites may sometimes be reduced due to the effects of aging. When taking care of this population, consideration should be given to the lower use of any dose.

Pediatric Population

Safety and positive effect in the pediatric population below the age of 17 have not been established. However, severe skin rashes have been associated with Provigil use in pediatric patients.

Provigil as a medication is not a direct or indirect-acting dopamine receptor agonist. Although in vitro, it joins the dopamine transporter and suppresses dopamine reuptake.

How Long Does the Drug Stay in Your System?

The big question asked today centers on how long does modafinil stay in the system? Even though many people today may be interested in taking a dose of this drug, getting information or study materials on how long does modafinil last is essential.

Compared with other medications, a dose can last between 16 to 22 hours in the system. This may vary depending on the level of dopamine, genetic factors, and other things taken along with the substance. A person asking how long the drug may last should note that Modafinil duration depends on some vital considerations – which centers on the fact that individuals are unique.

As mentioned earlier, while the outcome usually disappears after about 16 – 22 hours, the user should know that it can also stay in the system for up to 4 days.

In conclusion, understanding the above question of how long modafinil lasts in the system gives an individual a glimpse of the actual mechanism of this substance to the brain.

How Long Does the Substance Stay in the Blood

Remember that while the substance may stay in the system for a few days, its effects vary and will not last for the same period.

If an individual checks the graph on the drug’s concentration in the blood, the user will notice that it stays within an estimated period of 1 to 2 hours, although more research is still being carried out to prove this.

How Long Does the Substance Stay in the Saliva

The substance is not likely to appear in a drug test except when the test was specifically designed for that purpose. It is improbable modafinil will make it to the list, unlike other substances like opioids and amphetamines which have different treatment mechanisms.

How Long Does the Medicine Stay in the Hair

Modafinil is not considered a problem in the workforce, so individuals can expect their drug test to be for other substances. Although the half-life may be between 12 to 15 hours, there is still ongoing research on how long the modafinil may stay in the hair.

How Long Does the Drug Stay in the Urine

Most times, the medicine is excreted as one of two primary circulating metabolites. Provigil and all its metabolites may be present at different clinical levels, majorly in the urine for up to 30 hours on average after ingestion. As with other substances, the specific time in one’s system at detectable levels will include age, weight, size, and other factors.

Modafinil Drug Test

In the past, there have been different assumptions on the modafinil drug test. The question many individuals ask centers on the topic: does modafinil show up on a drug test? Well, for most drug tests taken by people, the blunt answer is no. It is a known fact that the substance may be found in the blood and urine, but an employment test will not include screening for this medicine.

Remember that during a modafinil drug test, the drug screening searches for other substances.

Even when conducting a urine test, it is rare for this substance to be found. While it is referred to as a stimulant, the substance make-up and treatment are different from others. People should not fear screening for modafinil drug tests.

Take, for example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association report on the list of stimulants prohibited during sports. Modafinil was listed among other stimulants. It is vital to discuss with the coach if a person is taking Provigil for a medical condition.

Drug Test Result Form

How to Remove Provigil From the System Safely

This medication is taken to increase wakefulness in persons diagnosed with certain sleep disorders such as shift work disorder, narcolepsy, and obstructive sleep apnea. Modafinil moa interacts with the cycle of an individual and improves the person’s wakefulness.

One should put a stop to the treatment when there is an intention to detox from the medication. It is essential to discuss with a clinical care expert before adjusting daily dose and treatment. To remove the substance safely from the system, an individual may need to reduce the intake of the substance for a specific time. This will give room for the body to adjust to less medication.

Removing this substance safely from the body may come with some withdrawal symptoms which may affect the brain. Some patients may become more quickly tired than usual once treatment is stopped.

Other Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleep disorder
  • Poorer concentration

Patients who experience withdrawal effects shouldn’t expect the same symptoms. While some may experience sleep disorders, others may feel fatigued. This is due to different human activities and physiology. Numerous factors amount to modafinil duration in the human system. They include organ function, metabolism, age, dosage level.

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Page Sources

  1. Gerrard, P., & Malcolm, R. (2007, June). Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/
  2. PROVIGIL® (modafinil) Tablets. https://www.fda.gov/media/79539/download
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Modafinil: Medlineplus drug information. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a602016.html
  4. Rules - 1999. 1999 - Placement of Modafinil Into Schedule IV. (n.d.). https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/1999/fr0127.htm
  5. Gerrard, P., & Malcolm, R. (2007, June). Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654794/
  6. Corporate Author National Collegiate Athletic Assoc (NCAA) Address 700 W. Washington Street. (n.d.). NCAA (National Collegiate ATHLETIC association) banned the DRUGS reference list. NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Banned Drugs Reference List | Office of Justice Programs. https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/ncaa-national-collegiate-athletic-association-banned-drugs

Published on: September 29th, 2021

Updated on: October 12th, 2021

About Author

Roger Weiss, MD

Dr. Roger Weiss is a practicing mental health specialist at the hospital. Dr. Weiss combines his clinical practice and medical writing career since 2009. Apart from these activities, Dr. Weiss also delivers lectures for youth, former addicts, and everyone interested in topics such as substance abuse and treatment.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.