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Modafinil's Impact On The Heart: Exploring Risks

Modafinil's Impact On The Heart: Exploring Risks


Modafinil's effects on the heart can lead to symptoms like chest pain, faster heartbeat or palpitations, breathing issues, and ischemic EkG changes, a condition where the heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood.

Not everyone taking Modafinil experience heart disorder. It is considered safe for healthy people. 



“Is Modafinil Bad for Your Heart?” is an essential question that patients should take into consideration before taking Modafinil dosage. 

Modafinil is a brain stimulant that the FDA approves for treating excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). In addition to its clinical benefits, it is also used off-label for improving the brain's cognitive functioning. 

As the popularity of this Nootropic soared, questions regarding its safety, particularly the heart, became increasingly important.


Cardiovascular Impact of Modafinil 

Modafinil causes autonomic cardiovascular regulation by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure. 

Researcher Dilan Canyurt, in his paper, indicates that the cardiovascular side effects of Modafinil include dyspnea (difficulty breathing), tachycardia (heart rate over 100 beats a minute), ischemic T-wave changes (a condition where the heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood), and hypertension. 

Cardiac symptoms in adults taking Modafinil include Myocardial infarction (a condition where the heart does not get oxygen), stroke, fainting, and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), according to an article by Drugs. 

A study by Deniz Mutlu et al. states that regular doses of Modafinil are reported to cause premature ventricular contractions (PVC), a condition where extra heartbeats begin in one of the heart's two lower pumping chambers (ventricles) [1]. 



User Testimony- 

A discussion on the social site Reddit suggests the effect of Modafinil on the heart. A Reddit user (Mccot70) states, "Modafinil significantly increased heart rate and systolic blood pressure.
I'm a runner, and during my extensive workouts on Modafinil, my heart rate is 170-180 beats per minute (bpm); without Modafinil, it's 150 bpm [2]." 



The cardiovascular effect of Modafinil can be determined by the Modafinil dosage administered. 

Overdosing on Modafinil can cause cardiovascular side effects, including tachycardia (faster heartbeat), chest pain, and hypertension [1]. Taking a dosage over 400 mg per day is reported to significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular and central nervous system-associated side effects. 


How does Modafinil Affect the Heart?

Modafinil can affect the heart in the following ways-

Physiological factor- 

Modafinil increases the secretion of serotonin in the body, according to a study by Paul Gerrard et al. [3]. 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can adversely affect the heart's mitral valve, resulting in a heart condition known as degenerative mitral regurgitation. It can increase heart rate and have several effects on the vascular wall of the heart. 

At higher levels, it can cause irregular heartbeat, seizures, and unconsciousness. 

Adrenergic Activation Caused By Modafinil

In a study by the National Institute of Health, the impact of Modafinil on blood pressure and heart rate was linked to the adrenergic activation caused by Modafinil. 

In simple words, Modafinil increases the activity of a brain chemical named adrenaline (also known as epinephrine). This further increases the patient's blood pressure and heart rate. 


On the other hand, Modafinil can also cause vasoconstriction and narrowing of the blood vessels, which can increase the workload of the heart. 


Who Are At Risk?

People who are more vulnerable to suffering a heart disorder from taking Modafinil dosage are listed below-

  • Individuals with left ventricular hypertrophy, a condition that causes thickening of the wall of the heart.

  • Hypertension

  • Severe coronary artery disease, a condition that narrows the arteries of the heart

  • Structural heart abnormalities

  • Unstable angina or chest pain occuring due to reduced blood flow to the heart. 


Can Modafinil Cause Heart Attack? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, Modafinil can cause health attacks, especially in patients with a history of cardiac disorder and in cases of overdosing. 

The symptoms of a heart attack include-

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Cold sweat

  • Discomfort that spreads to the shoulder, arm, back, neck, and jaw. 

  • Chest pain 

  • Lightheadedness 

  • Heartburn 

  • Shortness of breath


Modafinil's Heart Impact: Scientific Insights

Modafinil has a lower effect on the cardiovascular system compared to traditional stimulants such as amphetamine, according to a study by Deniz Mutlu et al. 

In a case study, a 23-year-old female was admitted to the cardiology department due to recurrent palpitations after taking Modafinil 100 mg dosage [1]. 

A phase IV clinical study on the effect of Modafinil on the heart states that about 0.47% of people taking Modafinil suffer from the cardiac disorder. The graph below from the same study indicates the potential increase in people experiencing heart issues from Modafinil over the years [4]. 




On the contrary, a study by Sackner-Bernstein Jonathan et al. concludes that the use of Modafinil tablets is not associated with relevant changes in the blood pressure or heart rate in patients with excessive sleepiness associated with shift work sleep disorder, Narcolepsy, and Obstructive sleep apnea [5]. The same findings were further confirmed in a study by Thomas Roth et al., which also indicates that Modafinil does not elevate mean blood pressure or heart rate in patients [6]. 


Modafinil And Heart: Risk Reduction Tips

One can reduce the cardiovascular risks of Modafinil by following the tips mentioned down below. 

  • Before prescribing Modafinil dosage, a careful assessment of the cardiovascular status must be done, including their family history. 

  • The use of Modafinil should be avoided in patients with structural cardiac abnormalities, serious cardiac arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, and coronary artery disease. 

  • Consult a doctor immediately if you notice an irregular heartbeat, chest pain, mood swings, and agitation after administering Modafinil dosage.

  • Take the Nootropic as prescribed, as overdosing on the Nootropic can increase the risk of experiencing side effects.


Is Modafinil Bad For Your Heart- Our Final Thoughts

Modafinil can cause chest pain, irregular heartbeat or palpitation, and high blood pressure. In severe cases, its usage may result in a heart attack. Although rare, heart risks associated with Modafinil can still occur. 

It is crucial to note that not everyone taking Modafinil is at risk of experiencing cardiovascular side effects. People taking Modafinil dosage without a history of any previous heart problems are not at high risk for heart problems related to Modafinil. 

Modafinil heart rate, chest pain, and cardiac arrest are not commonly a topic of concern for healthy adults under 45. 


The risk of heart failure is lower with Modafinil. However, monitoring such users' heart rates and blood pressure is essential.

No, using Modafinil is considered safe for the heart and, therefore, should be taken after consulting a doctor by patients with existing cardiac disorders. Its use is, however, considered safe by normal healthy individuals.

Yes, the use of Modafinil tablets can cause heart palpitation.

Using Modafinil in heart patients can worsen their existing condition. Thus, such people should take the Nootropic after consulting a doctor.

No, the use of Modafinil is not recommended for people with a heart condition such as left ventricular hypertrophy or ischemic ECG changes, arrhythmia, and chest pain.


  1. Modafinil-induced ventricular arrhythmia: A case report, PubMed. 

  2. Does Modafinil affect the heart, Reddit. 

  3. Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research, NCBI. 

  4. Could Modafinil cause Cardiac disorder? ehealthme.

  5. Cardiovascular Profile of Modafinil: Effects on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate, journal.chestnet.org. 

  6. Evaluation of the Safety of Modafinil for Treatment of Excessive Sleepiness, jcsm.aasm.org.