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Understanding Modafinil Hair Loss: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

Understanding Modafinil Hair Loss: Causes, Effects, and Solutions


While Modafinil is generally considered safe and effective for promoting wakefulness, some users have reported experiencing hair loss as a potential side effect. However, it is not a common side effect and may occur in 1% of users. 



Many individuals turn to Modafinil, a popular wakefulness-promoting medication, in the pursuit of enhanced cognitive function and heightened alertness. While recognized for its efficacy, Modafinil, like many pharmaceuticals, comes with potential side effects. One such concern that has gained attention among Modafinil users is hair loss.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the relationship between Modafinil use and hair loss, aiming to understand the underlying mechanisms and preventive measures.  


Understanding Modafinil 

Modafinil is a novel wake-promoting agent approved to treat excessive daytime sleepiness associated with Narcolepsy, Obstructive sleep apnea, and Shift work sleep disorder. It works within 30 minutes of intake, with its efficacy lasting up to 12 hours. 

Modafinil is a Schedule IV controlled substance, as stated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and was approved by the FDA in 1998. 

The off-label use of Modafinil includes cognitive enhancement, which improves the user's memory, concentration, and attention span. 


Hair Loss: A Side Effect Of Modafinil 

To understand Modafinil-associated hair loss, you should first know the key reasons behind normal hair fall. Research from Harvard Medical School contributes several factors to hair thinning -

  • Health issues such as vitamin deficiency, thyroid disorder, and hormonal imbalance may contribute to causing hair loss.

  • Blood thinners, cancer treatments, and amphetamines can result in alopecia (the medical term for hair loss).


Factors Contributing To Modafinil-Induced Hair Loss

Even with increasing queries on “Modafinil hair loss,” there are limited research papers or studies on the topic. This suggests that very few aspects of Modafinil’s activity are connected to hair loss. 

The possible factors contributing to Modafinil-induced hair loss are listed below. 

Stress Factor-

Most Modafinil users work in a high-stress environment and require Nootropics for a higher level of focus and productivity. 

Stress is a common contributor to hair loss. Alopecia areata is a stress-induced hair loss. In such conditions, the hair falls out within a week. However, it can improve with proper care and medication [3]. 

Association With Narcolepsy-

Another reason Modafinil use is considered a cause of hair loss is its association with Narcolepsy. Alopecia areata was first associated with Narcolepsy in 1992. Since Modafinil is often prescribed for excessive daytime sleepiness associated with Narcolepsy, people assume their hair loss is related to Modafinil intake. 

Loss Of Appetite- 

One side effect of Modafinil is loss of appetite, which can cause vitamin and mineral deficiency in the body. Research shows that a lack of Vitamin D in the diet can cause hair loss. Vitamin D is essential for stimulating the old and new hair follicles. 

Increase in Neurotransmitters-

Modafinil increases the levels of several neurotransmitters like dopamine, histamine, orexin, and serotonin, enhancing communication between nerve cells. While this boosts the drug's therapeutic effects, excess dopamine and histamine may lead to unintended consequences, such as hair loss. 

Excessive dopamine can disrupt hormonal balance and hair follicle function, while heightened histamine levels may interfere with normal follicle function, potentially causing hair loss.


Clinical Studies On Modafinil And Hair Loss

A Phase IV clinical study of the FDA published by eHealthMe found that 258 out of 18,537 patients experienced hair loss from taking Modafinil (1.39%). It has been reported that hair loss is more common among people between the age group of 50-59 years and who have been taking the drug for 6–12 years. 

The graph below represents the number of Modafinil-associated hair loss between the year 1997 to 2021. 




Drug Informer, a platform for the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, claims that about 89 official FDA reports have been submitted for hair loss by Modafinil. 


Recognizing The Signs Of Hair Loss Caused By Modafinil

Common signs of hair loss caused by Modafinil include-

  • You may notice more hair fall than usual, either during washing, brushing, or throughout the day.

  • Hair may appear visibly thinner, especially around the crown (top portion of the head).

  • Men may notice their hairline receding at the temples (area between the forehead and the ear).

  • Some individuals may develop bald patches.

  • Hair may become dry, brittle, or lose its natural luster.


Strategies And Treatment Options

Some preventive measures and treatment options to minimize the risk of hair loss from Modafinil are listed below. 

Lower Your Modafinil Dosage-

Most Modafinil users notice hair falls when using higher dosages and for a long period. So, if hair loss is a concern, here are some dosing recommendations.

  • Discontinue the intake after 2 to 3 weeks of continuous use. 

  • Take the medication once daily. 

  • Do not get Modafinil if you have hyper or hypothyroidism without consulting a doctor.

Optimize Your Sleep Quality-

Sleep does not directly contribute to hair loss but can elevate your anxiety issues, thus causing stress. To optimize your sleep with Modafinil, it is best to take the dose in the morning. Taking the Nootropic later in the day can affect your sleep cycle. 

Also, refrain from taking excessive caffeine with Modafinil unless you want to pull an all-nighter. 

Use Hair Loss Supplements-

Using hair supplements can help combat hair loss caused by Modafinil. Hair supplements that can help improve hair loss include Rogaine Foam and Biotin. 


Our Final Verdict

Modafinil-induced hair loss is a rare phenomenon that occurs in a small percentage of users, with limited scientific evidence directly linking Modafinil to hair loss. However, it is essential to note that individual reactions to medications can vary widely, and while some people may experience hair loss, others may not.

If you suspect that Modafinil is causing hair loss, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional.


Excessive use of any medication can result in hair fall. However, the prominent drugs thought to cause hair loss are Antidepressants, Cholesterol-lowering drugs, Birth control pills, Acne medications containing vitamin A, Anti-clotting drugs, Adderall, etc.

The side effects of Modafinil include Nausea, Dizziness, Vomiting, Thirst, Frequent urination, Tarry stool, Blurry vision, Drowsiness, Agitation, Palpitation, etc.

Modafinil may increase the level of histamine in the body, which may play a key role in hair loss. But there are no definitive scientific evidence and studies to evaluate the potency of Modafinil hair loss in people.

Drug-induced hair loss can be reversed by discontinuing the treatment. The severity of alopecia depends on the drug and predisposition in the individual. People can take Rogaine or Minoxidil to see hair growth in 3 to 6 months of usage.

Armodafinil is enantiopure of eugeroic Modafinil while making it possible for people to experience hair loss from Armodafinil dosage.

Long-term use of Modafinil may cause dependency and addiction. The prolonged sleepiness induces stress responses and impairs the immune response. Users reviews indicate Long-term use of Modafinil can cause hair loss in people.

Sudden hair loss may stem from several factors. It can be due to hormonal changes, aging, medical condition, or even hereditarily. Other possible causes of hair fall can be poor diet and stress. Everyone experiences hair loss; however, it is more common in men. In general, most people lose 50 to 100 hairs per day.

Nuvigil is the brand name of Armodafinil which is an enantiopure of Modafinil. Thus, there is a subtle risk of facing Nuvigil hair loss from long-term use of the Nootropic.


  1. Can I use modafinil and finasteride at the same time? realself. 

  2. Modafinil Related Alopecia, druginformer

  3. The Link Between Stress and Hair Loss, verywellmind.

  4. Can Modafinil cause hair loss or hair thinning? Healthtap. 

  5. Modafinil and Hair loss - a phase IV clinical study of FDA data, ehealthme. 

  6. A study for a 34-year-old woman who takes Modafinil, ehealthme.