The drugs don’t work, they just make you worse: Study drug modafinil DOESN’T help, say scientists

You’re all screwed

Smart drugs like Modafinil won’t help you improve your marks and could be harming your performance, scientists say.

Psychologists say the pill – which many users claim improves your concentration for long periods – has negative effects on healthy people by slowing down their reaction times.

A Tab survey previously revealed one in five students had taken the pill – with a fifth of users taking the drug every day.


But Dr Ahmed Dahir Mohamed, at the University of Nottingham, has dashed the hopes of anyone looking to boost their concentration during deadline season.

Dr Mohamed said: “We looked at how the drug acted when you are required to respond accurately and in a timely manner. Our findings were completely opposite to the results we expected.”

Scientists gave 32 respondents Modafinil and asked them to perform a simple cognitive task.

A previous study by Dr Mohamed showed Modafinil impaired a student’s ability to think outside the box.

Dr Mohamed said: “Our research showed that when a task required instant reactions the drug just increased reaction times with no improvement to cognitive performance.

“It looks like Modafinil is not helpful for healthy individuals and it might even impair their ability to respond and might stifle their lateral thinking, while people who have some sort of deficiency in creativity are helped by the drug.”


Kingston University prof Andrea Petroczi worries that people might think it makes them cleverer.

She said: “It’s not a magic pill. It doesn’t work without putting the work in. It helps you to put more work in.”