Intended for healthcare professionals


Modafinil does enhance cognition, review finds

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 21 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4573
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

A drug developed to treat narcolepsy may be the world’s first safe “smart drug,” say researchers from Oxford and Harvard Universities who have carried out a systematic review of the evidence.1

Modafinil has had a long under-the-counter career among students and academics who claim that it can increase their mental sharpness. As long ago as 2008 the journal Nature invited its readers to own up if they had used cognition enhancing drugs, and one fifth said that they had. Modafinil had been used by 44% of these, who cited improving concentration as the most popular reason.2

The new review, published in European Neuropsychopharmacology,1 showed that they may have been right. Ruairidh Battleday and Anna-Katharine Brem found 24 randomised controlled trials published from …

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