Does Modafinil cause hair loss?

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Modafinil has recently gained significant popularity as a Smart Drug. This has undoubtedly increased the general use of the drug. Many online pharmacies offer Modafinil for sale, so you can now even buy Modafinil online.

The extensive use of the drug has invariably brought forward a plethora of doubts and questions regarding the prescription. Many questions if Modafinil can act as a nootropic, that is, a drug that enhances cognitive capacities. People ask online forums and communities about the side effects of the drug. Many are concerned if Modafinil affects the brain adversely, while others are worried about any other long-term effect the drug might have.

A fairly common question that circulates in these online forums and communities is whether taking modafinil leads to hair loss. In this blog, I will try to answer that very question.

What does Modafinil do in the body?

Before we discuss whether Modafinil can cause hair loss, let us first understand what is modafinil and what does it do?

Modafinil was developed to be a eugeroic drug. Eugeroics are CNS stimulator that promotes wakefulness in the body. This implies that taking eugeroics like modafinil would help one stay awake and alert. Modafinil also has some associated effects like bringing focus and good decision-making capabilities.

Additionally, several studies in the last decade have proved that modafinil also acts as a nootropic. This means modafinil can increase your cognitive capacities, in simpler terms, intelligence. Long-term use of modafinil has shown proven effects in increasing the IQ of people. It is also said that modafinil can enhance memory in users.

Research is still underway to get concrete results on the mechanisms through which modafinil might help with memory. Overall, modafinil does live up to its moniker of Smart Drug.

The working of Modafinil

Let us now understand how exactly modafinil achieves all this, that is, what is the mode of the mechanism of modafinil?

As already mentioned, modafinil is a CNS stimulator, that is, it stimulates or activates the central nervous system (CNS) in some ways. The specific brain chemical that is affected by modafinil is dopamine. Dopamine is a neuromodulator responsible for exacting alertness, focus, and cognition, as well as emotions like pleasure and satisfaction. Modafinil works to prolong the presence of dopamine in the body, thereby enhancing its effects.

How does modafinil enhance the effect of dopamine?

Pharmacokinetically, modafinil acts as a mild DRI, that is, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. As we know, dopamine is a chemical messenger. So, once the necessary message is relayed, there are small dopamine reuptake receptors in the body to remove the excess dopamine from the system. Modafinil directly binds to these receptors to inhibit the reuptake or removal of dopamine from the system so that it can accumulate. In this way, modafinil successfully enhances the effect of dopamine in the body.

Why does hair loss happen?

Hair loss is a common problem faced by a large section of the world's population. There are various reasons behind hair loss. Before we delve into the various reasons behind hair loss, it is important to note that hair loss and hair fall are different things.

Hair fall is a healthy aspect of daily life. Every day, we are normally expected to lose about 100–150 hair strands. Finding a few strands of hair on your comb or on your pillow is not at all worrisome. Hair fall becomes concerning when it leads to a thinning of the natural volume of your hair.

Let us now go through the most common causes of hair loss as reported globally.

Common causes of hair loss

  • Pattern baldness, a condition present in men, is usually triggered during middle age, but in some extreme cases in the 20s.
  • Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes rapid hair fall from all parts of the body as the body’s immunity system starts attacking its own hair follicles.
  • Hair loss in a major percentage of the population is found to be genetic. Several genes responsible for causing alopecia, or abnormal hair loss have been identified so far.
  • Underlying diseases or conditions like diabetes, obesity, and hyperthyroidism often cause hair loss.
  • A deficiency of nutrients, specific vitamins, and amino acids cause easy breakage and loss of hair. A deficiency of vitamin biotin is known to be a major cause of hair loss.
  • Bacterial or fungal infections in the scalp can cause hair loss.
  • Physical trauma like pulling hair strands too tight causes a form of hair loss called tractional alopecia. Poor mental health and sudden psychological trauma are also hidden triggers for hair loss.

Drugs that may cause hair loss

  • Medication for hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and cholesterol can cause temporary or permanent hair loss
  • Contraceptive pills, hormone replacement therapy, steroids, and acne medications may have a pronounced effect on the body's hormone balance and thus cause hair loss
  • It is possible to lose a great deal of hair when treating mycotic infections
  • Birth control pills, chemotherapy, and anabolic steroids are all known to cause the side effect of hair loss

Why might some modafinil users have hair loss?

It appears that “Modafinil hair loss” and “Modafinil alopecia” yield no published scientific studies when searched on reputed peer-reviewed journals and databases like PubMed. However, too many people are nevertheless worried about hair loss from taking modafinil.

This concern is rooted in real-life stories shared by some Modafinil users in online forums. Their lived experiences are undoubtedly valid, but it has been often found that hair loss, when occurring in modafinil users, is not necessarily due to modafinil itself but to other reasons that happen to coincide with them taking modafinil.

Here are two examples to illustrate this point:

Modafinil is widely used by professionals to stay energized, focused, and active during their work hours. This goes to show that a large percentage of modafinil users lead a fast-paced lifestyle. It is understandable if these people deal with a large amount of stress in their lives. While modafinil helps them stay ahead in their busy lives, it does not directly help in reducing stress. It is therefore highly possible that a lot of modafinil users are indeed suffering from hair loss, but it is caused by stress and not the drug.

Modafinil is often prescribed to patients suffering from sclerosis. Sclerosis tends to cause hair loss as one of its effects in patients suffering from the condition. However, it would not make sense to suggest that a person taking modafinil for the management of sclerosis is losing hair because of modafinil.

Final Verdict - Does Modafinil cause hair fall?

To be precise, no. Modafinil is not scientifically proven to be involved in hair loss. It is not likely for you to lose hair just by taking modafinil. However, we had an informed discussion in this article about modafinil as well as the factors that cause hair loss in people. Here, we saw that the idea that modafinil causes hair loss is based mainly on accounts from a few users, and it does not hold true factually. If you experience hair loss while taking modafinil, you should consult an expert, who would then be able to identify the underlying causes that might be resulting in hair loss for you.


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