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Modafinil use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 5, 2022.

Drugs containing Modafinil: Provigil

Modafinil Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

No information is available on the excretion of modafinil into breastmilk. The amount of the R-enantiomer of modafinil, armodafinil, in one nursing mother was very low. Minimal information from women who breastfed their infant's while using modafinil found no adverse effects in the infants. Until more safety data are available, modafinil should be used with careful infant monitoring during breastfeeding, or an alternate drug may be preferred.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. A woman with idiopathic hypersomnolence was treated with armodafinil 250 mg daily. She was also taking 75 mcg of levothyroxine daily for Hashimoto's thyroiditis, sertraline 200 mg daily for obsessive-compulsive and major depressive disorders, and inhaled albuterol as needed for mild intermittent asthma. At 19 days postpartum, milk samples were collected at 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 24 hours after the dose. The trough milk armodafinil level was 0.43 mg/L, with peak value of 2.3 mg/L at 2 hours after the dose. Based on the average amount in milk of 1.2 mg/L, the daily infant dosage was estimated to be 0.18 mg/kg, which corresponded to a weight-adjusted infant dosage of 5.3% of the maternal dosage.[1]

A nursing mother with narcolepsy was taking modafinil 300 mg in the morning and 100 mg at noon. Eight milk samples were collected over a 26-hour period and the active isomer, armodafinil, was measured in milk. The peak milk concentrations of 3.89 and 4.07 mg/L occurred about 2 and 4 hours after the morning dose on the two days, respectively. The lowest milk level was 0.92 mg/L just before the dose on day 2. The authors estimated the infant dosage for a fully breastfed infant to be 294 mcg/kg daily.[2]

Infant Levels. A nursing mother with narcolepsy was taking modafinil 300 mg in the morning and 100 mg at noon. Her exclusively breastfed infant has a blood sample taken 110 minutes after the morning dose was 0.19 mg/L, which was 1.6% of the mother’s simultaneous plasma level. The times of breastfeeding prior to the blood sample was not stated.[2]

Effects in Breastfed Infants

In one case-control study of women having narcolepsy with cataplexy, some women (fewer than 6) breastfed their infants while taking modafinil. No adverse effects were noted. The authors felt that the risk from the medication is low.[3]

An infant was exclusively breastfed by a mother taking modafinil 300 mg in the morning and 100 mg at noon. The authors state that the infant had no adverse events during the 2-day study period and normal growth and development at 6 weeks postpartum.[2]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

A case control study comparing women with narcolepsy with cataplexy to a control group found that those with narcolepsy breastfed longer than those without the disease. The authors felt that the difference likely due to a lower employment rate among the women with narcolepsy.[3]


Aurora S, Aurora N, Datta P, et al. Evaluating transfer of modafinil into human milk during lactation: A case report. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14:2087–9. [PMC free article: PMC6287734] [PubMed: 30518447]
Leggett C, Ritchie U, Costi L, et al. Infant exposure to armodafinil through human milk following maternal use of modafinil. J Hum Lact. 2022:8903344221134273. [PubMed: 36384330]
Calvo-Ferrandiz E, Peraita-Adrados R. Narcolepsy with cataplexy and pregnancy: A case-control study. J Sleep Res. 2018;27:268–72. [PubMed: 28568319]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Milk, Human

Central Nervous System Stimulants

Wakefulness-Promoting Agents

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Further information

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