Date: January 2021, Version 1

What is it?

Modafinil is prescribed to improve symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to help with tiredness and fatigue in people with narcolepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS)


What are the benefits of using modafinil in pregnancy?

Modafinil increases alertness and prevents sleep; however, it is not recommended during pregnancy. Women who are taking modafinil and planning a pregnancy should speak to their doctor about changing medication or stopping treatment. Women who conceive whilst taking modafinil should contact their GP or specialist straightaway.


Are there any risks of using modafinil in pregnancy?

Some studies have suggested that pregnant women taking modafinil have a higher chance of having a baby with a birth defect. However, none of the studies included large enough numbers of pregnant women to produce reliable findings. Further research is required before we can say whether modafinil is safe or not. As a precaution, its use in pregnancy is not recommended.


Are there any alternatives to using modafinil in pregnancy?

Possibly. Other medicines can be used to treat ADHD. Alternative measures such as good sleep hygiene can improve tiredness and fatigue. Your doctor will be able to advise you on which of these are best for you.

No treatment

What if I prefer not to use medicines in pregnancy?

Your doctor will only prescribe medicines when absolutely necessary and will be happy to talk to you about any concerns that you might have.

Will I or my baby need any extra monitoring?

You will be offered a detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of routine antenatal care. If you have taken modafinil in early pregnancy your obstetrician may decide to carry out some extra checks of your baby (such as a more detailed scan of your baby’s heart).

Are there any risks to my baby if the father takes modafinil?

We would not expect any increased risk to your baby if the father takes modafinil.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions about the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from

How can I help to improve drug safety information for pregnant women in the future?

Our online reporting system (MyBump Portal) allows women who are currently pregnant to create a secure record of their pregnancy, collected through a series of questionnaires. You will be asked to enter information about your health, whether or not you take any medicines, your pregnancy outcome and your child's development. You can update your details at any time during pregnancy or afterwards. This information will help us better understand how medicines affect the health of pregnant women and their babies. Please visit the MyBump Portal to register.

General information
Sadly, miscarriage and birth defects can occur in any pregnancy.

Miscarriage occurs in about 1 in every 5 pregnancies, and 1 in every 40 babies are born with a birth defect. This is called the ‘background risk’ and happens whether medication is taken or not.

Most medicines cross the placenta and reach the baby. For many medications this is not a problem. However, some medicines can affect a baby’s growth and development.

If you take regular medication and are planning to conceive, you should discuss whether your medicine is safe to continue with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant. If you have an unplanned pregnancy while taking a medicine, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please make sure that the person prescribing it knows that you are pregnant. If you have any concerns about a medicine, you can check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist.

Our Bumps information leaflets provide information about the effects of medicines in pregnancy so that you can decide, together with your healthcare provider, what is best for you and your baby.