Modafinil is already approved in the U.S. for the treatment of narcolepsy, a kind of a brain disorder that induces sleep at inappropriate times, also marked by excessive sleepiness. Now, recent research claims that modafinil actually works as a “smart drug” that helps improve attention, intelligence, learning and memory.

Students are already taking modafinil “off the label,” thinking it will help them focus during exams. But now they have scientific evidence that the "wonder drug" also enhances a healthy person's ability to solve problems and think creatively.

In the study, Dr. Ruairidh Battleday and Dr. Anna-Katharine Brem from the University of Oxford and Harvard Medical School, respectively, analyzed and evaluated 24 studies from January 1990 to December 2014. The studies assessed the benefits associated with consumption of modafinil and improved creativity, decision-making, learning, memory and flexibility.

Although the researchers found no correlation between modafinil and flexibility or working memory, the team did find that modafinil enhanced planning and decision-making in the subjects. Although there were no significant side effects of the drug or the impact of modafinil on the mood, a few subjects reported stomach ache, insomnia and headache. However, the same side effects were reported in the placebo group as well.

“Interestingly, we found that the type of test used to assess modafinil's cognitive benefits changed over the last few decades. In the past, people were using very basic tests of cognition, developed for neurologically impaired individuals,” said Battleday, in a press release.

“In contrast, more recent studies have, in general, used more complex tests. When these are used, it appears that modafinil more reliably enhances cognition, in particular 'higher' brain functions that rely on contribution from multiple simple cognitive processes."

The authors further say that "modafinil may well deserve the title of the first well-validated pharmaceutical nootropic agent." The complete details of the study have been published in the peer-reviewed journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.