Is there a Limitless Pill in Real Life? The Reality of Designer Smart Drugs

Article by: David Gracey
Is there a LIMITLESS pill in real life?

If you ever watched the limitless movie, you have wondered whether there’s a pill like NZT-48 in real life.  The possibility that you could do so much with all the potential that you have in your brain is one of the best things that could happen to a person.

Imagine not dragging through your day and not procrastinating anymore. That would be something that would change your life forever!

No, there is not a limitless pill in real life, but there’s something called nootropics. These are brain boosters that have the potential of improving brain function. Although the idea is similar, you won’t get such fictional results like the Movie Limitless.  The nootropics that come closest to a real-life NZT-48 are Modafinil and Nuvigil. They help your brain learn faster, remember better, and regenerate quicker.

Now, if you’re interested in having improved brain performance, that’s 100% possible.

All you have to do is to find the right nootropic (or combination of nootropics “Known as Stacks”) for your personal needs, and reap the rewards.

To do that, you need to learn about the side effects and, of course, the benefits of each nootropic ingredient or supplement.  Not only that, but you need to learn how to take them properly (timing, dosage, etc..)

If you’re interested in taking nootropics (or smart drugs) , and would like to learn more about them, then keep reading.

It’s better than jumping in the dark and being your own human guinea pig & having no idea how each one may affect the brain.

So, let’s get started on the nootropics that come closest to a real-life limitless pill like NZT -48.

Again, keep in mind that learning Italian in 4 days or mastering advanced quantum theory at will it’s still not possible with today’s current science.

Although, it sure as heck would be awesome if it was!

As mentioned above, Modafinil and Nuvigil are about the closest nootropics available to NZT.

They’re capable of altering brain performance by improving cognition and focus.

These are their two special weapons, and the reasons for all the buzz around them. You also don’t need to worry about permanently altering your brain in a bad way since these drugs don’t do that.


Now, what you have to keep in mind is that they will improve your performance at a cost.

They “DO” have some side effects, which you can read more about below.

For now, what matters is that they can, and will give you more focus and mental clarity.

When it comes to brain cognition, they improve your capacity to learn and remember things. 

Since most of the side effects are physical and not mental, they become an attractive solution for those looking for short-term improvements like studing before tests, or prior to jumping on stage to give a speech or presentation.

So, although these pills aren’t exactly like NZT, they do create results.  Below, you can explore more each one of them and decide for yourself, which one you want to experiment with.

Modafinil Gives You Focus And Wakefulness (Known as The Real Limitless Pill)

Modafinil Alertness

Modafinil is a drug that’s been taken by people with sleep disorders for decades now.

This is good, because there’s a lot of studies on the effects that this drug can produce in the body, and it’s generally safe to take.

What you must keep in mind is that any drug has possible side effects, but it doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily going to experience them.

Now, when it comes to the benefits of taking a so-called limitless pill like modafinil, I have to tell you about the focus improvement and wakefulness.

It’s basically like being sharper minded and having clearer thoughts. You’re simply able to concentrate better.

Your ideas, thoughts, and productivity just seem to flow with relative ease.  It’s like living in a world where procrastination wasn’t invented. 

I have taken Modafinil many times, and remember working on a project for 6-7 hours straight without a break, and it seemed like only 2 hours went by.  It’s a crazy feeling, but a rewarding one when you see how much work you got done!

Unfortunately, this doesn’t last forever. Modafinil’s effects technically last for about 12 hours. Then, you may or may not experience side effects. Also, you can’t take it for long.

It’s a short-term nootropic, which means that you can’t take it every day for a long period of time.

I cover this much more in this article here.

The Real Limitless Pill  “Modafinil” Does Come With Side Effects…

Modafinil has quite some terrifying side effects if you google it, but so does paracetamol.

As you know, any drug will have side effects and some terrible ones that are experienced by a small percentage of those who have taken it, (And I do mean small… I personally have never experienced any of these)

With modafinil, you’re likely to experience only mild side effects such as:


  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Muscular fatigue
  • Exhaustion after multiple days of use
suicidal thoughts side effects

Yes, there are some possible worse side effects like suicidal thoughts, but they’re only present in a very small portion of those taking the drug.

It’s also only experienced by those who are generally already in a state of helpless depression, and it’s a pretty rare side effect of taking Modafinil, but I feel it’s important enough to include it in this article.

If you do experience any of the most dangerous side effects like suicidal thoughts, you should discontinue the use immediately, and seek out some help and advice from a licensed professional, which should go without saying.

So, although you may take modafinil and feel completely exhausted after a few days, it’s still worth taking after you experience all the productivity that comes your way.

You should always take a few days off each week or two, to give your mind and body a rest. 

This will also ensure that when you do take modafinil, it will work much better.

One thing I should mention, is if you plan on taking modafinil on a particular day, don’t waste it meaningless tasks.

In other words, just be careful not to spend your time on it performing mundane tasks that don’t add anything positive to your life (like answering emails or doing simple things around the house for instance).

Instead, use it when you have a challenging project, or something that requires some creativity and extreme focus.  You’ll find that this is a much better use of your time while on it!

Real Limitless Pill #2: Nuvigil – Improves Brain Cognition With Increased Focus

Now it’s time to talk about Nuvigil. Also known as Armodafinil.  There’s some debate on which smart drug between Nuvigil and Modafinil comes closest to the real-life NZT 48 limitless pill.

NOTE: In Fact, I have a Complete Breakdown of Modafinil VS Armodafinil VS Adrafinil (Really, the main 3 smart drugs that people compare to NZT-48) Which you can check out at the link below!

(Opens in a new tab so you can read it after this article)

improved memory - Nuvigil

You Can Read the Article Here: Modafinil VS Adrafinil VS Armodafinil

But, for now, let’s stick to talking about these two incredible nootropics. Nuvigil also increases focus, but it’s better for brain cognition like learning and memory improvement.

This isn’t a rule of thumb but maybe Modafinil will make you more focused and productive while Nuvigil will make you smarter. Again, this isn’t a rule of thumb, and you can benefit from both.

Now, the way that Nuvigil acts on your brain is by giving a boost to your cognitive processes. 

This means that your receptors are optimized to receive information, understand it, learn it, and memorize it.

So, what you should always consider are the side effects, and whether it’s worth it for you.  As far as the benefits,  you’ll get a sharper brain (less brain fog!) that is able to focus more, which in turn learns faster and gets more done.

Although it isn’t NZT, you will function better than you currently do without any nootropics at all.

brain fog

Armodafinil (Nuvigil) Side Effects – Harmless Most Of The Time

The side effects of Nuvigil are similar to modafinil. Still, there are some differences.

The physical fatigue is rarer when you take Nuvigil than modafinil.

What should ultimately guide your decision though are the benefits that you need to experience.

You can also create a stack (a set of nootropics that you take it in a day) that has Nuvigil and others that has Modafinil.

About the side effects, you can see them below and decide whether or not this is something you can work with or not.


  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Sleepiness

As you can see, the side effects are not so bad, and are possible to handle.  Also, keep in mind that most side effects are experienced when you take the wrong dosage and when you take the drug for an extended period of time (noticeably longer than you should).

There’s also always an adaptive period for your body to get used to the substance.  This goes for mostly any new substance you put into your body.

The point is, that you should be aware of the side effects even though you’re not likely to experience them taking the proper dosage. 

Stick to recommended dosage guidelines, and don’t assume “more is better” because its not, and can actually be harmful, and make it less effective anyways.

Is There A Real Limitless Pill Like in the Movie? Adjust Your Expectations!

Now, you know the names of the nootropics that come close to NZT, you know the benefits (which may have gotten you excited), you know the side effects (maybe you’re willing to try it out), but there’s one more thing left to do.

Adjust your expectations. 

There simply isn’t a pill available anywhere in the world (currently) that’ll make you have actual super powers like in the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper.

brain cognition focus

Yes, you can have better brain cognition, focus, and performance overall.

Maybe you’ll have a 10%-30% improvement on what you currently can perform.  This alone is incredible.

If you can improve brain performance by this percentage, it means that you can improve your overall performance exponentially.

You won’t improve your performance by the same 10%.  You’ll actually have better results because you’ll be like someone that has 10% better brain cognition than you normally do.

The end results will be astounding.

All you have to do is to responsibly try it out. As long as you have your expectations adjusted, and don’t try to over-do it, you’re good to go.

Limitless Smart Drugs, Take it Easy! (Try Nootropics Slowly)

Finally, a word of advice. Try nootropics slowly.

Give preference to those that have a lot of studies done on their effects on the body and the brain.  Also, pay attention to your body and always listen to it.

If the side effects are greater than the benefits, it’s definitely time to stop.

Once you’re more experienced with nootropics, if you decide to continue on this journey, then you can try it out more experimental ones.  Those that have more than anecdotal evidence to back them up.

You can also start with the ones that are good for long-term use, or even take a holistic approach to fueling your brain with a healthy diet filled with vitamins and minerals.

They’re usually safer to take and give you results slowly, which means that they’re not that strong at first.  So, make sure to try nootropics out slowly. This is a good way to adapt your body and your brain to your new reality.

Final Thoughts:  Is there Really A Smart Drug or Pill Like in the Movie Limitless?

So unfortunately, there isn’t such a thing as a limitless pill in real life, but there are a few smart drugs that come close.

Modafinil (Provigil), Armodafinil (Nuvigil), and even Adrafinil are the best examples.

* Once again, you can read my detailed comparison article of all 3 of these smart drugs side by side here.

They offer more focus and better brain cognition when you truly need it the most.   In turn, it makes you feel unstoppable when completing any task at hand.  Basically, these smart drugs send you to another reality where procrastination isn’t even a thing.

I guess that kinda makes you superhuman afterall!  Does it not?

Have you tried any of these real life Limitless pill substitutes for your own productivity / nootropic enhancement?

Leave me a comment below!

About David Gracey

About David Gracey

Founder of

Hey! My name is David Gracey.  I am the brain child of and a Cognitive Brain Function Researcher, Avid Biohacker, Lucid Dreamer, Morning Ritual Master, and Self-Proclaimed Nootropic Junkie of Sorts! 

In other words, I am completely obsessed with anything and everything related to cognitive brain enhancement! 

Whether it's nootropic supplements, challenging brain puzzles, or even meditation techniques, chances are, I've tried it!  This website is my outlet to give back and share what I've learned in the past 15+ years in this field of study. 

You Can Read My Other Posts Here: 



Check out these other posts!

About David:

Hey! I’m so glad you’re here. My name is David Gracey. I am a cognitive brain function researcher, avid biohacker, and self-proclaimed nootropic junkie of sorts! (And, yes, a bit of a nerd as well...) I created this website as an outlet to share my passion for self improvement and cognitive brain enhancement. Got questions? Shoot me a message!










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