Mondafinil is legal drug, approved by the FDA in 1998 to treat narcolepsy. But a recent New York Magazine story chronicled its reputation as a recreational wonder-pill for stressed out entrepreneurs. Pop one, and productivity and focus skyrocket for a few hours--a risky bet for a drug which has unknown long-term effects. 

The outlet looked at Peter Borden, a quantitative analyst and project manager at a B2B start-up who is struggling to launch his own company in his (limited) free time.

Before discovering modafinil, Borden told the outlet he was having trouble keeping up. But after his first dose of the drug everything suddenly fell into place. Hours after taking the pill, Borden said he “started feeling a pleasant fuzziness.

'Not fuzzy-headed,' Borden said, 'but crisp. A crisp softness to it.' Soon he was experiencing a level of concentration he’d never imagined. “My senses sort of shifted to the visual, and my auditory sense went down. Sounds didn’t even register. It was like walking around on a winter day when it just snowed.”

According to a recent study published in the American Association’s journal Internal Medicine, more and more people are using modafinil; prescriptions for the drug have increased nearly tenfold since 2003, most for off-label use.

If modafinil sounds too good to be true, it very well may be. The long-term effects of the drug on a healthy brain are unknown.