Modafinil vs. Adrafinil Comparison

Discussions pitting Modafinil vs. Adrafinil would seem unimportant given that Adrafinil is a prodrug Modafinil. Essentially, taking either of these two popular wakefulness promoting agents or eugeroics will give you Modafinil in your system. However, since you need a prescription to acquire Modafinil and it is scheduled under US law, people who are looking to get hold of it for nootropic purposes will naturally look for an alternative. Since Adrafinil can be acquired without a prescription in most countries, it easily qualifies as one of the best, if not the only, alternative to Modafinil.

Naturally, the first question in the minds of those who are left with Adrafinil as a choice is whether or not it works as well as Modafinil.

Without a doubt, Modafinil is one of the best wakefulness promoting agents around. This eugeroic can provide you a quick boost of mental energy effectively without the usual side effects that one experiences from taking amphetamines like Adderall. These side effects include edginess, sweating, hypertension, headaches, and tachycardia. It is for this reason that apart from its prescribed usage, Modafinil is popular with students as a smart drug, as well as for graveyard shift workers who use it to function well throughout their shift.

Without the “prescription” variable, it is easy to assume that Modafinil is better than Adrafinil. While this assumption may be true to a certain extent, you may be surprised to know that studies have varying conclusions with the Modafinil vs. Adrafinil comparison test. To better understand what these two eugeroics bring to the table, it would be a good idea to do a quick review on the both of them.


Adrafinil onlineAdrafinil was created towards the end of 1970s by biochemists working at Laboratoires Lafon, the same pharmaceutical company that developed Modafinil. It was in the mid-1980s when Adrafinil was first offered in France as an experimental treatment for narcolepsy. It was sold under the brand name Olmifon. Adrafinil became one of the first of its kind of stimulants that does not promote wakefulness by making one hyperactive such as amphetamines and xanthenes. It instead, helps you fight sleepiness by giving you added mental energy that enables you to focus, concentrate more, and function properly as you would if you had a good night’s sleep.

With its psychostimulatory abilities, it did not take long before people started using Adrafinil off-label primarily to help keep themselves awake or to promote attention. Adrafinil is also considered as a nootropic, which is why there are users who take it as a cognitive enhancer and as a study aid. Some users claim that it has the ability to improve an individual’s ability to create, retain, and retrieve memory more efficiently. This may be due to its ability to affect the glutamate receptors in the brain. Others also claim that it has antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. However, there are no studies as of yet to support these last two claims.

The method of action of Adrafinil and Modafinil is not yet fully determined, but it is theorized that it is able to promote wakefulness through some form of histaminergic signaling. Usually taken via oral administration, Adrafinil gets metabolized in the liver into Modafinil. The Modafinil in the system usually reach levels that are enough to promote wakefulness at around 40 minutes to an hour after ingestion.

Adrafinil Benefits:

  • It effectively promotes wakefulness.
  • It gives you extra mental energy.
  • It improves attention making it a potential management option for individuals with ADHD.
  • It improves the ability to focus and concentrate.
  • It may have nootropic effects.
  • It may have antidepressant and anxiolytic properties.
  • It doesn’t have the adverse effects common to other stimulants like amphetamines and caffeine.
  • You don’t need a prescription to acquire one for yourself.
  • It is cheap.

The Negatives:

  • It increases liver enzymes, which poses health risks with long term use.
  • It is known to cause skin conditions.
  • It is known to cause upset stomach and other related GI conditions.
  • It has been observed to cause confusion and anxiety when the effects start to wane.
  • It may cause overstimulation
  • It may cause mania to genetically predisposed individuals.
  • It may cause increased aggression.
  • It has other unpleasant side effects.


Modafinil vs. AdrafinilModafinil was developed by Laboratoires Lafon not long after the pharmaceutical company released Adrafinil. It was approved as a prescription drug in the United States in 1998. The effectiveness of Modafinil as a wakefulness enhancing agent caught the attention of the military and law enforcement agencies. The drug has become a standard supplement for military personnel in the US military, particularly for US Airforce pilots on long missions.

While Modafinil has similar effects to Adrafinil, its effects are supposed to be faster acting and the last longer. As a prescription drug, its uses that are approved by the US FDA are limited to the treatment and management of narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness (due to narcolepsy), shift work sleep disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Off-label, Modafinil has also been used for a variety of neurological conditions. Individuals who are suffering from neurodegenerative and psychological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), neurological fatigue associated with MS, cognitive impairment due to chemotherapy, treatment resistant depression (TRD), drug dependence, bipolar depression, and fatigue. Both Modafinil and Adrafinil are listed in the list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as they are believed to give athletes undue advantage.

Modafinil Benefits:

  • It is an effective wakefulness promoting agent.
  • It has faster acting eugeroic effects.
  • It gives extra mental energy boost.
  • It wards off mental fatigue.
  • It enhances your ability to focus and concentrate on any given task.
  • It helps you function better on late night work shifts.
  • It may have nootropic properties.
  • It may help in managing anxiety and depression.
  • It doesn’t have the adverse effects associated with other type of stimulants.
  • It may have other important medical applications.

The Negatives:

  • You need a prescription to get it and illegal without one.
  • It is more expensive than Adrafinil.
  • While it doesn’t have some of the side effects associated with Adrafinil, it does have some unpleasant side effects of its own such as headache, nausea, diarrhea, back pain, and upset stomach.
  • It is also notorious for causing serious skin disorders like toxic epidermal necrolysis, Steven-Johns syndrome, and Dress syndrome.
  • It may worsen sleep disorders if dosed improperly.

Since both Modafinil and Adrafinil do not produce euphoria, it has a low recreational (abuse) potential. These two wakefulness promoting agents have similar contraindications and these are the following.

  • Both are contraindicated to those who are hypersensitive to any of their constituents.
  • Use in conjunction with other stimulants is highly discouraged.
  • Individuals with cirrhosis should refrain from taking either of the drugs.
  • Individuals with cardiac conditions are advised not to take either of them.
  • Both eugeroics may render birth control pills less effective.
  • Both drugs should not be used with yohimbine as the combination may cause hypertension and a faster heart rate.


Adrafinil Advantages

  • It is cheaper than Modafinil.
  • You don’t need a prescription for it.

Modafinil Advantages

  • It doesn’t have the side effects associated with Adrafinil.
  • It doesn’t need to be metabolized by the liver, thus it is a better option for long term supplementation.
  • You’ll need a lesser dose for it to take effect.
  • It is faster acting.
  • Its effects are longer lasting.


It must be noted that due to varying sensitivities to Modafinil and Adrafinil, the effect of wakefulness and cognitive enhancement from taking either two eugeroics will also vary. Although Modafinil and Adrafinil have low abuse potential, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) still encourages the users of both eugeroics to be cautious. This is after a study suggested that both drugs affect the dopamine in the reward center of the brain.

The recommended dose for Adrafinil to increase wakefulness is set between 600 to 1,200mg, with high dosages set at 900mg and above. Modafinil dosages on the other hand are set at 100 to 200mg. As with other drugs, it will be best to first consult a physician before supplementing with either Modafinil or Adrafinil.

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