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Adrafinil vs Modafinil: What Is the Difference Between Nootropics?

You peruse a lot about modafinil. But you also come across other similar products such as adrafinil. Now modafinil and adrafinil, what are these products? Why are they popular “smart drugs?” Indeed, these products are known to augment our focus & concentration, as well as make us feel alert & super vigilant. Let’s see about Adrafinil vs Modafinil to be clear about it.

Interestingly, business executives, students, coders, professionals, & even freelancers alike all use these meds to heighten their productivity & work efficiently. Indeed, these compounds are closely related, but there are some fundamental discrepancies you should comprehend about.

Which is effective & better? Adrafinil vs Modafinil? Here are the pointers. We show you how they compare, how they work, and the critical difference between them.

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil, which is sold as Provigil (brand-name version) & other generic brands in the USA, was first authorized by the FDA in 1998 for the therapy of narcolepsy, essential hypersomnia, shift work disorder (SWSD), periodic hypersomnia, fatigue in multiple sclerosis, ADHD, depression, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in myotonic dystrophy, jet lag, and for the therapy of residual sleepiness in treated individuals with sleep apnea syndrome.

However, since its approval, as well as its efficaciousness & safe profile, it’s become nicely comprehended as a nootropic, a “smart tab”, particularly among business executives, students, coders, professionals, entrepreneurs, etc., since they use it as a cognitive augmenter to boost productivity & insanely great cognition to help you achieve an edge [1].

The reason it’s used off-label by healthy individuals is that it offers brainpower effects such as booster alertness, superb energy, insanely great focus, motivation, memory, excellent planning skills & decision-making, positive mood, and flexibility of thought, learning, and creativity.

And that’s modafinil’s prominence. It’s gossiped to be the benchmark for the fictional tabs in the movie Limitlessthat permitted Bradley Cooper’s character to use 100% of his brain.

What Is Adrafinil?

Adrafinil, which originated sometime in the 1970s in the lab of a French pharma company dubbed Laboratoire Lafon, is sold under the brand name Olmifon. It’s a wakefulness-fostering med that was previously used in France to augment alertness, wakefulness, attention, & mood, specifically in the elderly.

In 1976, researchers at Lafon stayed hard at work studying more of the subtleties of adrafinil. They finally realized that the active component, accountable for its many influences, is a metabolite of the med, not the adrafinil itself.

In pharmacology, it’s referred to as a “prodrug,” a pill that must be metabolized by the liver before it becomes active.

When adrafinil is metabolized, we obtain an inactive metabolite, comprehended as modafinil acid, & an active metabolite, understood as modafinil (CRL40476 or (diphenyl-methyl)-sulfinyl-2-acetamide). The pure active metabolite, modafinil (probably by analogy to ‘modified adrafinil’ or ‘modulated adrafinil’?), is today sold under the brand name Provigil®, & there are several generics available.

Comparison of Adrafinil vs Modafinil Drugs

Modafinil is the metabolite of adrafinil. It lacks adrafinil’s terminal amide hydroxyl group & is better tolerated. Besides, modafinil exists in the racemic form; the I-R-modafinil enantiomer is named armodafinil & also has separate FDA approval under the brand name Nuvigil®. The R enantiomer has a 10- to 14-hour half-life, analogized to 3 or 4 hours for the S enantiomer. Besides, the half-life of adrafinil is short: just about 1 hour.

So how do these meds compare? What are their differences? Which nootropic is more potent? Can it be Modafinil or Adrafinil? Is their efficacy equal? In a nutshell, let’s discuss their comparisons & differences.

Adrafinil has a comparable chemical structure to modafinil [2]. Nonetheless, there are distinct discrepancies. Adrafinil has an extra OH (hydroxyl group) in the amide nitrogen. This constitutes hydroxylamine.

Modafinil is the biologically active ingredient in adrafinil, implying it has similar effects regarding wakefulness, heightened focus, concentration, productivity, fatigue, etc. But they are rarely as powerful as modafinil. That’s why modafinil is the most preferred prescription drug for wakefulness.

Besides, both compounds have a lot of similarities because the effects they furnish result from a single chemical, modafinil. They heighten dopamine, norepinephrine, histamine, & orexin concentrations.

Of course, these resemblances aren’t a stunner when you think how closely related the compounds are. What’s influential is how different they are. The differences will highlight our logic behind expressing that you should bypass adrafinil & stick to modafinil.

Which is better? Modafinil or Adrafinil? Here’s a difference between the two compounds:

  • adrafinil is a prodrug: Adrafinil isn’t the active ingredient. It’s a “prodrug” that requires to be processed by the liver before it begins furnishing benefits;
  • adrafinil’s effects last longer: However, the half-life of the active metabolite, modafinil, is very long. It’s just that adrafinil takes too much longer to break down;
  • modafinil is significantly more potent: The liver metabolizes adrafinil into two compounds – modafinil & modafinilic acid. Here, the metabolism rate is around 50% of each. This implies that half of the adrafinil dose is simply wasted. You ought to ingest double the amount to obtain the outcomes you desire. Certainly, modafinil doesn’t need to be metabolized to become activated the same way adrafinil does. This permits them to be extremely more robust than adrafinil at the same dose. In this regard, the coequal adrafinil dosage for the typical 200 mg modafinil is approximately 600 mg. That’s 3 times more powerful;
  • modafinil peaks much more rapidly than adrafinil;
  • Adrafinil may damage the liver: This is indeed the most significant difference. Although this hasn’t been officially confirmed, it’s more reasonable to go with a med like modafinil that’s been demonstrated to lack liver toxicity;
  • adrafinil isn’t controlled.

Now you know the drug similarities & differences. How about their dosage?

How to Take These Pills Safely?

Modafinil’s typical dosage is 200 mg, taken according to the prescription.

The “smart drug” doesn’t affect blood pressure as greatly as amphetamines do. Its administration is solely rarely linked with high blood pressure & tachycardia, typically at high doses (>800 mg/day). This implies that the “smart tab” might benefit patients with high blood pressure or heart condition. Besides, tolerance & dependence are limited with modafinil [3].

Consider that modafinil & adrafinil may be linked with negative effects & interactions. It’s best to take these meds alone and avoid mixing with meds that might induce interactions. Letting a physician assess your health is prime since your health condition may propel the med to induce disease-drug interaction.

Like modafinil, the suitable dose of adrafinil relies on several aspects such as the user’s age, health, weight, & several other conditions. At this time, there isn’t enough scientific info to specify a suitable range of doses for adrafinil. Be sure to observe appropriate directions on product labels & consult your physician before using.

What Is the Best Dosage for these Medicines?

You’ll be ingesting a lot of adrafinil to get comparable effects as modafinil. For instance, 200 mg is a typical dose for modafinil. However, to obtain that identical dose from adrafinil, you’ll necessitate approximately 400 to 600 mg.

The advised dosage of adrafinil is roughly 300 to 1,200 mg/day. The most typical therapeutic adrafinil dosage is just 600 mg/day. In this regard, only a tiny amount of adrafinil transforms into modafinil in the body. A higher dosage is required to execute the same cognitive advantages.


Comprehensively, modafinil is much more efficacious and potent, and it’s indeed a replacement for adrafinil. This guide lets you know the Adrafinil vs Modafinil differences & similarities of these meds & which is good. If you’re scrutinizing to optimize your life & remarkably make the most out of your nootropic day, then modafinil is the superior option.

The off-prescription use of modafinil: An online survey of perceived risks and benefits. By Rachel D. Teodorini, Nicola Rycroft, and James H. Smith-Spark. Published: February 5, 2020.Adrafinil. Retrieved: July 18, 2022. Pubchem.

Mehedi Hasan

Mehedi Hasan is an enthusiastic health blogger and the founder member of WOMS. He likes to share his thoughts to make people inspired about their fitness. He is an experienced writer and author on highly authoritative health blogs.

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