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Adrafinil Vs Modafinil- Which Is A Better Brain Stimulant For You?

Adrafinil Vs Modafinil- Which Is A Better Brain Stimulant For You?


Adrafinil is a prodrug that is metabolized to Modafinil upon entering the body. Thus, the effectiveness and mechanism of action of both Modafinil and Adrafinil are similar. 

Modafinil is, however, a safer, more affordable, well-researched, and more potent Nootropic than Adrafinil. 



The debate about which of Adrafinil and Modafinil is a better stimulant has been a topic of discussion for some time now. While some prefer Modafinil, others profess the benefits of Adrafinil. Since these compounds are closely related, it is difficult for most people to choose the correct Nootropic for them. 

This blog takes a deeper dive into the similarities, differences, and safety profiles of Modafinil and Adrafinil to help you make an informed decision. 


Modafinil And Adrafinil- An Overview Of The Stimulants 

Modafinil is a wake-promoting agent that was initially marketed in France in the 1990s as a treatment option for excessive somnolence for Narcolepsy. Its use was later approved by the FDA and is considered a Schedule IV drug. 

Modafinil is available as brand medications, such as Modalert and Provigil. They are formulated with Modafinil as the active ingredient and show similar effectiveness as its generic medication. 

Adrafinil is a novel pharmaceutical compound with behavioral-activating effects. It was developed in France by Louis Lafon Laboratories [1]. Adrafinil is a prodrug that is metabolized to Modafinil through the liver [2]. The use of Adrafinil was discontinued in 2011, and ever since, it has been available as a Nootropic without a prescription. 

The chemical structure of Adrafinil is similar to Modafinil, with a few distinct differences. Adrafinil has an additional hydroxyl group (OH) in the amide nitrogen. 

The Modafinil structure lacks the terminal amide hydroxy group, making it better tolerated than Adrafinil. 


Modafinil Vs Adrafinil- Similarities 

Adrafinil is a prodrug, thus showing numerous similarities with Modafinil. So, lets us first understand what a Prodrug is.

Prodrugs are pharmacologically inactive medications that are available in an inactive form. Upon administration, it is metabolized to form an active compound [3]. 

The most similarities between Modafinil and Adrafinil are based on their clinical uses. As Adrafinil gets metabolized to Modafinil, the medical uses of both these Nootropics are listed below. 

Better Cognitive Functioning 

The cognitive-enhancing property of Modafinil and Adrafinil is contributed by a single chemical compound- Modafinil. There are numerous medical trials supporting the use of the Nootropic as a cognitive enhancer. Some of these are listed below. 

In a study by Sharon Morein-Zamir, Modafinil was shown to improve cognitive function in patients with Schizophrenia [4]. A similar study further demonstrates the effectiveness of Modafinil in enhancing Cognition in patients with ADHD [5]. A report published in 2011 suggests that Modafinil enhances and improves selective memory in psychosis patients [6].  

Improving Wakefulness

The use of Modafinil is very effective in enhancing wakefulness in users. 

A study evaluating the effects of Modafinil in patients with Narcolepsy suggests that 200 mg of the Nootropic is effective in maintaining wakefulness and alertness [7]. Another study suggests that Modafinil increases daytime sleep latency and further reduces excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in patients with Narcolepsy [8]. 

It is, therefore, an effective solution for people with Night shift work, Narcolepsy, and Obstructive sleep apnea.  

Non-habit forming

As both Adrafinil and Modafinil do not target the neuronal pathway, thus they are not reported to cause addiction and are considered safe for long-term use. 

Other similar benefits of these brain stimulants include-

  • Increasing the level of Dopamine in the body.

  • Increasing productivity.

  • Elevating the level of histamine in the brain. 

  • Increasing Orexin levels in the body.

  • Improving the level of norepinephrine concentration in the system. 


Adrafinil Vs Modafinil- Differences 

There are a few notable differences between Modafinil and Adrafinil, some of which are listed below. 

Legality - Modafinil is a prescription drug and is not available over the counter, whereas, Adrafinil is an over-the-counter Nootropic. However, unlike Modafinil, Adrafinil is not easily available in all parts of the world. 


Effectiveness - Modafinil is considered to be more effective and potent than Adrafinil. Even though they have the same active compound, Modafinil, however, is comparatively a more potent Nootropic. But why so? 

Like all Pro-drug, Adrafinil needs to be activated in the liver. This makes its metabolism slower taking longer to start working. 


Pharmacokinetics - The half-life of Adrafinil is 1 hour, meaning half of Adrafinil is converted to Modafinil in 60 minutes. Thus, it takes 1 hour to enter the bloodstream and two hours to metabolize the compound into Modafinil to produce its effects. Thus peak effects of Adrafinil take 3 to 5 hours to reach. In comparison, the peak plasma concentration of Modafinil is reached in 2 to 4 hours. 


The onset of Action - Modafinil takes 30 minutes to start acting. On the contrary, it takes 1 hour for Adrafinil to work as this medication is first metabolized to Modafinil, which is further broken down by the liver to start acting. 


Duration of Action - The duration of Action of Modafinil is 10 to 14 hours, whereas the effects of Adrafinil last about 8 to 10 hours. 


Dosing - As only half of the Adrafinil dosage is metabolized to Modafinil, it takes a higher dose of Adrafinil to show a similar effect as Modafinil. The standard dose of Modafinil is 200 mg, whereas that of Adrafinil is 600 mg. 


Effect on the Liver - Many clinical studies suggest the effect of Adrafinil on the liver, indicating its detrimental impact on the hepatocytes (liver cells). It may also be attributed to the longer metabolism process of the drug compared to Modafinil. Thus, it is safer to use Nootropics such as Modafinil that do not showcase any liver toxicity. 


Adrafinil To Modafinil Conversion

Adrafinil is activated upon entering the body and is metabolized to two compounds- Modafinilic acid and Modafinil. 


Modafinilic acid has very little to no beneficial effect on the human body. After conversion, it circulates the bloodstream for a few hours before getting eliminated from the system by the kidney.

Modafinil, on the other hand, is known to confer the eugeroic and cognitive ability of the stimulant. 


How Much Adrafinil Equals Modafinil? 

The rate of metabolism is 50% for each Adrafinil metabolite, Modafinil, and Modafinilic acid. It means that only a part of Adrafinil gets converted to Modafinil in the body. It thus takes a higher dose of Adrafinil to get a similar effect to Modafinil. 

According to the website, Modafinil, to get a similar effect as Modafinil 200 mg, about 400 to 600 mg of SAdrafinil diose is needed [9]. 


Which Among Modafinil And Adrafinil Is An Affordable Option? 

Based on the Adrafinil price listed on the website Healthbynaturals, 60 tablets of Adrafinil 150 mg is $85 ($1.41 per pill) [10]. Whereas the cost of Modalert 200 mg, the brand drug of Modafinil, is about $375 for 300 pills ($1.25 per pill). 

Since Modafinil and its brand medications are approved by FDA, its cost is also covered by most health insurance and Medicare Plans. 


Safety Profile- Modafinil Vs Adrafinil 

There are many case studies indicating the safety profile of Adrafinil. Michel Jouvet, a pioneer researcher for the human use of Adrafinil, found inconsistent results with administering large doses of this Nootropic in patients with Narcolepsy and Hypersomnia [11]. 

Reported benefits based on clinical trials [11]-

  • Improves memory, vigilance, attention, and orientation. 

  • Symptoms of mild depression are improved. 

Reported side effects in the clinical trials-

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Dry mouth

  • Agitation

  • Arrhythmia

  • Dizziness 

A few prominent case studies reporting a few other side effects of Adrafinil treatment are mentioned below. 

Case study 1- A 75 years old man with diabetes, hypertension, and fibrillation has developed orofacial dyskinesia (repetitive movement of the face and mouth) and was observed after 10 months of regular administration of 900 mg of the medication for daytime sleepiness. 


Case Study 2- A 35-year-old man with ADHD and depressive disorder was coadministering 900 mg of Adrafinil with 40 mg of Paroxetine. After 1 year of treatment, Paroxetine was discontinued, and the individual was reported to experience insomnia, muscle twitches, irritability, and tachypsychia. 


On the other hand, Modafinil is considered to be one of the safest Nootropics in the market by researchers at Oxford and Harvard Universities [12]. However, it is Schedule IV medication indicating a lower possibility of addiction and dependency. There are also reports of Modafinil’s side effects. 

A 63 years woman with hypertension experienced an elevation of blood pressure from Modafinil dosage. When switched to Adrafinil, the same individual experienced the same issue and was thus removed from the treatment. 

Some of the other notable adverse effects of taking Modafinil are listed below. 

  • Dizziness

  • Drowsiness

  • Constipation

  • Insomnia

  • Dry mouth

  • Flushing

  • Sweating

  • Rash

Headache is also one of the adverse effects of the Nootropic. According to the research done for one of our other blogs addressing Headaches caused by Modafinil, about 34% experience it. Theoretical evidence further suggests weight loss by Modafinil due to its ability to suppress one's appetite. However, the use of the Nootropic for weight loss is not medically approved. 


Adrafinil Vs Modafinil- The Verdict On The Right Stimulant For You

The metabolism of Adrafinil converts it to Modafinil, and thus they have similar effects. However, when it comes to choosing the right one between the two Nootropics, the comparison is easy. 

But before we come to a conclusion, let us address one last question, to sum up, the key points of the blog. 

Is Adrafinil Better Than Modafinil?

The benefits -

  • It is available over the counter, unlike Modafinil which can be purchased only with a prescription. 

  • Adrafinil is a good choice for people wanting a mild effect, whereas, Modafinil produces a prolonged effect that takes 10 to 14 hours to wear off completely. 

  • Neither of the two stimulants is known to cause dependency and abuse.  

The drawbacks - 

  • Modafinil takes 30 minutes to work, but Adrafinil takes 1 hour to start working. 

  • It takes a larger Adrafinil dosage to show similar effects as Modafinil. 

  • The effects of Modafinil last longer than Adrafinil. 

  • The production and marketing of Adrafinil were discontinued in 2011 due to its unfavorable benefit-risk ratio. The generic version of the drug is now only available over-the-counter as a Nootropic. 

  • Modafinil may be a safer option for patients with hepatic disorder. 

  • The use of Adrafinil is not approved by the FDA. 

  • Modalert 200 mg or Modafinil is a much more affordable option. 

  • Modafinil has better tolerability than Adrafinil. 

Our Opinion -

Based on our findings and understanding of the blog, if we have to choose one between the two, our answer, hands down, will be MODFINIL. And if you ask us why, I guess the points mentioned above justify our choice of Nootropic. 

In fact, other similar comparative studies, such as Vyvanse vs Modafinil, also suggest Modafinil is a better, safer, and affordable choice of brain stimulant. 

It is, however, important to note that your physician may have a different diagnosis and prescription based on your health condition. And thus, we advise all readers to consult a doctor before administering any medication mentioned on our website. 



In 2011, a committee reviewing the clinical studies of Adrafinil was unable to determine the benefits provided by the Nootropic. Also, the known side effects of the Nootropic were also responsible for the discontinuation of the drug.

No, Modafinil is more effective and potent in comparison to Adrafinil. It also takes a larger amount of Adrafinil to show a similar effect as Modafinil.

Yes, the use of Adrafinil can help you stay awake and alert for about 8 to 10 hours after intake.

Yes, similar to Modafinil, Adrafinil also stimulates the secretion of serotonin in the body.

The cost of both medications may differ depending on the pill package and the pharmacy. However, the cost of Modafinil is more affordable.

Modafinil is the active form of Adrafinil, which is a prodrug. Thus, the beneficial effect of Adrafinil is conferred by Modafinil.

Adrafinil is converted to Modafinil which is primarily responsible for its medical benefits. Thus, apart from the conversion of Adrafinil to Modafinil, both drugs have a similar mechanism of action.


  1. Adrafinil: A Novel Vigilance Promoting Agent, imageevent. 

  2. Adrafinil: Psychostimulant and Purported Nootropic, psychiatryonline. 

  3. Prodrug, Wikipedia. 

  4. A Review of the Effects of Modafinil on Cognition in Schizophrenia, 

  5. Modafinil improves cognition and response inhibition in adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ScienceDirect.

  6. Effects of modafinil on cognitive functions in first episode psychosis, springer. 

  7. Effects of Modafinil on Wakefulness and Executive Function in Patients With Narcolepsy Experiencing Late-Day Sleepiness, 

  8. Modafinil, springer. 

  9. Adrafinil vs Modafinil | A-Z Guide, 

  10. FL-Adrafinil - 60 Capsules | 150 mg, healthbynaturals. 

  11. Adrafinil: Psychostimulant and Purported Nootropic, psychiatryonline. 

  12. Narcolepsy medication modafinil is world's first safe 'smart drug', theguardian.