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Modalert (Modafinil) vs Adderall- Everything you must Know

Modalert (Modafinil) vs Adderall- Everything you must Know


Modafinil Vs. Adderall comparative study indicates that Modafinil (Modalert) is a much safer option with a lower risk of side effects and abuse. It is an affordable option for brain stimulants that can be taken once a day. 
Both Adderall and Modafinil help improve cognition and excessive daytime sleepiness and promote weight loss with numerous other off-label benefits. 



Modafinil vs Adderall- A comparison often sought by people wishing to get better brain activity and improve excessive daytime sleepiness. 

We live in a competitive world and always want to be the best. To do our work correctly, we need to stay active. There are lots of ways available nowadays that can help us to stay active. Modafinil and Adderall are two of the most effective ways to stay active. 

Both Adderall and Modafinil, which is also available under the brand name Modalert, are known as activeness enhancers. So, to help you choose the right Nootropic, this comparative study on Adderall vs Modafinil aims to evaluate the similarities and differences between the two. 


Modafinil Vs Adderall: An Overview

Modalert- It is a Modafinil brand that is approved by the FDA for treating excessive daytime sleepiness. Modafinil is one of the most popular Nootropics in the pharmaceutical world and is considered the safest option according to researchers at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. It also has cognition-enhancing effects, which are considered its off-label benefit. 

Adderall-  Adderall is a brand version of Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine, a stimulant. Its medical use was approved in the year 2002 and is very effective in enhancing brain activity and excessive sleepiness [1]. 





Generic name 



Brand Name




Sun Pharmaceutical

Duramed Pharmaceutical

FDA approval 

Yes, 1998. 

Yes, 2002

Legal status

  • AU: S4 (Prescription only)

  • CA: Rx-only 

  • UK: POM (Prescription only)

  • US: Schedule IV 

  • AU: S8 (Controlled drug)

  • CA: Schedule I

  • DE: Anlage III (Special prescription form required)

  • NZ: Class B

  • UK: Class B

  • US: Schedule II

  • UN: Psychotropic Schedule II

Class of drug

CNS stimulant

CNS stimulant

Structural differences [2,3]

Modafinil structure

Adderall structure


Active Compound- Modafinil


Inactive Compound- Microcrystalline Cellulose, Povidone (K-30), Magnesium Stearate, Lactose Monohydrate, Pregelatinized Starch, and Croscarmellose Sodium. 

Active Ingredient: dextroamphetamine saccharate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, amphetamine aspartate, and amphetamine sulfate.


Inactive Ingredients: Corn starch, colloidal silicon dioxide, saccharin sodium, magnesium stearate, compressible sugar, and microcrystalline cellulose. 


Adderall Vs Modafinil: How Do They Differ?

Adderall Vs Modafinil: How Do They Differ?


A few distinct differences between the two Nootropics that set them apart are listed below to help people choose the right Nootropic. 



Modafinil (Modalert)



Modafinil is a Schedule IV medication

Schedule II

Dependence Liability

Relatively low


Addiction Liability

Very low to low


Risk of Withdrawal


Sudden discontinuation of the medication can produce withdrawal symptoms. 

Pregnancy category



Category C 


The cost of Modalert 200mg is $ 1.25 per pill at Health Naturo. This price may vary based on the number of pills and the pharmacy. 

The Adderall price is $294 at CVS and may also vary depending on the pharmacy [6].  

Coverage by Insurance 




How Do Modafinil and Adderall Work?

The working mechanism of Adderall and Modafinil indicates how these Nootropics work and help improve people's cognition and sleep issues. 


The Working mechanism of Modafinil

The Working mechanism of Adderall

Modafinil is known for acting as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. By inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, it indirectly activates the release of orexin neuropeptides and histamine from the lateral hypothalamus and tuberomammillary nucleus. In simple words, this Nootropic enhances our active energy by stimulating neurons in the brain [2]. 

It is a combination of two main ingredients, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, known as central nervous system stimulants. It works as a natural neurotransmitter, secreting dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Thus improving the activeness and alertness in people [4].

The onset of action of Modafinil

Onset of action of Adderall

30 minutes. 

The onset of action: 30 minutes. 

The half-life of Modafinil 

Half-life of Adderall

12 to 15 hours [5].  

The half-lives of amphetamine enantiomers differ and vary depending on the urine pH. At normal pH, the half-lives of dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine are 9 to 11 hours and 11 to 14 hours, respectively. Highly acidic urine can reduce the half-lives to 7 hours, whereas highly alkaline urine will increase the half-lives to 34 hours [2].



Modafinil Vs Adderall: Uses And Benefits


Modafinil Vs Adderall: Uses And Benefits


The FDA primarily approves Modafinil and Adderall for treating excessive daytime sleepiness; however, there are numerous other off-label benefits of these Nootropics. A Modafinil vs Adderall comparison based on their medical uses is mentioned below to help you better understand the two brain stimulants. 

Modafinil vs Adderall ADHD

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood that often lasts into adulthood. Modafinil Nootropic is often used off-label to improve the symptoms of ADHD in adults 18 years of age and older [7]. A clinical study further establishes the effectiveness of Modalert for patients with ADHD. 

“A film-coated formulation of Modafinil in children and adolescents with ADHD demonstrated improvements in its symptoms compared with placebo. Mean reductions in symptom ratings ranged from 15.0 to 19.7 in Modalert users [8]”. 

It showed improvements in signs of ADHD, such as-

  • Acting without thinking.
  • Unable to concentrate. 
  • Lack of attention.
  • Constant fidgeting.

Adderall is considered the first treatment option for ADHD [9]. It effectively improves the concentration and focus of people with ADHD [10]. Adderall also effectively reduces impulsive behavior and hyperactivity in such patients [11]. 

Modafinil Vs Adderall Studying

Experts state that Adderall is not effective in helping students study. In a study published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, there is no additional improvement in executive function in people taking Adderall without ADHD [12]. 

“Adderall’s ability to boost focus can be tempting to people without ADHD, but misusing the stimulant for studying can be risky, addictive and dangerous [13].”

Modalert (Modafinil) for studying is often one of the most preferred Nootropics due to its safety profile. The use of Modafinil can help students to get better grades by- 

  • Allowing them to study for 12 hours without a drop in their energy, focus, and concentration [14]. 
  • It helps students to complete their projects and papers faster by increasing their writing speed. 

             "Modafinil can increase the writing efficacy by 40%" [14]. 

  • The Nootropics helps students make the most of class by assisting them to stay awake and concentrate better. 

Modafinil Vs Adderall Weight Loss

Both Adderall and Modafinil are known to cause weight loss. Adderall for weight loss works by decreasing the appetite and increasing the metabolic activity of the user. It causes them to eat less and burn more calories quicker than usual [15]. 

In 2004, research conducted to examine the correlation between Adderall and Modafinil weight loss in volunteers between the ages of 21 and 35 indicated that both Nootropics decrease total calorie consumption by lowering the appetite. 

“Modafinil reduces the amount of food consumed and decreases energy intake without altering the proportion of macronutrients consumed.

Although both Adderall and Modafinil increase heart rate and blood pressure at higher doses, the dose of Modafinil did not significantly increase heart rate [16].”

Several other researchers also indicate the use of Modafinil in the treatment of obesity. In another study conducted on shift workers, 400 mg of Modafinil decreased the daily calorie intake by 38%, thus significantly lowering the perception of hunger [16]. 

Adderall vs Modafinil for Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that prevents a person from falling asleep at night. It makes Modalert and Adderall a very sought-after topic among people as both Nootropics help treat Narcolepsy.

Amphetamines, an ingredient of Adderall, have been used as a wakefulness booster since the 1930s. It is a mixture of amphetamines and dextroamphetamine and acts as a wakefulness booster, which can help patients with Narcolepsy. 

On the other hand, as a brand of Modafinil, Modalert 200mg can also be effective for Narcolepsy patients. It acts on the brain to help improve activeness and alertness, thus helping manage signs of excessive daytime sleepiness associated with Narcolepsy. Modalert vs. Waklert is a standard Nootropic Comparison for Narcolepsy, indicating Modalert 200mg to be a much potential choice. 


Adderall And Modafinil- Dosage And Administration


Adderall And Modafinil- Dosage And Administration


Modafinil is available in 100 mg and 200 mg; however, Modalert 200mg is the standard dose of the Nootropic. It is an oral medication and should be taken once daily. Whereas Adderall is available in two forms-

  • Adderall oral tablet, which is an immediate-release (IR) formulation. 
  • Adderall XR oral capsule, which is an extended-release (ER) formulation. 

It is available in the following strengths-

  • Adderall IR: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg tablets. 
  • Adderall XR: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, 30 mg capsules.

While administering the medications, ensure to take the dosage correctly by following the recommendations mentioned below. 

  • Adderall and Modalert 200 are oral pills and should be taken by mouth.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages with the Nootropics.
  • Modafinil is not recommended for children; however, Adderall is administered to children up to 3 years (SHOULD BE DONE UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A DOCTOR).
  • Pregnant and lactating women should administer the medication only if their physician advises. 
  • Elderly people above the age of 65 years are not advised to take the medication as they are more likely to suffer from side effects. 
  • Adderall can be taken 1 to 3 times a day.


Adderall Vs Modafinil: Side Effects

To avoid the risk of any possible side effects, it is crucial to take the medication as prescribed by your physician. Modafinil is known to cause mild side effects compared to Adderall. Some of the most common side effects of Modafinil and Adderall are listed below. However, it is essential to note that this is not a complete list of all possible side effects. 

Modalert Side effects

  • After taking the dosage, you may experience Nausea, Headache, dizziness, insomnia, etc. If these last for a long period, take the doctor’s advice. A few people experience Modafinil teeth grinding after the administration of the Nootropic. 
  • Irregular heartbeat, mood swings, depression, etc., are some serious side effects that are rarely seen.
  • Chest pain is a very serious side effect often experienced by people with a history of cardiac disorder and should be reported to the doctor immediately.
  • Allergic reactions to this Nootropic are rarely seen. If you experience any, get medical help. 

Adderall Side Effect

  • Some common side effects are loss of appetite, weight loss, headache, fever, nausea, trouble sleeping, etc. If those are there for long, get medical help.
  • It can increase your blood pressure and is not recommended for people with hypertension. 
  • Some severe side effects include blood flow problems in the fingers and toes, mood swings, uncontrolled movements, etc.
  • Take immediate medical help if you are experiencing severe side effects like shortness of breath, fainting, severe headache, seizure, etc. 


Switching From Adderall To Modafinil- Is It A Good Idea? 

Modafinil inhibits dopamine reuptake, whereas Amphetamine (Adderall) releases dopamine. Many users of Amphetamine have reported being more prone to side effects like hallucinations, heart issues, etc. It makes a person switch from Adderall to a milder version of medicines like Modafinil. 

Modafinil creates a sense of stimulation, unlike Amphetamine, which causes overstimulation of the brain. People who switch and order Modalert 200mg after using Adderall should begin with a lower dose. However, before switching from Adderall to Modafinil, it is crucial to seek prior help from a physician.  


Modafinil Vs Adderall: User review

Adderall Vs. Modafinil comparison based on its review indicates that both the Nootropic have a similar rating on the website WebMD. Rated on their effectiveness, satisfaction, and ease of use, both Modalert and Adderall have a user rating of 4.0 out of 5 [17,18]. 


Modafinil Vs Adderall: User review


Modafinil Vs Adderall- Our Final Take On The Comparison 

Still unable to decide between Adderall and Modafinil, there are a few things to consider.

  • For People with ADHD- Adderall is more effective than Modafinil. 
  • For Excessive Daytime Sleepiness- Both the Nootropics show effective results. 
  • For people with a history of abuse- Modafinil is a safe option for such individuals. 

To make it easier for you to decide, we have penned down the notable merits and demerits of Modalert (Modafinil) and Adderall. 


Brain Stimulant




  • Modalert abuse causes and occurrences are rare, making Modalert a better option than the other Nootropic. 

  • Have a lower risk of abuse and addiction.

  • Mild side effects with no serious side effects were reported. 

  • User rating of 4.0. 

  • Modafinil for studying can help students score better grades. 

  • Apart from its prescription use for improving excessive daytime sleepiness, it has off-label benefits of improving ADHD, Cognition, and weight loss. 

  • Cheaper Nootropic option. 

  • One pill can work all day long. 

  • Available in two main doses

  • It is not safe for children. 

  • Common side effects associated with taking Modafinil are headache, nausea, insomnia, and dizziness. 



  • Available in numerous strengths.

  • Safe for children (up to 3 years). 

  • Helps in losing weight, improves cognition, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

  • It is the first line of treatment for ADHD.


  • Higher risk of suffering from side effects.

  • Sudden discontinuation of the medicine can cause withdrawal symptoms. 

  • It is a Schedule II drug and has a higher chance of abuse and addiction. 

  • The cost of Adderall is higher. 

  • Not effective for helping students in studying. 




Clinical studies indicate that Modafinil effectively improves the signs of ADHD in adults. 

Some effective alternatives to Adderal are Modafinil, Vyvanse, Kapvay, and Ritalin. 

Yes, using Modafinil can significantly increase the level of dopamine in the brain. 

Regular Adderal use is unsafe and can increase the risk of experiencing side effects and abuse. 


The regular use of Modafinil is considered safe, with a lower risk of abuse and addiction. It thus makes it common for long-term use. 


Long-term use of Adderall can have a beneficial impact on the behavior and mood of a person. 


Modafinil helps improve the person's brain activity, thus enabling better memory, creativity, and concentration. It also enhances the thinking ability and decision-making abilities of the person. 


The intake of Adderall increases the level of norepinephrine, thus improving memory, focus, and attention. 



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  2. Modafinil, Wiki
  3. Adderall, Wiki
  4. You asked: what does Adderall do to your body?,Vitalcrecord
  5. Practical Use and Risk of Modafinil, a Novel Waking Drug - PMC
  6. How Much Does Adderall Cost Without Insurance in 2021, talktomira. 
  7. Modafinil: Stimulant Medication Overview - ADDitude
  8. A review of the use of modafinil for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, PubMed. 
  9. Adderall: Side effects, dosage, with alcohol, and more, medical news today. 
  10. 6 Things to Know About Adderall | Top Trends - Lee Health
  11. The Effects of Adderall on Your Body - Healthline
  12. Why You Shouldn't Use Adderall for Studying, banyantreatmentcenter. 
  13. Adderall for Studying, therecoveryvillage. 
  14. Modafinil For Students | World’s Best Study Drug- Modafinil. 
  15. Does Adderall Make You Lose Weight? | Banyan Palm Springs.
  16. Modafinil and Weight Loss, Modafinil. 
  17. User Reviews for Modafinil Oral, WebMD.
  18. User Reviews for Adderall Oral, WebMD.