Potent Stimulant Head-to-Head: Adrafinil VS Modafinil

Let’s say you were assigned to do a very important project at school or at the office. And pulling it off could mean acing a grade that you’re gunning for or perhaps a chance at scoring a promotion that you’ve always wanted.

Sure your attention and motivation levels may have started out really high, but you’re noticing that they are considerably plummeting day by day. An extra boost from a potent stimulant like Adrafinil or Modafinil would surely help you get back on track.

But the thing is which of the two of them is the best option? Which one will really get the job done in terms of keeping you sufficiently motivated and focused? Make sure you follow along to find out since we’re pitting these two in a no holds barred head-to-head in a few moments.


Background and History

Adrafinil is basically a type of eugeroic, a drug that promotes alertness and wakefulness when metabolized by the body. It is also known as Olmifon and CRL-40028 in the pharmaceutical setting. This drug was originally developed in France in the 1970’s by Lafon Laboratories to treat sleeping disorders, specifically narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness.

                                   The chemical structure of Adrafinil

Now while Adrafinil is classified as a central nervous system stimulant, clinical studies show that it doesn’t promote hyperactivity at all. It fights sleepiness and is even seen to stimulate an increase in reaction time, mood and motivation.

Although doses can vary, taking 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams of Adrafinil is accepted as safe yet already potent. The effects of a single dose can be felt within an hour of administration and can remain for as much as 4 hours.

There are even data gleaned from various medical research that Adrafinil use can also increase learning capacity and improve memory over longer periods. However, it was pulled off the shelves in 2011 after the French pharmaceutical regulatory agency did not renew its marketing license.

Adrafinil is still quite popular and widely used in Canada and the United States until now, though.

What It Does

Adrafinil has become quite a favorite among students and workers whose schedules are mostly in the graveyard shift due to its potent stimulant effects that promote wakefulness and enhanced focus even when an individual has already gone through prolonged periods of sleep deprivation.

These effects are the result of Adrafinil’s stimulation of the dopamine receptors. It also influences the adrenergic system when absorbed by the body, which leads to the release of adrenaline. Interestingly, this drug is seen to have very low potential to become an addictive substance due to the lack amphetamine-like stimulatory effects.

Interestingly, Adrafinil is converted to Modafinil when it gets metabolized by the body.


Since wakefulness is the primary effect of Adrafinil, administering it in the late afternoon or evening can disrupt sleep. You also have to take the same on an empty stomach to ensure that its effects are going to be ideal.

Long-term supplementation of this drug is also not advised since it can trigger an increase in enzymes that can be stressful for the liver to process. It is crucial to remember that Adrafinil has been classified as a nonspecific stimulant and included in the banned substances list of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).


Background and History

Nicknamed as a “smart drug,” Modafinil has established quite a following these days due to its almost immediate stimulant effects to the cognitive function. Although it isn’t the only smart drug that you can get your hands on, more and more people are using Modafinil because apart from being a very potent eugeroic, it also isn’t addictive compared to some of its counterparts.

Commercially distributed under the brand names Provigil, Modapro, Modavigil and Alertec, Modafinil was originally developed to treat obstructive sleep apnea-associated excessive daytime sleepiness, shift work sleep disorder and narcolepsy. It is deemed as a prescription drug in the United States.

                                               The chemical structure of Modafinil

What’s really interesting is that Modafinil closely shares similar characteristics with Adrafinil. The only difference between the two is that the latter lacks diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl-2 acetamide in its chemical structure. Modafinil is the bioactive metabolite of Adrafinil.

What It Does

Modafinil first became quite a hit among athletes due to its potent effects in terms of increasing energy and endurance levels. However, it was recognized as a smart drug after its benefits in improving general productivity, counteracting the need or desire for sleep as well as boosting memory and retention were observed.

It shares the same influence to dopamine receptors and the adrenergic system as Adrafinil. However, since the liver doesn’t have to process it longer during metabolism, the possibility of liver stress for Modafinil is low compared to its close chemical cousin.

Other effects of Modafinil include increased appreciation of music and thought acceleration. There is also a study published by the University of Cambridge that highlights this drug’s ability to reduce an individual’s impulse to make rash decisions.

A single 30 milligram to 50 milligram dose of Modafinil is already sufficient for a healthy person. This drug is best taken in the morning and its effects are seen to linger for approximately 6 to hours. Unlike Adrafinil, Modafinil can be taken with or without food depending on the preference of the person administering it.


Now while Modafinil is clinically proven safe to use, long-term use isn’t advised because it might pose potential risk to the liver. Sure this may be a long shot, but there is a very rare rash called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome or SJS that could be triggered by the use of Modafinil. However, it only affects 5 in 1,000,000 people.

The Final Verdict

Adrafinil and Modafinil both are very potent when it comes to promoting enhanced reaction time, energy, mood and motivation when taken.

But the thing is we think going for Modafinil is the smarter decision. Apart from having a much lower risk of experiencing liver stress when you use it, the dose you need to experience Modafinil’s benefits are also lower yet the effects are more prolonged.  

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