Modafinil vs Adrafinil is just like pitting the chicken against the egg against each other. Both are regarded as “real life Limitless pills” due to their effectiveness in enhancing cognition and helping you achieve more in less time. Both can be just what you need to keep you going even after you’ve come home tired after working or studying for long hours.
The philosophical question of “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is quite irrelevant in this context. This article will focus more on the science of the actual “egg”, the author’s own review of Adrafinil and how it compares to Modafinil based on multiple studies and user reports.
Adrafinil is a potent wakefulness-promoting agent (a eugeroic) that is most commonly known as a prodrug to Modafinil. A prodrug is basically an inactive drug that is converted into an active drug. The body converts Adrafinil into Modafinil, basically generating the same effects as Modafinil once it is converted.
Even though it was initially developed as a treatment for narcolepsy, Adrafinil is widely used all over the world as a nootropic. Adrafinil produces cognitive-enhancing effects that increase alertness, wakefulness, attention and mood.
Adrafinil was first synthesized in 1974 by chemists from Lafon Laboratories, a French pharmaceutical company. The two were actually experimenting in search for analgesics but instead discovered a stimulating psychoactive compound with wakefulness-enhancing effects when tested on animals.
It was first tested on humans in 1977 and approved in 1994 in France, followed by the US in 1998 for the treatment of narcolepsy. [R]
Nowadays, doctors prefer to prescribe Modafinil because of it being a purer form that puts less strain on the liver.
There are sufficient studies and anecdotal reports to prove its effectiveness as a wakefulness and cognitive enhancer. One study over a 30-hour test period proved that Adrafinil increased wakefulness in sleep-deprived individuals. [R]
Personally, I can confirm its effectiveness and I think that there are few other nootropics as potent as Adrafinil or Modafinil.
Adrafinil takes around 40 to 60 minutes to kick in. That’s a bit longer than how much it would take Modafinil to kick in, mainly due to Adrafinil taking a longer amount of time to convert into Modafinil. [R]
Once the Adrafinil is metabolized to Modafinil, the latter also metabolizes to modafinilic acid followed by modafinil sulfone. Adrafinil is also metabolized to inactive modafinilic acid, which explains Adrafinil’s weaker potency.
Adrafinil increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, orexin and histamine, which mostly account for Adrafinil’s stimulating and wakefulness-promoting properties. Why mostly? Because GABA (the main inhibitory neurotransmitter) is decreased, while glutamate (the main excitatory neurotransmitter) is increased. Here’s a bit of insight regarding the science behind Adrafinil’s mechanism of action:
Slightly increases serotonin. Adrafinil mildly increases serotonin in certain parts of the brain (amygdala, dorsal raphe and frontal cortex), further adding to enhanced cognitive abilities and mood boost.
Dopamine reuptake inhibitor. Adrafinil inhibits the breakdown of dopamine, which explains the improved mood that Adrafinil produces.
Increases norepinephrine. Adrafinil is known to create a sense of agitation, which can largely be attributed to the significant increase in norepinephrine levels. Norepinephrine is released during a fight-or-flight response and is believed to account for the state of alertness that Adrafinil generates. That’s mainly why you should avoid caffeine: its potentiation and norepinephrine level increase, which may cause anxiety. [R]
Increases histamine. Histamine levels are increased as a consequence of Modafinil’s effect on also increasing orexin levels, thus adding to the wakefulness felt on Adrafinil. People who suffer from allergies may experience minor allergic reactions such as a running nose, sneezing or watering eyes.
The physical effects of Adrafinil and Modafinil can be compared to Adderall (read more about Modafinil vs Adderall here) minus most of the unpleasant side effects that can occur both during and after the experience.
Based on studies, user reports and the author’s personal experiences, Adrafinil is stimulating and energetic, yet considerably less than traditional stimulants.
Stimulation. The stimulation can be considered encouraged rather than forced, yet the stimulant-like jaw clenching, teeth grinding and dehydration are definitely present, although much less intense and discomforting.
Appetite suppression. Adrafinil also suppresses appetite, making it quite useful for weight loss, and increases heart rate proportionately to the dose that was ingested.
As you can see, Adrafinil exhibits many physical effects which are commonly encountered in traditional stimulants (amphetamines), yet far less noticeable. Still, both Adrafinil and Modafinil exhibit certain distinguishing effects:
Urine odor alteration. Don’t be surprised if your urine has a certain sulfury ooze. Adrafinil is a member of the sulphinyl benzhydryl class, and it’s quite normal for your urine to contain sulfur.
Photophobia. Another trait which I only experience when on Adrafinil or Modafinil is a certain visual intolerance to light. I feel extra sensitive to sunlight, although this doesn’t always happen.
Whether you’re taking Adrafinil or Modafinil, you’ll certainly understand why the Modafinil experience is regarded as “the closest thing to the Limitless pill”. It won’t give you superpowers or make you a genius, although the boost in certain aspects of human cognition can certainly be qualified as “making you smarter”:
Increased motivation. Motivation levels are noticeably increased on Adrafinil. You feel an immediate urge to get things done and a sense of purpose for the things that matter to you. Difficult tasks become easier to accomplish and boring ones more bearable.
Increased focus. The ability to focus is also increased and one can get a feeling of being “glued to the chair” and a “tunnel-like” vision in which only the task at hand matters. On top of that, switching from one task to the other also becomes much easier.
Wakefulness. Some may compare the wakeful state that Adrafinil generates to larger amounts of caffeine. The difference is that Adrafinil will make you feel very awake without the jitteriness of caffeine (if dosage isn’t exaggerated, that is).
Improved memory. There’s sufficient evidence to suggest that Adrafinil and Modafinil enhance memory retention and recall, making them great study aids.
Thought acceleration. Adrafinil is also thought to increase creativity, although that may be attributed to the accelerated thought pattern that it generates.
Improved mood. Adrafinil and Modafinil have been proven to elevate mood and treat depression. [R]
Adrafinil is converted to Modafinil in the liver, which means that much of the substance is lost in the process. Adrafinil doses for narcolepsy range between 300 – 900 mg, while Modafinil doses for those suffering from narcolepsy or other sleep-related disorders lies between the 100 – 300 mg.
One of the defining features of Adrafinil, Modafinil and nootropics, in general, is that high doses are relatively safe in comparison to other drugs such as amphetamines, which present a serious risk of overdose when taken in high doses. Also, higher doses have been found to actually be counterproductive and amplify the side effects.
You may be surprised to find that lower doses will actually work better for you. I feel quite alright taking 150mg of Adrafinil or 50mg of Modafinil. I don’t get that awesome kick from a full dose, but sometimes the subtle focus and motivation enhancement is all I need.
Experimentation is key. You’ll have to find the optimum dose for yourself.
The onset of Adrafinil usually takes around an hour, although there have been reports of it taking around three hours. That’s considerably longer than how much it takes for Modafinil to kick in (half an hour and you already feel “in the zone”).
The half-life of a drug is how long it takes for half of the substance to be eliminated from the body. It should not be confused with duration of action or the time it takes for the substance to be eliminated entirely.
You may be asking yourself why should you be knowing how long it takes for half of the substance to be eliminated. The answer is simple. Generally, when half of how much you’ve taken has been eliminated, you’ll stop feeling most of the effects of the drug.
The half-life of Adrafinil is quite long (12-15 hours), which is why it’s quite enough to take Adrafinil once and feel the effects for a whole day. The half-life of Modafinil is considered to be in the 10-12 hour range.
Adrafinil is best taken in the morning so as to decrease the likelihood of experiencing problems falling asleep in the night. Obviously, the worst time to take it is in the night (if you plan on sleeping, that is). Personally, I enjoy a productive all-nighter from time to time.
Choosing the right dosage is largely a subjective matter, although it’s always best to try a lower dose at first to test the waters.
There are several reports across the web saying that Adrafinil is best taken on an empty stomach. I don’t think that’s quite a good idea. Taking it on an empty stomach has actually caused me nausea once.
Personally, I think that it’s best taken an hour after eating so that your body won’t need any food the following 6-8 hours.
Eating will decrease the effectiveness of Adrafinil. You want your body’s energy to be focused on your brain rather than on digestion.
The side effects of Adrafinil are mild, especially when compared to other stimulants. Still, some may prove to be uncomfortable and, fortunately, can easily be avoided. [R]
Sleep problems. Many Adrafinil and Modafinil users have reported difficulty going to sleep for up to 12 hours after the last dose was ingested. That’s because GABA levels are low. You would need a GABA-enhancing supplement such as Phenibut can get the job done quite well, yet there are other natural ways to tackle this issue. You can eat a heavy meal in the evening so that your brain “slows” down. You can also consider running or any other form of physical exercise so that your body will be in more need for sleep.
Anxiety. Another side effect of Adrafinil or Modafinil that coffee drinkers, in particular, seem to report is the state of anxiety and uneasiness that two nootropics seem to produce. I do feel anxious or agitated at times, although I’ve noticed that these moments coincide with the times when I’d drink more than a cup of coffee. There’s sufficient evidence to suggest that the anxiety that is sometimes felt on Modafinil or Adrafinil can be attributed to the increased levels of norepinephrine, which caffeine would definitely exacerbate.
Restlessness. Low levels of GABA, the body’s main calming neurotransmitter also contribute to the occasional states of uneasiness. The obvious remedy for this is to avoid using other norepinephrine-boosting stimulants with Adrafinil and stack it with other supplements (preferably natural adaptogens).
Irritability. People have also reported feeling irritable, which may occur for a number of reasons. Increased norepinephrine production may lead to a state of edginess. Also, since people generally use Adrafinil to increase productivity, interrupting from work or study may be met with anger
Dehydration. Dehydration is common, which may also lead to experiencing dry mouth. Obviously, the “remedy” for it is to make sure that you’re drinking enough water.
Headaches. Headaches may occur for two reasons, either due to dehydration, or insufficient choline in the brain. Hence, it’s always a good idea to have a choline supplement ready in case you feel a headache “creeping in”.
High blood pressure. Adrafinil bolsters psychomotor arousal, thus leading to increased blood pressure. This isn’t a problem, although it can be if one already has circulatory and heart problems.
Liver toxicity. Frequent long-term adrafinil usage will lead to hepatotoxicity. Adrafinil raises levels of certain liver enzymes (GGPT, SGOT, SGPT and hepatic alkaline phosphatase). That’s why cycling (taking breaks over a longer period of time) is very important when using Adrafinil regularly.
Adrafinil is unscheduled and widely available both online and offline to purchase without a prescription. The irony is that Adrafinil is basically an unpurified, riskier, yet legal version of Modafinil, which is classified as a schedule IV drug. [R]
Adrafinil is converted into Modafinil in the liver, which means that extra enzymes need to be secreted when taking Adrafinil, meaning that it puts extra strain on the liver.
It’s quite interesting to see that a harder-to-handle (for the liver, that is) version of a substance unscheduled, while one that would be less likely to cause liver strain to be regulated. Still, even though Modafinil is a schedule IV drug, the police do little to reinforce the law because of the low potential for abuse and widely regarded beneficial off-label use. [R]
People are using it in documentaries, Youtube clips, blogs and other mediums openly and the authorities don’t really regard it as a threat.
Adrafinil is quite safe for day-to-day use, although it isn’t recommended because of the extra strain on your liver. It’s not the actual substance that damages the liver, but rather the action of that substance on enzyme production.
Adrafinil must first convert to Modafinil before it converts into the metabolites that generate psychoactive effects. Adrafinil elevates certain liver enzymes in both phases of conversion.
Adrafinil is unregulated in most parts of the world and sold as a non-prescription version of Modafinil. After researching multiple sources where you can order Adrafinil, the most reliable by far is Nootropics.com. The company prides itself for being reliable and is quickly becoming the go-to nootropics vendor of the web. It offers fast shipping all over the world and you can quickly identify the best nootropics for your purposes
If you’re thinking of using Modafinil instead, you would have to stick to reliable vendors where you can buy Modafinil online and get quality Modafinil delivered to you discretely, fast and with a refund guarantee.
According to user reports, Afinil Express is the most reliable Modafinil vendor you can buy from.
Check out their offers on AfinilExpress.com
Even though Adrafinil works pretty good on its own, stacking is a good idea for a number of reasons. It’s up to you to determine what you want to get out of the experience, although we can all agree that health is of the utmost importance.
Even though it won’t change the psychoactive effects in any way, stacking Adrafinil with milk thistle to prevent liver damage. Adrafinil won’t damage your liver, but the extra enzymes that your liver produces may strain it. It’s always best to stay safe and have some liver support. Milk thistle is the best choice you can make in this aspect.
Stacking Adrafinil with caffeine is quite common, as long as you don’t consume too much caffeine in a short period of time. Not everyone responds well to caffeine. There are quite a lot of reports of people experiencing anxiety and uncomfortably increased heart rate because of caffeine and Adrafinil.
These two go well with each other and work best for study, work and social time. Phenibut makes the whole Adrafinil experience smoother and focusing on tasks seems to be a whole lot easier without any “mental noise”, which Phenibut seems to effectively dispose of.
There’s also the social factor of Adrafinil and Phenibut: both make you more talkative and Phenibut lowers your inhibitions. A 300 – 500 mg dose of Phenibut coupled with your usual dose of Adrafinil or Modafinil is a great starting point.
*Read more about Phenibut in this article.
Noopept and Adrafinil also stack well, especially when considering studying or working on tasks which require prolonged focus and extended working memory. Add 10 – 20 mg of Noopept to your usual Adrafinil dose.
Using cognitive enhancers is seen by many as cheating, though personally, I think it’s ignorant to say so.
Adrafinil and Modafinil are two of the most popular cognitive enhancers in use today, as coffee is one of the most popular beverages and psychoactive substances in the world.
Joao Fabiano, a researcher at the University of Oxford, argues that using cognitive enhancers like Adrafinil or Modafinil should not be seen as any different than drinking caffeine. Rightfully so, especially considering the fact that people use them off-label for more or less the same reasons. The only noticeable difference is that caffeine is a naturally-occurring substance while Adrafinil is synthesized.
A word of caution, though. As with any new substance, you should always consult a physician before considering to use Adrafinil.