How to Choose Between Adrafinil and Modafinil

When it comes to nootropics these are the 2 most popular names out there. They are talked about so much because they are one of the first nootropic drugs to hit the market. Another factor is that since they have been around for a long time, their effects are pretty much well known and there is also a lot of evidence that they can deliver what they claim. 

These 2 nootropics have gone head to head in the market, with a lot of people supporting either side. But what is the difference between the both of them? Are there tangible benefits for the end user? Which one is the better of these two? We deal with all these questions in this article.


This is the nootropic that started it all – modafinil was marketed under several names such as Provigil, Alertec, and Modavigil to name a few popular ones. It is classified as a synthetic eugeroic –promoting wakefulness – which is also found to have significant nootropic benefits and advantages when taken by healthy people. These include improved cognition, reduced fatigue and increased alertness. 

Furthermore, people have been using modafinil for various off-label cognitive issues like depression, bipolar disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and ADHD to name a few. It has been gaining rapid popularity as a smart drug that improves the ability to retain information and so is used by students and others who require peak cognitive performance. 


This is a prodrug for modafinil, meaning that it is metabolized in the body to produce modafinil. All the properties of modafinil carry over to adrafinil. The only real problem with it is that you need to consume the requisite amount of adrafinil before it is metabolized into modafinil. This process of metabolism happens in the liver, which means that if you take a lot of it, it stresses your liver. This also makes adrafinil a problem for people who use it over a prolonged period of time. 

Modafinil vs adrafinil

Modafinil Working

Modafinil is used to treat several disorders including shift work sleep disorders, daytime sleepiness or narcolepsy. Another advantage is that it is FDA approved for use in the treatment of these disorders. It works by stimulating the neural receptors in the brain to overcome these symptoms. While it might be classified as a Central Nervous System stimulant in a few cases, it does not show the side effects normally associated with the CNS type. 

While there are several theories about how modafinil increases cognitive ability, the one that has the most traction is the histamine effect it induces and the increase of dopamine levels by inhibiting its uptake. It is also found to have the effect of increased norepinephrine in the body. 

Adrafinil Working

Adrafinil also has the same functions and properties of modafinil – it promotes wakefulness and produces nootropic effects like increased memory, learning benefits and increased mental energy. Adrafinil finds use in several situations and is as well known as modafinil. The primary difference between adrafinil and modafinil is that it is not straight up modafinil – it metabolizes into it. 

This is important to understand because since the metabolism occurs in the liver, prolonged use of adrafinil can cause stress on the liver which is not desirable. However, if the gains only need to be short-term, then adrafinil can be substituted instead of modafinil though at a higher dosage accounting for the amount lost due to the process of metabolism. 

What is best – Modafinil or Adrafinil?

When it comes to which one is better, you need to consider several factors – price, availability, efficacy just to highlight a few. Adrafinil is less expensive than modafinil and this aspect alone drives a lot of people to opt for it. When it comes to availability, modafinil is a prescription drug and some countries have strict guidelines that regulate their sale. This means that modafinil is always in demand which further drives up the price. Adrafinil can be bought without much hassle and is an OTC drug. 

Modafinil is a far more potent nootropic than adrafinil and can also be taken in lesser amounts. Another thing to note is that adrafinil is metabolized in the liver which means the more you take, the more your liver has to process. You need to regulate its dose, so you don’t take too much over a period of time. 


To answer the question, which one is better, it depends on your usage to be honest. If you have access to modafinil and don’t mind the high price, then you should go ahead and get it. On the other hand, if you find it hard to get your hands on modafinil consistently then your only option would be to consider adrafinil. People have been able to get good results with adrafinil as well, all you need to do is regulate your dosage.

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