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Adrafinil is a synthetic nootropic that is used primarily to promote wakefulness, alertness, and focus. It has been shown to increase aspects of motivation and problem solving. (1,2,3,4) Adrafinil is also used to relieve excess sleepiness in elderly patients. (3,4)

Previously known as Olmifon in France, where is was developed by Louis Lafon Laboratories, Adrafinil is a prodrug – meaning once it has been taken it metabolizes in the body to Modafinil. Although Modafinil requires a prescription in the United States, Adrafinil does not and produces effects very similar to Modafinil.

Since Adrafinil needs to be metabolized by the liver, it takes slightly longer for the effects to be felt and won’t last as long as Modafinil. You will see Adrafinil begin to work on average in 45-60 minutes. Adrafinil has become popular amongst individuals who need to stay awake for long periods of time or who work over-night. It also carries few side effects. (1,2)

How to Take Adrafinil

Adrafinil is most commonly found as a 300mg capsule to be taken orally. As with most supplements, it is suggested to take Adrafinil with water. It is best to take Adrafinil in the morning, prior to breakfast. If you take Adrafinil after eating it will significantly reduce the effects. (7) Since Adrafinil is used to promote wakefulness, taking it in the afternoon or evening may cause insomnia. (6)

Prolonged use of Adrafinil has been shown to elevate the levels of certain liver enzymes so it should not be taken regularly. The best usage of Adrafinil would be to take it as needed or on a cycle such as one week on, one week off. (8) Adrafinil should not be taken for more than three consecutive weeks. Following that time period, Adrafinil should not be taken for a minimum of one week.

If you intend on taking Adrafinil, discuss the use with a physician prior to using. Adrafinil should not be taken with other drugs due to potential increase of side effects.

Adrafinil Dosage

The recommended dosage for Adrafinil is 300mg - 600 mg per day. (And never more than 600mg in a day.) Begin with taking 300mg of Adrafinil and if you feel as though this is insufficient, then try increasing the dosage to 600mg. (7) Studies suggest that taking higher doses of Adrafinil could lead to lower serum Adrafinil levels. This would suggest that a higher dose could potentially cause a greater elimination of Adrafinil so that less of the compound is available. With less of the compound available, less would be able to be metabolized into Modafinil. (9)

Adrafinil Benefits

Adrafinil is one of the more potent nootropics and is a great option if you’re looking for an edge for work or study. Unlike Modafinil or Adderall, Adrafinil is available without a prescription as is readily available over the counter for purchase. (10) As previously mentioned, the main benefits of Adrafinil is to promote wakefulness, alertness, and focus along with increasing aspects of motivation and problem solving. (1,2,3,4) Various other studies have found that Adrafinil has many other benefits as well.

Adrafinil for Work

Adrafinil can be a powerful agent for individuals who work long hours or who work differing schedules that could interfere with a normal sleep schedule. Individuals who do repetitive work and often find themselves in a lull may also find Adrafinil to be beneficial. Long hours on the road or sitting in front of a computer can be taxing on an individual’s mental well-being. Adrafinil can provide the boost to keep your mind on track and focused all day long.

Adrafinil for School

In an ideal world everyone would be able to go to class, focus, and go home to study. However, the reality is that individuals might have a difficult time waking up for an early class, remaining focused throughout a lecture, or finding the energy required to study and comprehend the material. Adrafinil can address all three of these issues.

Adrafinil can allow you to wake up for that early class, remain focused without needing to check your phone or social media, and provide the motivation to begin studying and learn the material. As a large exam or paper due date approaches, Adrafinil can even be used as an aid to stay focused for the long period of time needed to get the studying done or paper written.

Adrafinil vs. Coffee

Although Adrafinil and coffee may provide some similar benefits, Adrafinil provides positives that coffee cannot compete with.

Tolerance – A tolerance to Adrafinil is not built as quickly as a tolerance to coffee. Many people become so accustomed to drinking coffee that it becomes part of a routine that keeps their body functioning at normal levels vs. getting the boost they desperately were looking for. Since Adrafinil is not to be taken daily, it still provides the boost you need, when you need it.

Crash – Many people who drink coffee often feel their best right after drinking the cup and then crash a couple hours later. This crash may even leave you feeling more tired than how you felt prior to drinking the coffee. Adrafinil allows you to be at the same energy levels for a longer period without crashing hours later.

Other Benefits of Adrafinil

Many other benefits exist for the usage of Adrafinil and can be found below in the “Research and Scientific Studies” section. These benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive enhancement (12)
  • Increased non-verbal cognition and task enjoyment (13)
  • Increased mood & motivation (14)
  • Increased wakefulness (15)
  • Improved recall (12,13)
  • Therapy for symptoms of ADD/ADHD (16)
  • Improved reaction time (12)

How Adrafinil Works

Adrafinil({diphenylmethyl}sulfinyl-2 acetohydrozamic aic) acts as a prodrug to Modafinil. Meaning that once taken, the body(specifically the liver) metabolizes Adrafinil into Modafinil which results in similar effects. (1) The only difference between the compound for Adrafinil and Modafinil is that Adrafinil is lacking (diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl-2acematide). (6)

Adrafinil relies on postsynaptic α-adrenergic activity. This is dues to an increase in locomotion is blocked by prazosin (α1 antagonist), yohimbine (α2 antagonist), or phenoxybenzamine (mixed α-antagonist). (6)

Adrafinil's Half Life and Duration of Effects

It takes 60-90 minutes to begin to feel the effects of Adrafinil if taken orally on an empty stomach. An individual can expect to feel the effects of Adrafinil for 10-15 hours with no “crash” at the end.

Adrafinil Side Effects

Adrafinil had shown to have very few side effects. Most notably occurring are: nausea, appetite reduction, or possibly mild headaches.

The most common side effect of Adrafinil is insomnia. If Adrafinil is not taken as recommended (immediately after waking, before breakfast) then insomnia is more likely to occur since Adrafinil is used to promote wakefulness. Even if taken later in the day, Adrafinil will not impact the quality of sleep like other stimulants, only the ability to fall asleep in the first place.

Other stimulants may cause feelings of anxiety or and elevation of your blood pressure and heart rate. However, Adrafinil does not cause any of these side effects. (17)

As Adrafinil has been shown to increase the counts of certain liver enzymes with regular use, it should not be taken regularly or with any other drug. If taken with other drugs the increased liver enzyme counts could potentially cause liver damage.

Adrafinil Safety Profile

Daily use of Adrafinil is not recommended due to potential effects on liver enzymes that could lead to potential liver damage even though a study conducted on humans showed that long-term use of Modafinil did not have harmful side effects. (17)

Even though Adrafinil is regarded as one of the most effective nootropics, studies have shown that is a very safe and non-toxic compound. Toxicity has not been shown to occur, even at doses greatly exceeding what is recommended.

An additional study conducted on laboratory rats saw that 200mg per kg of weight of Modafinil, which was given daily for three consecutive months, saw no signs of toxicity. This study also saw that when given over a one-month span, 400mg per kg of weight of Modafinil did not produce any toxicity.

The daily recommended dose of Modafinil is 300mg and never more than 600mg in a day.

Adrafinil Frequently Asked Questions

Is Adrafinil illegal?

Adrafinil is not a controlled substance and therefore legal in the United States to possess and take. The more potent Modafinil, however, is only allowed to be possessed by prescription only.

Is Adrafinil the same as Modafinil?

Despite their similarities, Adrafinil and Modafinil are two distinct substances with different legal statuses.

Adrafinil acts as a prodrug for Modafinil meaning the liver metabolizes Adrafinil into Modafinil. Since it is a prodrug, it typically takes longer to work and the effects may not last as long when compared to Modafinil.

This also means that despite being a different drug than Modafinil, using Adrafinil will cause positive results on drug tests looking for Modafinil. While pre-employment drug tests do not screen for Modafinil, it is an NCAA banned substance so NCAA athletes should not use either Adrafinil or Modafinil.

How long does it take Adrafinil to take effect?

If taken on an empty stomach, you should begin to feel the effects of Adrafinil in 60-90 minutes. After ingestion, the full effects are typically felt in 90-120 minutes.

Is Adrafinil a stimulant?

While Adrafinil does share some properties with stimulants, it is classified as a eugeroic. (meaning wakefulness promoter) It is not classified as a stimulant because it lacks the central nervous system stimulating effect that is the hallmark of stimulant drugs. 

This means that unlike traditional stimulants Adrafinil does not typically cause a significant increase in blood pressure or heart rate and is much less likely to cause anxiety as an adverse side effect. (17)

How much Adrafinil can you take?

The recommended dosage for Adrafinil is 300 - 600 mg. If you've never used Adrafinil before we recommend starting with 300 mg, and increasing to 600 mg if needed. 

Due to the way Adrafinil works, there is little benefit to taking a higher dosage than 600 mg as most of the extra Adrafinil taken will be excreted as urine without being converted into Modafinil by the liver.

Does Adrafinil reduce appetite?

While there is no conclusive research on the subject, many people find that Adrafinil does cause a slight reduction in appetite. (Although this effect is much smaller than for traditional stimulants.)

Can you buy Adrafinil over the counter?

Adrafinil is not easy to find in retail stores of pharmacies, but it can be easily and legally purchased online without a prescription.

Should you eat prior to taking Adrafinil?

Adrafinil is most effective when taken immediately after waking up, on an empty stomach. Taking Adrafinil after eating a meal will increase the time it takes to kick in.

Adrafinil Reviews and Experiences

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Research and Scientific Studies

Since Adrafinil acts as a prodrug for Modafinil, there are fewer studies focusing specifically on Adrafinil as most focus on Modafinil. However, many of the studies conducted on Modafinil are applicable to Adrafinil.

Adrafinil for Cognitive Enhancement, Recall, and Reaction Time (12,14):

One scientific study found that six healthy male volunteers, who were given either Modafinil or a placebo were then assigned various tasks based around testing their memory and attention.

The volunteers who were given Modafinil performed better on tests involving visual pattern recognition, spatial planning, and stop-signal reaction time. Additionally, the same volunteers reported feeling more alert, energetic, and attentive. In a separate test, individuals who were given Modafinil compared to a placebo also reported being more confident in three, 50-minute cognitive tests.

Adrafinil for Non-Verbal Cognition and Task Enjoyment (13):

A double-blind study was conducted where participants were given either 200mg of Modafinil or a placebo to determine the effectiveness on non-verbal cognition and task enjoyment.

The volunteers who were given Modafinil performed significantly better when being tested on spatial working memory, planning and decision making. Additionally, the ratings on task enjoyment given by the individuals on Modafinil reported significantly higher levels of enjoyment. This confirmed that Modafinil acts as an enhancer for non-verbal cognition and task enjoyment.

Adrafinil for Mood and Motivation (14):

Non-sleep deprived individuals were given a 300mg dosage of Modafinil or a placebo and given a series of three, 50-minute testing sessions to test for: vigor, motivation, confidence, and mood.

The individuals who had taken the Modafinil had improved motivation, mood, and vigor. Some individuals who had been given the Modafinil were reportedly observed with some degree of overconfidence during the testing vs. those who had taken the placebo.

Adrafinil for wakefulness (15):

Male Wistar rats who had been given Modafinil were tested during sleep-wake stages every ten seconds compared to male Wistar rats who had been given methamphetamine and tested under the same conditions.

The rats who had been given Modafinil had longer sleep inhibition time compared to the rats that had been given methamphetamine. Modafinil also proved to have decreased effects of rebound locomotor activity, indicating that there wouldn’t be the typical “crash” as seen in other wake-promoting drugs.

Adrafinil as Therapy for Symptoms of ADD/ADHD (16):

Similar to previous tests conducted on Modafinil, various tests were performed around short-term memory, spatial planning, stop-signal inhibition, and visual memory. The difference in this test was that it was performed with both healthy volunteers and volunteers who had been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. As in previous tests, individuals from both groups were given Modafinil or a placebo.

The individuals diagnosed with ADD/ADHD had similar enhancements to healthy individuals. There were improvements in all categories including increased attention spans. If tested over a longer period of time this could prove that Modafinil may be a therapy for ADD and ADHD.

Cited Sources

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrafinil
  2. https://adrafinildepot.com/pages/adrafinil-faq
  3. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/adrafinil
  4. https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB08925
  5. https://www.drugsand.me/en/drugs/modafinil/#Dose-and-onset
  6. https://examine.com/supplements/adrafinil/
  7. https://adrafinildepot.com/pages/how-to-best-use-adrafinil
  8. https://adrafinildepot.com/pages/adrafinil-safety-and-side-effects
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11191710
  10. https://adrafinildepot.com/pages/adrafinil-benefits
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12537513
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12417966
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22820554
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15252824
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9353396
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15121488
  17. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1527-3458.1999.tb00100.x

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