Adrafinil is a potent nootropic supplement proven to enhance cognition in healthy individuals. It is non-toxic, and has few side effects when used as recommended.
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I am a chronic procrastinator when it comes to school. I always wait until the day before an exam to study. This results in me having to pull a 5+ hour study marathon at least once a week or so. The adrafinil keep me focused and awake the entire time. I even feel like I remember the material better for the test. Good stuff.David F
I take one every morning as soon as I wake up. By the time I am ready for work and out the door I feel much more awake and ready to take on the day!Mike B
Many people consider Adrafinil to be the most potent nootropic available that does not require prescription. It has been proven to enhance a wide range of cognitive functions including memory, focus, energy, and problem solving ability. It has also been shown to positively effect mood and increase levels of motivation. It is the perfect nootropic for students looking to pick up an extra edge in the classroom or employees who experience mental or physical fatigue during the work day.
Adrafinil was developed in France in the 1970’s by the French pharmaceutical company Louis Lafon Laboratories. At the time, the company was trying to design a novel nootropic. They wanted the nootropic to carry many of the benefits stimulants provide but without many of the serious or dangerous side effects including elevated heart rate, blood-pressure, and risk of dependency. The finished product was named Adrafinil.
Nearly two decades after development began, in 1986, Adrafinil was offered as a prescription treatment for narcolepsy in France. However, Adrafinil has not been approved by the FDA within the United States. It is currently unregulated, legal to possess and can be imported without a prescription.
Adrafinil acts as a prodrug for Modafinil. A prodrug is any substance which is administered in a less than its fully active form. After administration, the substance is converted to its active form by the body through the metabolic process. Simply put, your body turns Adrafinil into Modafinil after it has been consumed. This provides Adrafinil with almost identical benefits and effects when compared to Modafinil. However, since Adrafinil must be metabolized first, effects may not be felt for 60 minutes after consumption and many times aren’t quite as powerful as Modafinil.
Lafon Laboratories later developed Modafinil for direct consumption. By administering Modafinil directly, effects are realized more quickly and are more pronounced.
Instead of the United States wasting their time approving Adrafinil, they skipped right to Modafinil. Modafinil itself is approved by the FDA for treatment of many different wakefulness disorders including shift work sleep disorder, narcolepsy, and excessive daytime sleepiness. This led to Adrafinil being unrestricted at the same time Modafinil is restricted, despite the fact they have similar effects.
Adrafinil carries two main types of benefit. Adrafinil acts as a very mild stimulant and is able to increase physical/mental energy, focus, and attention. Effects such as these are why the FDA approved Modafinil for treatment of narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Modfainil has become extraordinarily popular among individuals working overnight shifts such as nurses and those who may get little sleep in-between shifts such as air traffic controllers. There is also research which suggests Adrafinil can enhance mood and motivation.
Adrafinil provides other benefits beyond increased, energy, focus, and mood. Other cognitive benefits attributed to Adrafinil include enhanced memory and problem solving skills. These benefits have been shown in not just sleep deprived people already operating at a cognitive deficit, but also completely normal, healthy, adults already operating at their base cognitive level.
Below is a comprehensive list of Adrafinil benefits backed by scientific research and studies. Please note, because Modafinil is commonly prescribed in the United States, the majority of studies were conducted with Modafinil. But as we have learned, Adrafinil is the prodrug to Modafinil, and provides almost identical benefits.
Adrafinil is an extremely potent nootropic. Besides prescription drugs, there may not be anything as effective for increasing energy, focus, memory, motivation, and general cognitive function. Additionally, the more powerful drugs carry higher risks including side effects, dependency, and permanent changes in brain chemistry.
If you are looking for a limitless super-drug, then Adrafinil is not for you. It is for people who are looking for an edge in life, whether for school or for work. Its popularity has risen dramatically among both college students and employees who work overnight shifts or need to be focused for long periods of time.
Adrafinil is an excellent study aid because it assists with the four main problems students have:
Adrafinil addresses all of these problems,giving students an edge when it is crunch time for an exam:
Adrafinil will help you study. It will help you pull your next all-nighter. If you are looking for something like Adderall which blasts you into the stratosphere and increases your focus by 200% you will be disappointed. Adrafinil is for those looking for something to give them a 20% to 50% edge that will make their night of studying more bearable and productive.
Even though Adrafinil can be very useful for students, it is also gaining popularity within the workplace. Some people need help staying awake during their overnight shift. Other people struggle with mental fatigue after staring at spreadsheets on their computer for 8 hours. The most popular workplace solution to these problems is caffeine. Workers gulp down cup after cup of coffee to keep their energy and focus levels as high as possible. Even though caffeine is the most popular solution, it is not the most effective. Regular caffeine use carries multiple problems:
Adrafinil, unlike caffeine, doesn’t have many of these negatives:
Adrafinil is becoming a very popular caffeine alternative to get through the work day. Despite caffeine being more popular, it is far less effective.
When considering use of Adrafinil, or any other nootropic, you should first consult your doctor. Adrafinil is a very serious nootropic and does carry risks. Discussing these risks with your doctor is important. It is always possible your doctor will prescribe you Modafinil or another effective alternative to Adrafinil. The first thing to consider when taking Adrafinil is the recommended dose. Always start with a lower dose of 200-300 mg per day. Do NOT exceed a 600mg dose in a given day. Even though the toxicity is low (which is discussed later in this article) the risk associated with mild or severe side effects increases along with the dose. Furthermore, many studies have found that a lower dose is just as effective as a higher dose in regards to enhancing cognitive abilities.
Another important issue to consider is length of use. It is VERY IMPORTANT to cycle Adrafinil usage. This means if you take Adrafinil on a daily basis for two weeks, you should then cease using it for two weeks. Extended daily use of Adrafinil can change the levels of certain liver enzymes which can lead to serious health complications. You should only take Adrafinil for extended periods of time under the supervision of a physician who can regularly measure liver enzyme levels.
Adrafinil works best when taken on an empty stomach. It is recommended to take Adrafinil immediately upon waking up with a glass of water. If possible, wait one hour before eating to increase its effectiveness. Not only will taking Adrafinil after eating dramatically decrease the effect you receive, it will also increase the likely-hood of nausea or an upset stomach.
Adrafinil should not be taken late in the afternoon or at night. It has a very long half-life and can cause insomnia when taken too late during the day.
The onset of Adrafinil is much slower when compared to many other stimulants. Since Adrafinil must be metabolized in the liver to Modafinil, it can take 60 minutes before the user starts to experience noticeable effects.
Once the Adrafinil does begin to take effect, the user will experience an increase in energy and focus. This increase is very gradual and can take an additional 60 minutes from when effects are first noticed. Once the effect reaches its peak, it usually stays there for 6-8 hours before decreasing gradually over 2 additional hours.
The heightened energy is a very “clean” feeling. Other stimulants such as coffee and Adderall can speed things up too much. This can lead to anxiety and racing thoughts which is actually counter-productive. Adrafinil simply makes you feel awake and makes thoughts flow clearly. It is easier to focus on the task at hand and recall any new information. You don’t feel like you are being put into over-drive.
Along with an increase in energy, the user often times experiences a small increase in mood and motivation. It is not uncommon to feel more compelled to do any work you know must get done. Procrastinating becomes more difficult.
If you got an adequate night of sleep and aren’t sleep deprived, there is no crash or come down. Sometimes you may still feel more focused or energized 12 to 14 hours after initial consumption. Some people have trouble sleeping the following night even when taking Adrafinil in the morning. If however, you were sleep deprived, and took the Adrafinil to feel energized, it may feel like a crash as the Adrafinil wears off. This is simply your body feeling the way it is supposed to after not getting any sleep.
Overall, Adrafinil is safe and well tolerated. The most significant risk associated with Adrafinil occurs during long term use. Daily use over extended periods have been shown to increase levels of enzymes in the liver which can dangerously effect liver function. For this reason, it is not recommended to take Adrafinil on a daily basis for more than three weeks without taking an extended break (at least one or two weeks). Additionally, due to this side effect, liver health should be monitored while taking Adrafinil. Always consult with your doctor before taking any nootropic including Adrafinil.
Mild side effects one may experience include back pain, stomach pain, nausea, skin irritation, diarrhea, and insomnia. More serious side effects include serious rash, allergic reaction, hives, blistering or peeling skin, swelling of the face, trouble swallowing or breathing, and shortness of breath. If any serious side effect occur you should seek immediate medical attention.
From December 1998 when Modafinil was first marketed to January 30, 2007 the FDA had received six cases of severe adverse skin reactions requiring hospitalization. While these incidents were reported from consuming Modafinil directly instead of Adrafinil, you should still be aware of the possibility of such an incident occurring.
The toxicity threshold for Adrafinil is moderately high. Clinical trials have been performed in which humans consumed as much as 1,200 mg/day for 7 to 21 straight days. One known incident of acute one-time overdose occurred at 4,500 mg but did not cause life threatening effects. As of 2004, the FDA reported no known cases involving Modafinil use alone. In 2008, a 15 year old female attempted suicide by consumption of 5,000 mg of Modafinil. She experienced extreme nausea, headaches, abdominal pain, mild tachycardia, and insomnia. However, no cardiovascular distress or failure in liver function occurred and a full recovery was made in three days with no lasting effects.
This is the opposite of what would be expected from typical stimulant overdose. Overdoses on stimulants generally involve increased heart rate and in extreme cases cardiovascular failure which can be fatal. Despite these high levels for toxicity, we recommend never taking more than 600mg in a single day. The higher the dose, the more likely side effects will occur.
Due to Modafinil’s effect on the dopamine system, the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) stated that risk of abuse and dependence should be highlighted and considered. However, research suggests Modafinil’s potential for abuse and addiction is significantly lower when compared to traditional stimulants. Additional research stated that Modafinil possesses no potential for addiction in drug-naïve, healthy individuals. This means there is very little potential for addiction in individuals which are not currently addicted to a stimulant type substance.
Creating a nootropic with effects similar to stimulants but without the same abuse potential was one of Lafon’s main goals. This is so important to note because other popular study drugs such as Adderall carry an extremely high potential for abuse and dependency. Becoming addicted to a stimulant such as Adderall can cause long term abuse which will lead to permanent changes in brain chemistry. Many former addicts have trouble concentrating and feel lethargic or zapped of energy without the drug. These are risks that are virtually non-existent in regards to Adrafinil consumption.
Adrafinil itself is not active and has no effects. Adrafinil is the prodrug to Modafinil meaning after you consume Adrafinil your body converts it into Modafinil. Modafinil is the active form, and only after being converted into Modafinil does Adrafinil begin to provide effects.
Despite an extremely large amount of research into how Modafinil interacts with neurotransmitter systems in the brain, its exact mechanism of action is not known. However, scientists believe Modafinil has the following effects:
If anyone is testing you for Modafinil and you have taken Adrafinil, you will test positive. Quite recently, Modafinil received attention due to use by several athletes. It was used by Diana Taurasi, a basketball player in 2010 and David Clinger, a cyclist in 2004. In fact, Barry Bond’s supplemental regimen, which included a plethora of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone, also included Modafinil. In 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency added Modafinil to their list of prohibited substances. So if for any reason you are being tested for a sporting event, it is best to steer clear of Adrafinil.
Traditionally, many different Governments have used amphetamines in combat situations where troops may be subject to conditions which include sleep deprivation or need to be focused and alert for extremely long periods of time. However, because of Modafinil’s more mild side effects when compared to amphetamines, militaries of several different countries are looking into Modafinil as an alternative.
The United States has already approved Modafinil for use by pilots on specific Air Force missions and is currently researching its uses in other areas. Prior research conducted on helicopter pilots administered a total of 600 mg of Modafinil in three separate doses. It found that the pilots were able to perform at non sleep deprived levels for up to 40 hours. The French Government admitted to using Modafinil during different covert military operations and the UK Ministry of Defense has spent over 300,000 pounds researching its potential uses. The Canadian Medical Association Journal stated astronauts used Modafinil on long term missions. In fact, on the international space station Modafinil is made available to the crew in case they need to optimize their performance during periods of fatigue.
Use of Modafinil by different governments provides additional evidence on its effectiveness. Soldiers and astronauts are using Modafinil to improve their cognitive abilities. Even though Modafinil is a controlled prescription drug, Adrafinil, the next best thing, is not. When used properly and responsibly, Adrafinil can be used to enhance study at school or work which you need to complete for your job.
Many of the studies and research cited are performed on Modafinil. Because Modafinil is a prescription drug, and is much more prevalent when compared to Adrafinil, all the current research is being conducted on Modafinil. But as stated in the beginning of this article, Adrafinil is the prodrug to Modafinil and their effects are nearly identical.
Below is a summary of some key studies performed on Modafinil:
1. One criticism of Modafinil is that it only improves cognitive function in sleep deprived individuals. People see it is approved by the FDA to treat narcolepsy and promote wakefulness. This leads them to believe it has no effect on individuals whom are not sleep deprived. People fail to consider the FDA only approves drugs intended to “diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent a disease”. Enhancing cognitive abilities in healthy people is not something the FDA would ever approve any drug for.
To determine if this criticism held any weight, a study was conducted in 2013. This study used completely healthy non-sleep deprived individuals. Participants were given either a placebo or a 200mg dose of Modafinil. They then completed tasks designed to measure creativity, memory, and problem solving abilities.
The results of the study were astonishing. The participants given Modafinil performed significantly better than those given a placebo on tasks relating to memory and problem solving. They also reported enjoying the activities more. Both groups performed similarly on tasks designed to measure creativity. (21)
2. A different study examined the effect 300mg of Modafinil had on participants. In this study a placebo or 300mg dose of Modafinil was administered to participants. All participants were non-sleep deprived, healthy adults. The participants attended three different 50 minute cognitive testing sessions. One session occurred before the Modafinil or placebo was administered, one occurred 90 minutes after ingestion, and the last one occurred 180 minutes after ingestion. Testing included not only subjective assessments of fatigue, mood, and motivation but cognitive assessments were also conducted.
The results were positive. Those administered the 300mg doses of Modafinil performed statistically better than those given the placebo on the cognitive assessments taken 90 and 180 minutes after ingestion. Additionally, they stated feeling less fatigued and more attentive during those sessions as well. (24)