Adrafinil vs Adderall, how does the pro-drug stack up

Adrafinil vs Adderall

What is Adrafinil?

Adrafinil is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. The official purpose for which medical professionals use it for is to keep elderly patients more alert and less sleepy. Another affect of this drug is that it boosts mental cognition, and it has been reported that it also can improve a person’s mood. Beyond that scope, some individuals use it for the purpose of staying awake over extended blocks of time, as in preparation for an exam, or for long work shifts. Because it has not been submitted to the FDA for approval, the FDA has not given a drug rating for Adrafinil, and is currently unregulated. Under the trade name Olmifon, Adrafinil was pulled from the market in September 2011, when the French government conducted a reassessment.
A more scientific explanation is that Adrafinil is a nootropic drug that cause the brain to produce modafinil. Modafinil is available under a prescription only, but does not need to be processed by the liver as Adrafinil does. The production of modafinil is what helps with cognitive functioning.

Adrafinil vs Adderall

Adrafinil is a better choice for those who have ADD or ADHD, as Adderall is specifically designed for those who have the disorder, and they will not get the desired effect that hey would with Adrafinil. Those who do not hve ADD or ADHD will find that they can use Adderall to increase their cognitive functioning and also to increase their ability to stay awake for extended lengths of time. However, Adderall is only be prescription, and does not produce as intense an effect as Adrafinil will. Adrafinil is easily obtained without a prescription, and has a more targeted effect.


In addition to increased awareness, loss of the need to sleep, and an increase in cognitive functioning, Adrafinil does not cause jitteriness, nor edginess when taken. There is also a lack of moodiness and hyperactivity that is often present with other medications that have the same or similar desired effects. Some who regularly use Adrafinil state

there is no withdrawal or coming down from it as the drug’s effects wear off, while there is with other drugs such as Adderall.

Side Effects

Adrafinil does have side effects, although they are not very pronounced in the beginning. With increased time, liver toxicity can result, but similar effects of liver toxicity is seen with extended use of acetaminophen. Longer term effects include facial muscle problems and the circulatory system. Heart problems that are pre-existing may become more pronounced after taking Adrafinil for an extended period of time. Blood pressure may see an increase while taking Adrafinil.


Adrafinil is taken to assist people with functioning in different situations where cognitive abilities at higher levels help to increase production speed while maintaining standard levels of quality, improve overall performance of tasks and duties, or extend levels of cognition and wakefulness for long periods of time. These uses help workers when facing an increase in production in a factory while keeping cognitive functioning at a high level, which helps to keep accidents at a minimum while increased production rates are maintained temporarily.
Those who need a boost in quality level will find that Adrafinil can help in maintaining high levels of quality work for the duration of the project, which can help in areas such as construction and home improvement occupations. Students needing to study for examinations are known to use Adrafinil for its benefits, helping them stay awake throughout the night which allows them to study. One of the effects of Adrafinil is that knowledge gained does not seep away like it often does with other medications that assist with staying alert when the medication has worn off.

User Reviews

Many who have used Adrafinil are satisfied with the effects they experienced while taking it. Very few state they have had any complications while taking it, or that they had any long term effects after discontinuing it. Some of the most often stated benefits included that there were no feelings of irritability as there often is with caffeine

supplements, and there was no loss of understanding of materials studied while studying after taking a dose in preparation for cramming for an exam.
A few reviewers stated they were concerned that little testing had been done on Adrafinil to see if there were any long term effects that were severe enough to warrant them to discontinue using the drug.

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Dosages that are most recommended are between 150 and 300 mg a day, most often taken in the morning, unless the intention is to stay up at night. When taken in the morning there is no ill effects regarding the ability to fall asleep later that night.
Adrafinil should not be taken by those who have liver or kidney disease, epilepsy, or who are pregnant or who may be pregnant without first determining that they are not. Alcoholic drinks should also not be consumed at the same time. Those who have high blood pressure or other heart conditions including MVP, should first consult with their primary care physician, and expect to be told that this drug should be avoided if at all possible.

Long-Term Effects

Long term use of Adrafinil is linked to the development of a facial muscle movement disorder, called orofacial dyskinesia. With this side effect, which is extremely rare, but also irreversible when it presents itself, is when the facial muscles repeatedly make the same movement. These movements are involuntary and are not controllable by the person exhibiting them. Orofacial dyskinesia is much more common in elderly patients. Standard medical advice when this side effect presents is to immediately discontinue the medication.
Other long term effects that people taking Adrafinil for extended periods of time can include liver and kidney damage, although there is very little information on this beyond the findings that similar damage results from taking acetaminaphen. What has been found is that the enzymes that are built up can be flushed out if the dosage is not taken every day, and is allowed to be flushed out of the body’s system.

Short-Term Effects

Short term effects include stomach upset, nausea,headache, fever or sweating, and anxiety. These often subside or become less pronounced as tolerance to the dosage is built by the person taking the drug.

Is Adrafinil Legal?

Adrafinil is not the only drug available that will help someone to stay awake for extended periods of time, although many others may not be legal for use for the same purposes. Currently, Adrafinil is legal in the USA, as it has not been placed in any of the Scheduled drugs lists by the FDA. In several European countries, Adrafinil is legal, although some require a prescription. France has discontinued its sale.

Adrafinil Liver Toxicity

There have been no real studies conducted regarding Adrafinil’s toxicity to the liver, but because it is excreted through the urine, there is very little doubt that the more often the drug is taken, the higher a person’s risk level would be. An absence of studies should not be taken to mean a drug is safe; care should be taken when taking any drug that symptoms are not ignored. One thing to be aware of is that years from now, liver failure could become more prevalent in current users of Adrafinil. To minimize this risk, as low a dose as possible should be taken.

Adrafinil vs Modafinil

Adrafinil is converted into Modafinil by the body, and while Modafinil is available as a supplement also, it is only available under a physician’s prescription. This legal requirement may make it more difficult to gain, but it may be worth it. Modafinil does not cause liver toxicity to build up as much as Adrafinil can. Those who need to take a supplement for an extended period of time might find it very beneficial to seek a doctor who will write them a prescription instead of using Adrafinil. Explaining that Adrafinil is legal, and can be obtained without a prescription, but that you are trying to avoid liver toxicity may cause your doctor to give you the prescription form you need to take to the pharmacy.
Both can cause similar side effects, such as anxiety, nausea, headache, and fever, but these may subside as tolerance to the drug is built. Modafinil is a slightly stronger drug that produces more pronounced effects. Both were developed by the same French pharmaceutical company, Group Lafon. While Adrafinil is banned in France now, the French government has used Modafinil as an aid to the Foreign Legion when facing sleep depriving conditions. Modafinil is also much more costly than Adrafinil.

Adrafinil History

The French pharmaceutical company that developed Adrafinil in the 1970’s did so to help combat sleepiness in elderly patients, as well as to improve their cognitive functioning. Group Lafon discontinued production of this drug when Modafinil was developed, however, other pharmaceutical companies are now making Adrafinil. Modafinil is the main metabolite in Adrafinil and produces the same effects, only stronger and begin much sooner after taking the drug.

Adrafinil Research

There is very little known from a scientific perspective on Adrafinil. There is little data collection in any official capacity. However, reviews are prolific online, and most show positive feedback for the drug. There is very little that explains why the French government took the drug off the market.

Final Thoughts

Adrafinil may seem like the perfect boost for many people, as it has many benefits and few drawbacks. The benefits most likely will outweigh the negative aspects for most. There is no edginess, loss of attention, and no down feeling when the medication is wearing off. Side effects are slightly worse overall than acetaminophen. There may be other effects that ma not present themselves for years, possibly decades, however. More studies should be conducted to determine what, if any side effects exist. For those who need help staying up all night on occasion, this should be a perfect, or nearly so, medication to use. For t hose who want to change shifts from daytime to nighttime, this may be the perfect solution to helping them adjust. Those who need to continue taking this drug to help them cope with the demands of working at night and then caring for family during the day might find that there are other, unexpected side effects that potential users will only be able to read about later on, after the fact. Moderation with any drug, especially one that has not been evaluated, would be wise advice to take.

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