Everything you need to know about Adrafinil

Written on January 18, 2023 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci

Adrafinil was used in France to promote cognitive functions like alertness, attention, positive moods, and wakefulness.

Adrafinil is one of the few nootropics that can give you what you’re looking for in terms of brainpower value without being too much of a hassle to get ahold of, in comparison to other known nootropics on the market, like Modafinil and fladrafinil (CRL-40,941).

There are some things we know for sure with Adrafinil thanks to formal research but this is limited.

There are still many positive effects that remain unproven through formal research, although the crowd that uses this chemical as nootropic would suggest otherwise; we’ll find out more later.

What type of Smart Drug is Adrafinil?

Adrafinil is a eugeroic, meaning that people take this compound to help promote wakefulness, along with other things we’ll get into later on - it achieves this by stimulating your nervous system.

Its wakefulness and concentration effects are close to what you can experience with Modafinil, another well-known chemical that is often used for the same purpose as Adrafinil.

.... Though much more popular.

A small amount of Adrafinil consumed is actually converted into modafinil in your liver, which is why users experience similar results.

What does Adrafinil do in the brain?

As mentioned, Adrafinil becomes active in the liver by converting to modafinil, though only a small amount of it becomes this compound, a large majority becomes entirely inactive and useless.

So the required amount of Adrafinil needed to achieve similar effects of Modafinil needs to be much, much larger - though I’ll get more into this a little later on.

The Adrafinil itself (the stuff that gets leftover) has a half-life of only 1 hour; the Modafinil part has a 12-15-hour half-life, so you could be feeling the effects many hours after dosing.

Since Adrafinil produces an amount of Modafinil, it has a similar effect on you, and more of these chemicals will be produced as a result:

  • Dopamine
  • Serotonin
  • Histamine
  • Glutamate
  • Norepinephrine

Though some of these things have not fully been medically approved, a lot of them have been linked with Adrafinil because of its close relation to Modafinil.

As mentioned, there is sadly limited research on this nootropic.

Like there are many different nootropics out there.

So a lot of what I know about Adrafinil is based on the formal research done on Modafinil.

As well as what other people buzz about on nootropic related forums.

Helps with wakefulness

In theory, Adrafinil could be used to treat narcolepsy, since that’s one of the main reasons why people use modafinil, outside of the nootropic factors.

Although you may not have narcolepsy or any other similar sleep disorder for that matter, the wait this drug may help narcolepsy could be beneficial to you, as it helps to promote wakefulness to avoid drowsiness and random tacks’ of sleep found in narcoleptics.

This is obviously great for anyone looking to work long hours to help finish off work, school, or personal project.

Potentially helps with depression

Early studies in 1999 suggested that Adrafinil may help to treat depression thanks to the results of a placebo-controlled trial on 70 elderly people.

Each person went under 2 months of treatment which resulted in plenty of positive feedback, many of the participants found that the Adrafinil had noticeable improvements in their symptoms of mild depression.

Though Adrafinil may indirectly help with depression since it promotes increased energy which can help with the feelings of lowness that are related to depression itself.

So although it may not directly help, it can alleviate some of the psychomotor symptoms.

Not much work has been done on the effects of Adrafinil on depression since then as there are better chemicals available that can help treat such a mental illness.

It is at least something to look forward to if you plan on using adrafinil for cognitive boost and you currently struggle with a mild case of depression yourself.

Improvement in mood

As you may remember from the list just above, Adrafinil increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which are two known major neurotransmitters that help to regulate the feeling of well-being.

Giving a boost in mood, similar to what people experience with modafinil, many people agree that adrafinil can consistently help to improve their mood whilst they go about their day to day and can even give them a better view of the work they’re carrying out.

Which makes them far more likely to finish the tasks at hand - and enjoy their time while doing so.

Great for concentration and learning

One of the main reasons, why adrafinil has become such a loved nootropic, is because it helps to increase feelings of concentration which will further help with your ability to learn whatever it is you´re studying or at least allow you to finish the projects you’re currently working on.

What are the brain benefits of using Adrafinil?

Increased energy

Since adrafinil is just like modafinil in the way it helps to treat narcolepsy - where it is found to be most effective - promoting wakefulness thus giving the user much more energy to warrant their body being awake.

It helps to combat drowsiness throughout the day, which helps to give you the opportunity to get on with your tasks, without effecting your nighttime sleep (assuming you haven’t taken it too late in the day).

Promotes alertness

As it helps to increase energy, thanks to promoting wakefulness and giving you the ability to stay awake throughout the day, it also helps to promote alertness as you’re much more in tune with whatever you’re doing.

Since you won’t feel any sort of sleepiness or drowsiness.

Increased Task enjoyment

I’ve already discussed that adrafinil is great for promoting concentrating and learning, again since the adrafinil has affected you in the way of making sure you’re not sleepy, you find it much easier to get on with your work.

On top of this, you will find that you will also enjoy the work you’re doing due to the increased dopamine and serotonin your brain is experiencing.

Basically, anything you do after dosing will be much more enjoyable (or at least tolerable, no matter how many nootropics you take washing the dishes is never going to be fun).

Task enjoyment is also associated with better performance, another awesome benefit that will help you to smash your goals.

Great for work memory

Since you’re concentrating more on your task, thanks to your energy levels and alertness on the rise, it only makes sense that you also find it easier to better pay attention to your work, which will lead you into better retaining the information you’re reading.

Essentially, you’ll get to reduce your forgetfulness whilst improving information recall.

Alongside the other benefits discussed.

What are the side effects?

Just like modafinil, there are many short-term side effects one can experience, even if you dose it properly, adrafinil can still have some negative effects on your body - these effects usually subside once the chemicals have left your body.

These can be things like:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Mouth Dryness
  • Stomach pain
  • Skin irritation
  • Stress
  • Nausea
  • Aggression
  • Restfulness

If you’re familiar with modafinil, you may see some similarities in the side effects, which is understandable since they are very similar nootropics.

There seem to be no long-term side effects that have been reported alongside research with adrafinil except one user who developed abnormal facial movements after taking a high dosage of 900 mg/day for 10months straight.

These symptoms did not improve after 4 months until they took dopamine-lowering medication.

This case is very unique and was only a result because of long overuse.

What's the best dosage for cognition?

The standard dosage for adrafinil was reported to be 600-1,200mg.

This was for the purpose of treating narcolepsy, and the standard procedure would be to take 600mg twice a day, once in the morning and once at midday.

Taking it any later would impair your sleep, which is to be expected since this nootropic was primarily used to treat narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder that causes drowsiness and may cause people to fall asleep randomly throughout the day.

If you wanted the brainpower affects from this nootropic, I would suggest you dose the same way, since I’ve already discussed, the alertness and wakeful aspect that the chemical gives to help narcolepsy will also give you other cognitive improvements such as a boost in mood, increased energy, increased concentration, more enjoyable learning.

How does Adrafinil compare to Modafinil and Phenibut?

Comparing Adrafinil to Modafinil

Since I compared adrafinil to modafinil all throughout this article, I’ll keep it short: Adrafinil is essentially a weaker version of modafinil.

Though its easier to get a hold of and it still brings about the same effects that modafinil does - if your dose high enough.

Adrafinil converts a small amount if itself to Modafinil having consumption once it’s found its way into your liver.

To summarise, it’s essentially a weaker version of modafinil.

Comparing Adrafinil to Phenibut

Now let’s compare it to Phenibut, a nootropic typically stacked (combined) with modafinil.

Whilst Adrafinil is a wakefulness and cognitive enhancer.

Phenibut is a popular nootropic known to reduce anxiety.

It is individually used to enhance sleep quality, memory, and cognitive performance and it is a common chemical found in my nootropic stacks, usually for memory purposes.

As well as other stacks designed to enhance one’s mood, reduce stress and anxiety levels.

It was first designed to treat PTSD as well as other problems a lot of us face such as insomnia, depression, and stuttering.

Can you stack Adrafinil with other Nootropics for better effects?

Although there is a lack of good information surrounding Adrafinil, I want to go over a common compound, Modafnil finds itself being linked with; Phenibut.

The known workings behind Adrafinil and Phenibut stack are somewhat unknown - though if we took a more common stack, Modafinil, and Phenibut, into consideration we could learn more about Adrafinil and Phenibut together.

How Modafinil and Phenibut stack works

Modafinil and Phenibut are commonly used (stacked) together because of what they bring to the table when used.

Phenibut helps to lower anxiety levels as well as lift mood and free up mental energy whilst Modafinil promotes wakefulness and sharpens concentration and performance - resulting in a great deal of productivity.

When put together, it helps the individual power through their work whilst feeling good about doing so, generally, you will experience a sense of euphoria or excitement when using this stack.

What this means for Adrafinil + Phenibut stack

Why should you care about the Modafinil and Phenibut stack?

Well as you’ve discovered, modafinil and adrafinil are very closely related, so there might be a stacking opportunity with adrafinil and phenibut, where you may even manage to feel the same positive effects mentioned.

Now, this goes without saying, you should try this stack at your own risk, there hasn’t been too much research into this particular stack like there has been with modafinil.

And in terms of other stacks, again there is limited research on this whole topic, try anything with caution and make sure you’re being safe anytime you mix compounds together.

What is the legality of Adrafinil?


As of 2019, you no longer need a reason to possess Adrafinil in the UK, meaning that you can get it over the counter (or from an online store) if you wanted to acquire this nootropic.


In the US, adrafinil is legal to buy and to use for your own personal use, just like in the UK, you do not need any sort of reason to acquire Adrafinil under its current legal status as of 2020.


Adrafinil is considered to be an unregulated drug, so consumers are free to purchase and use the product however they see fit, they are also allowed to use the compound for research or even important small quantities of it from outside of Canda, such as countries like the US.


Unlike the other countries on this list, The Department of Health and Ageing’s Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia has unfortunately categorized Adrafinil as a reason only compound.

So you will need a valid reason to obtain Adrafinil legally in Australia.


Generally, Adrafinil seems like a really great nootropic if you’re someone who is looking to get a lot of brain benefits that can help with your work or day-to-day life.

If you’re looking for increased focus, more energy, better memory alongside other benefits we’ve discussed in this article, then this is certainly the nootropic for you.

When comparing Adrafinil to Modafinil, it seems like Adrafinil is a weaker version of Modafinil and requires a much higher dosage to get similar effects; so in most cases, it would be smart just to use Modafinil instead.

With that being said, Modafinil is not legally obtainable in a lot of countries without a real reason, making Adrafinil a good alternative if you’re wanting extra brainpower to help with your day-to-day life.

The only real downside I see is lack of research, a lot of things are left up for speculations which are unfortunate, though thanks to its close link with modafinil, we at the very least can have some strong guesswork on what the causes of Adrafinil are, good and bad.