The Premier Adrafinil Resource
Research-based information on everything about Adrafinil
Adrafinil is a research chemical that’s touted for its potential applications as a nootropic. It’s a prodrug, or a precursor, to modafinil — a prescription wakefulness agent that may also provide some cognition-enhancing benefits in healthy people [1, 2].
Adrafinil may provide the same benefits as modafinil because it metabolizes into modafinil, but the upside is that adrafinil is legal to purchase for research purposes in many countries without a prescription — unlike modafinil.
However, results with adrafinil may vary. While some researchers report that adrafinil has tremendous nootropic effects, others report that adrafinil is significantly weaker than other nootropics they’ve administered, like modafinil.
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As a prodrug, or a chemical precursor, to modafinil, adrafinil provides many of the same benefits that modafinil does.
They were both originally developed as eugeroics (wakefulness agents), prescribed for people who needed help staying awake during the day, notably including people with narcolepsy, sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. Both drugs have also been prescribed for shift workers who need to stay awake throughout their shift [3, 4].
However, modafinil itself also has a number of off-label uses. It’s sometimes prescribed for people with fatigue secondary to certain chronic diseases. It has also been used with some success to help with psychiatric and mood disorders [5, 6, 7, 8].
Many researchers, though, are interested in modafinil (and by association, adrafinil) for their potential nootropic, or cognition-enhancing, benefits.
Note, however, that much of the scientific research on adrafinil has been done in animals — elderly dogs, in particular. However, much more data from human studies is available on modafinil — which may also shed light on the potential effects of adrafinil, since it’s a prodrug of modafinil .
The key nootropic benefits that researchers may find from adrafinil are increased levels of activity and alertness, and better cognitive performance. Here’s a little bit more info about each.
As a precursor to modafinil, adrafinil has the potential to share many of its side effects. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, side effects of modafinil include :
- difficulty falling asleep or staying
- loss of appetite
- unusual tastes
- dry mouth
- excessive thirst
- tight muscles or difficulty moving
- back pain
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
- burning, tingling, or numbness of the skin
- difficulty seeing or eye pain”
The Library of Medicine also reports that the following severe side effects — that warrant an immediate call to your doctor or emergency care, depending on severity — may occur:
- peeling skin
- mouth sores
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- chest pain
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- frenzied, abnormally excited mood
- hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- thinking about killing or harming yourself”
In animal studies, there appear to be few notable side effects from adrafinil administration.
However, look on any nootropics forum and you will find a number of mixed reviews about adrafinil. Some people claim it’s too weak or has no effect at all, and others claim that it’s just as good as modafinil as a nootropic. This likely comes down to individual body chemistry.
Remember, though, this is an unregulated research chemical. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, under the age of 18, on any prescription medications, or have any medical conditions, you should avoid participating in adrafinil research unless you’ve received the OK from a trusted healthcare professional.
Adrafinil is a research chemical, not a supplement or a prescription medication. This makes it different from most “nootropics,” as most of them fall under the category of either dietary supplements or prescription medications.
Provided you’re a qualified researcher, you can legally purchase adrafinil without a prescription in most countries — including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In Australia, adrafinil requires a prescription.
As a research chemical, adrafinil has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Regardless, adrafinil’s legal status makes it an easy research nootropic to obtain, provided you’re a licensed researcher. Compared to modafinil, many researchers interested in nootropics may feel more comfortable choosing to conduct tests on adrafinil because it’s not a prescription medication.
Researchers should note, however, that adrafinil is a banned substance in athletic competitions, as determined by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It has been banned since 2004, so if you’re conducting research on athletes who participate in organized or competitive sports at any level, adrafinil should be off the table. Modafinil, which adrafinil converts to as it’s metabolized, has also been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency .
Adrafinil is structurally very similar to modafinil, with the only difference being a hydroxyl group at its terminal amine end .
When the chemical is metabolized in the body, it converts into modafinil. However, because this conversion takes time to occur, it takes longer to feel the effects of adrafinil than it does modafinil. Typically, the effects of adrafinil may be noticeable about an hour after taking it on an empty stomach.
Modafinil is thought to derive its nootropic effects from its action as a unique type of dopamine reuptake inhibitor. As a modafinil prodrug — or precursor — adrafinil also derives its nootropic effects from this action. These drugs allow for higher circulating levels of dopamine in the brain and nervous system, which helps to explain many of their beneficial nootropic effects .
Its half-life is just one hour, so it metabolizes fairly quickly. However, part of the reason its half-life is so short may be because it metabolizes into modafinil, which has a half-life of 12-15 hours [18, 19].
Adrafinil is NOT an adequate substitute for modafinil, which is a prescription drug. Prescription modafinil has much higher specificity than adrafinil, which can be affected drastically by a number of factors that may interact with the conversion of adrafinil to modafinil.
Where To Buy Adrafinil Online
Although there are several sites where you can purchase adrafinil for research use, we recommend one source above the rest: Science.bio.
Science.bio offers adrafinil in liquid and powder form to be used for research purposes, and there are several reasons we recommend this vendor:
- Quality control. Science.bio is meticulous about quality control and ingredient sourcing. Not only do they source materials of the highest possible quality, they also put each batch of these ingredients through rigorous third-party and in-house testing before making them available for purchase. Each product is tested for purity, identification, structure, heavy metals and contaminants by a third party testing company, and these results are then confirmed with in-house testing. Finally, Science.bio makes the third party reports readily available on their website so you can review them yourself.
- Worldwide shipping. Science.bio offers shipping around the world, making it easier to obtain research nootropics even if you don’t live in the US. Depending on the type of shipping you choose, you can receive your product from an international order in as little as 3 days with UPS Expedited, FedEx Priority or DHL Express. To save the most money, choose USPS First Class International Shipping — which can take up to six weeks for delivery normally.
- Customer service. In the United States, you can get free shipping for orders over $100, which can help you save some money. Additionally, you can get 10% off of your order for signing up for their email list, and they offer the option to pay with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Altcoin. They also offer returns or refunds on unopened products within 30 days of purchase, and they’re very open to comments, concerns and questions from their customers.
- History and reputation. Because of their focus on quality control, transparent marketing and excellent customer service, Science.bio has earned a reputation as a stellar vendor for research nootropics.
Here’s a quick reference guide to what we know about adrafinil’s legal status around the world:
- United States: Adrafinil is not FDA-approved, but nor is it a controlled substance. It can be purchased legally in the US for research purposes.
- Canada: Like in the US, adrafinil is not a scheduled prescription drug in Canada. You can purchase it legally for research uses.
- United Kingdom: The UK, like Canada and the US, does not classify adrafinil as a prescription drug. Rather, it’s a research chemical that can be purchased legally.
- Australia: In Australia, adrafinil is a protected prescription drug. You need a prescription from a medical professional in order to obtain it legally.
- New Zealand: Adrafinil is currently not a prescription medication in New Zealand. Back in 2005, however, it was recommended to become a prescription medication due to its potential for use as a party drug. As far as we can tell, though, it is still unscheduled in New Zealand.
- Germany: Adrafinil does not appear to require a prescription in Germany.
Information about other countries isn’t readily available online, so if you’re interested in buying adrafinil for research purposes and you don’t live in one of the countries above, you’ll need to do some digging.
Adrafinil was discovered in France in 1974 by a pharmaceutical company called Laboratoires Lafon, and was available as a prescription drug in France under the brand name Olmifon beginning in 1984.
It was prescribed as a eugeroic, or a wakefulness agent. Adrafinil was often prescribed to help elderly people with alertness and wakefulness, in particular. However, it was often used by shift workers to help them stay awake at work as well.
Surprisingly, adrafinil was discovered two years before modafinil was, but once modafinil entered the market, interest in adrafinil seemed to drop off significantly.
Laboratoires Lafon was acquired by Cephalon Labs, the manufacturers of the brand name modafinil drug Provigil, in 2001, and they chose to discontinue production of Olmifon in 2011.
In 2004, adrafinil and modafinil were added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances for competitive athletics.
Now, adrafinil is still produced by other manufacturers and — in most developed countries (with a few exceptions, like Australia) — is legal to possess without a prescription for research purposes.
However, unlike dietary supplements, it’s not readily available for purchase. You will need to buy it through specialty research chemical suppliers, like Science.bio.
Adrafinil. Just. Works.
Adrafinil may be a research nootropic you’re interested in studying, if you seek the cognition-enhancing benefits it provides in research studies.
Adrafinil actually converts into modafinil in your body, so it provides many of the same nootropic effects. However, the strength of its effect can vary between individuals due to each person’s unique body chemistry.
Regardless, adrafinil is a great choice if you’re just dipping your toes into nootropics research. Animal studies show tremendous promise for adrafinil in the realms of alertness and productivity.
Interested in doing some research on adrafinil? Make sure to buy it from a trusted, reputable vendor, like Science.bio.
- Schallhorn CS. Vigilance Aid Use and Aircraft Carrier Landing Performance in Pilots of Tactical Aircraft. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2020;91(6):518-524. doi:10.3357/AMHP.5532.2020
- Caldwell JA, Caldwell JL, Smith JK, Brown DL. Modafinil's effects on simulator performance and mood in pilots during 37 h without sleep. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2004;75(9):777-784.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. Modafinil. MedlinePlus website. February 15, 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a602016.html
- Ameline A, Gheddar L, Raul JS, Kintz P. Identification of adrafinil and its main metabolite modafinil in human hair. Self-administration study and interpretation of an authentic case. Forensic Sci Res. 2020;5(4):322-326. Published 2020 Jan 29. doi:10.1080/20961790.2019.1704482
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- Rabkin JG, McElhiney MC, Rabkin R, McGrath PJ. Modafinil treatment for fatigue in HIV/AIDS: a randomized placebo-controlled study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2010;71(6):707-715. doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05171bro
- Peñaloza RA, Sarkar U, Claman DM, Omachi TA. Trends in on-label and off-label modafinil use in a nationally representative sample. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(8):704-706. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2807
- Studzinski CM, Araujo JA, Milgram NW. The canine model of human cognitive aging and dementia: pharmacological validity of the model for assessment of human cognitive-enhancing drugs. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005;29(3):489-498. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2004.12.014
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- Siwak CT, Gruet P, Woehrlé F, Muggenburg BA, Murphey HL, Milgram NW. Comparison of the effects of adrafinil, propentofylline, and nicergoline on behavior in aged dogs. Am J Vet Res. 2000;61(11):1410-1414. doi:10.2460/ajvr.2000.61.1410
- Billiard M, Broughton R. Modafinil: its discovery, the early European and North American experience in the treatment of narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia, and its subsequent use in other medical conditions. Sleep Med. 2018;49:69-72. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2018.05.027
- Milhaud CL, Klein MJ. Effets de l'adrafinil sur l'activité nocturne du macaque rhésus (Macaca mulatta) [The effect of adrafinil on the nocturnal activity of the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta)]. J Pharmacol. 1985;16(4):372-380.
- Siwak CT, Gruet P, Woehrlé F, et al. Behavioral activating effects of adrafinil in aged canines. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000;66(2):293-300. doi:10.1016/s0091-3057(00)00188-x
- Milgram NW, Siwak CT, Gruet P, Atkinson P, Woehrlé F, Callahan H. Oral administration of adrafinil improves discrimination learning in aged beagle dogs. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000;66(2):301-305. doi:10.1016/s0091-3057(00)00175-1
- Siwak CT, Tapp PD, Milgram NW. Adrafinil disrupts performance on a delayed nonmatching-to-position task in aged beagle dogs. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003;76(1):161-168. doi:10.1016/s0091-3057(03)00211-9
- Young JW, Geyer MA. Action of modafinil--increased motivation via the dopamine transporter inhibition and D1 receptors?. Biol Psychiatry. 2010;67(8):784-787. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.12.015
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 3033226, Adrafinil. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Adrafinil. Accessed Apr. 26, 2021.
- Milgram NW, Callahan H, Siwak, C. Adrafinil: a novel vigilance promoting agent. CNS Drug Reviews. 1999;5: 193-212. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.1999.tb00100.x