How to Take Adrafinil | 16 Quick Tips and Tricks

adrafinil quick tips

Ethan Thorne

Last Updated February 9, 2022

The net is rife with conflicting information on how to take adrafinil properly. If you’re a researcher looking to conduct a study with this nootropic compound, this guide on administering adrafinil is for you.

Adrafinil is a novel pharmaceutical that was formerly available under the proprietary name Olmifon and used as a vigilance-promoting and mood-enhancing agent in elderly patients.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of how adrafinil can be dosed in a research setting, and offer 16 quick tips and tricks for administering the compound. The purpose of this guide is to raise awareness about this research chemical and inform the design of study protocols.

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Disclaimer: The contents of are for informational and educational purposes only. We do not provide legal advice. Likewise, we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician prior to consuming Adrafinil or related nootropics. Your access to is subject to our full Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

What Is Adrafinil?

Adrafinil is a novel stimulant that was synthesized by Louis Lafon Laboratories in France in the 1970s [1]. It was marketed as Olmifon throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and its primary use was to promote wakefulness in elderly patients [2].

Adrafinil is a “eugeroic,” meaning it is a substance that promotes wakefulness. It works by stimulating the central nervous system and upregulating the neurochemicals involved in wakefulness while down-regulating those involved in sleep [1].

Adrafinil is a prodrug of modafinil, which means it is metabolized into modafinil in the liver. While there are a number of human studies, published in French, that indicate adrafinil has clinical efficacy as a vigilance-promoting agent, its main metabolite modafinil has been much more widely studied. Animal studies have shown that modafinil is “much more active” than adrafinil [3], and human studies have shown that modafinil is much more potent than adrafinil [1].

As Lafon released modafinil in France in 1994 under the proprietary name “Modiodal,” Olmifon began falling out of favor with clinicians. Modiodal became Lafon’s top-selling product and was marketed and sold worldwide as a treatment for sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder [1].

In the early 2000s, the Lafon Group was acquired by Cephalon France, which gained worldwide rights for both Olmifon and Modiodal. However, the French medical authorities withdrew marketing permission for Olmifon and Cephalon voluntarily discontinued its production and commercialization in 2011 [1].

Generic versions of adrafinil continue to be produced by a number of companies worldwide and it remains available as a research chemical in the United States and across much of the world.


Benefits of adrafinil

Most clinical studies involving adrafinil have focused on vigilance-related disorders in elderly populations and have been conducted in France and published in French. As noted by Milgram et al., the results of these studies show—with a remarkable degree of consistency—that adrafinil not only has efficacy as a vigilance-promoting agent in elderly patients but that it lacks the adverse effects commonly caused by other psychostimulants [1].

For instance, a 90-day study by Israel et al. found that elderly test subjects (over 65 years old) who took 900 mg/d of adrafinil experienced [4]:

  • Improved vigilance
  • Increased attention span
  • Enhanced powers of recall
  • More energy

Likewise, a separate trial by Kohler and Lubin found that test subjects who received the same amount of adrafinil (900 mg/d) reported [5]:

  • Lower anxiety
  • Higher levels of concentration
  • Improvements in vigilance

In other words, there is clear empirical evidence that adrafinil is an effective eugeroic and has cognitive-enhancing potential.

Adrafinil Side Effects and Safety

A review of clinical trials conducted with adrafinil to date suggests that this research chemical has a favorable safety profile [1, 4, 5]. Based on all available data, it has not been linked to any fatal overdoses or long-term side effects. However, Olmifon’s marketing permission was withdrawn due to what the French medical authorities described as a “high risk-to-benefit ratio” and a risk of “adverse effects.” In this section, we’ll illuminate these potential side effects of adrafinil administration.

Perhaps the most comprehensive list of adrafinil’s side effects comes from the Olmifon product summary published in French by Cephalon France [6]. This document lists adrafinil’s side effects as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Gastralgia
  • Rashes
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Tremors
  • Transient episodes of agitation, confusion, aggression, or psychic excitement
  • Oral-facial dyskinesias

According to the product summary, these side effects were dose-dependent and often “resolved spontaneously” when the dose was adjusted or treatment was discontinued. The only real cause for concern is oral-facial dyskinesias, which is a permanent condition, though thankfully exceptionally rare [6].

In terms of toxicity, relevant animal research [7, 8, 9] found that adrafinil is non-toxic at typical dosage levels and that fatalities in dogs only occur at doses of 200 mg/kg. According to the summary, “no case of adrafinil overdose has been reported,” though it is worth bearing in mind that this summary was published in 2011 [6].

Cephalon France did caution that adrafinil should not be taken by people who are pregnant or who have any of the following conditions [6]:

  • Epilepsy
  • Severe hepatic impairment
  • Severe renal impairment
  • People who are pregnant regardless of the term

Having reviewed the main side effects and safety concerns of adrafinil, we’ll now turn our attention to how test subjects can be administered adrafinil effectively.


How to Take Adrafinil Effectively | 16 Quick Tips and Tricks

In this section, we’ll offer 16 quick tips on proper adrafinil administration. Researchers conducting studies on the effectiveness of adrafinil should be aware of these tips when designing studies and protocols because they could influence the results.

1. Dose appropriately

Researchers should ensure that they use an appropriate adrafinil dosage when designing their research protocols. According to the Olmifon product summary, adrafinil was commonly prescribed to elderly patients using the following guidelines [6]:

  • 2 to 4 tablets (600 mg to 1200 mg) daily
  • Split into two doses: half in the morning and half at noon

That dosing regimen has also been the one most commonly used in human trials on adrafinil [1], with several trials using a 900 mg/d dosing schedule [4, 5].

2. Consider split dosing

Split dosing means dividing the total daily dose in half and taking half in the morning and then the other half at noon. This prevents common side effects associated with high doses (such as tremors and insomnia) and extends the benefits (such as wakefulness) for a longer period. A review of the data from clinical trials involving adrafinil shows that split dosing is not common and most researchers use a single-dose design for their study [1]. However, this approach should still be considered in the case of test subjects who experience side effects from a single-dosing schedule.

3. Be flexible with dosing schedules

Researchers should be flexible when it comes to dosing schedules and adjust them downwards if test subjects experience adverse effects such as insomnia or increased agitation. The most common course of action is to simply reduce the dosage. For example, during a multicenter, placebo-controlled study by Defrance et al. [16 in 1] just three out of 23 test subjects experienced side effects and in just one case the daily dose had to be reduced.

4. Adrafinil should be administered on an empty stomach

Per the Olmifon product summary, adrafinil is best consumed on an empty stomach. Adrafinil’s absorption half-life is 12 min ± 3 min and maximum plasma concentration is reached in 0.90 ± 0.2 h, meaning that adrafinil is rapidly absorbed in the intestinal tract, when taken on an empty stomach [6].

5. Adrafinil should be administered early in the day

As adrafinil can interrupt sleep, test subjects may experience insomnia if they ingest adrafinil too late in the day. Therefore, researchers should ensure that test subjects ingest adrafinil prior to noon to minimize the risk of trouble sleeping at night.

6. Consider sleep schedules

Adrafinil may interrupt subjects’ regular sleep schedules. Adrafinil is not as powerful or as potent as modafinil, but it can still interfere with sleep, even if subjects are ingesting it earlier in the day.

To avoid issues with sleep, test subjects should engage in good sleep hygiene practices like observing a proper sleep schedule. Experiments should be designed to allow test subjects to use a lower dose if it seems to be interfering with their sleep.

7. Remember to eat

Both modafinil and adrafinil can act as appetite suppressants. Test subjects may not feel hungry the same way that they normally do and that it may affect their eating habits. Test subjects should eat normally throughout the day, even if they do not feel hungry. They should eat meals at the same time that they normally do to minimize potential side effects of adrafinil like headaches and nausea.

8. Drink water

Test subjects may forget to drink enough liquids throughout a day on which they ingest adrafinil. They should stay hydrated and be given the opportunity to drink frequently throughout the day.

9. Look out for overdose symptoms

All of the available evidence suggests that adrafinil is generally well-tolerated, but researchers must still pay attention for signs of overdose in test subjects. According to the Olmifon product summary, the most common signs of adrafinil overdose are [6]:

  • Agitation
  • Excitement
  • Confusion
  • Aggressiveness
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings in people with manic depression

Researchers should regularly monitor the psychomotor state of test subjects and adjust the doses as required.

10. Refrain from alcohol consumption

As adrafinil is metabolized in the liver, alcohol consumption coupled with adrafinil intake could place extra strain on that organ and potentially lead to health issues. Therefore, test subjects who participate in adrafinil research should not consume alcohol while adrafinil is still in the system.

11. Effective planning for productivity

In the existing research, there is strong evidence that adrafinil has cognitive-enhancing potential as a nootropic [1]. In other words, it may enhance the work output and productivity of test subjects who participate in research. Therefore, researchers should help test subjects set themselves up for success and benefit from the period of potentially enhanced work potential.

Test subjects may be guided towards making a plan of the work that they would like to accomplish the night before they use adrafinil. That way, their focus can be directed towards useful tasks when they are experiencing adrafinil’s effects.

12. Caffeine may enhance adrafinil’s effects

There has been little research on the effects of adrafinil when used in combination with caffeine. However, it is well known that caffeine itself has nootropic effects. It is considered a performance enhancer to the point where its use has been restricted by the U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) because it is seen as a performance-enhancing drug [10]. The use of caffeine with adrafinil may provide synergistic benefits—which indeed may warrant separate adrafinil research.

13. Do not administer adrafinil in conjunction with other nootropics

Besides the potential combination of adrafinil and caffeine, in typical scenarios, it is prudent to refrain from combining adrafinil with other wakefulness agents or nootropic substances. While there is no direct research on the effect of combining adrafinil with other nootropics, it is likely unwise to do so.
Under no circumstances should test subjects mix adrafinil with modafinil. The evidence suggests that these work on similar pathways in the nervous system, so it is safer for test subjects to receive either adrafinil or modafinil, but not both [1].

14. Subjects’ creativity may be interrupted

Adrafinil has been found to increase focus, but some test subjects have been observed to underperform on creative tasks following adrafinil administration. While we are not aware of any research on the relationship between adrafinil and creativity, researchers should bear in mind that adrafinil may inhibit subjects’ creativity.

15. Monitor subjects’ alkaline phosphatase levels

In the Olmifon summary sheet, researchers are advised to monitor alkaline phosphatase levels in test subjects in cases where adrafinil treatment is prolonged [6].

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Taking Adrafinil Properly | Verdict?

Adrafinil is a promising research chemical that has proven highly beneficial for elderly subjects struggling with age-related issues related to vigilance. Compared with the volume of research on modafinil, little is known about adrafinil’s long-term effects or its cognitive enhancing potential.

We hope that the above tips and tricks can aid researchers looking to explore adrafinil’s potential. These 16 tips should inform the design of experiments and dosing protocols and help researchers unlock the full potential benefits offered by adrafinil.

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  1. Milgram, N. W., Callahan, H., & Siwak, C. (1999). Adrafinil: a novel vigilance promoting agent. CNS Drug Reviews, 5(3), 193-212.
  2. (n.d.). Adrafinil (Compound).
  3. Chariot, J., Appia, F., Vaille, C., & Rozé, C. (1987). Effect of modafinil on pancreatic exocrine secretion in rats. A comparison with adrafinil and related drugs. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, 1(4), 243-252.
  4. Israel, L., Fondarai, J., Lubin, S., Salin, B., & Hugonot, R. (1989). Olmifon et patients âgés ambulatoires: efficacité, versus placebo, de l'adrafinil sur l'éveil dans les activités de la vie quotidienne [Olmifon and elderly outpatients: efficacy of adrafinil, versus placebo, on wakefulness in day-to-day activities]. Psychologie Médicale, 21(8), 1235-1255.
  5. Kohler, F., & Lubin, S. (1990). Etude, en médecine générale de l'intérêt thérapeutique d'Olmifon chez des malades présentant des symptomes précoces de vieillissement cérébral handicapant leur activité quotidienne: étude ouverte pragmatique chez 304 patients [General medical study of the therapeutic benefits of Olmifon in patients presenting early symptoms of cerebral aging that hinder their day-to-day activities: open pragmatic study in 304 patients]. La Vie Médicale (1969), 71(8), 335-344.
  6. OLMIFON, comprimé pelliculé, 2011/02/21 | RESUME DES CARACTERISTIQUES DU PRODUIT [OLMIFON, film-coated tablet, 02/21/2011 | SUMMARY OF PRODUCT CHARACTERISTICS]. (2021). Retrieved 26 November 2021, from
  7. Siwak, C. T., Tapp, P. D., & Milgram, N. W. (2003). Adrafinil disrupts performance on a delayed nonmatching-to-position task in aged beagle dogs. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 76(1), 161-168.
  8. Siwak, C. T., & Callahan, H. (2000). Adrafinil: effects on behavior and cognition in aged canines. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 24(5), 709-726
  9. Saletu, B., Grünberger, J., Linzmayer, L., & Stöhr, H. (1986). Pharmaco-EEG, psychometric and plasma level studies with two novel alpha-adrenergic stimulants CRL 40476 and 40028 (adrafinil) in elderlies. New Trends in Experimental & Clinical Psychiatry, 2(1), 5-31.
  10. 2019-20 NCAA Banned Substances. Retrieved from

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