Adrafinil vs. Noopept? These two nootropic agents demonstrate somewhat similar cognitive benefits, so it may be difficult for researchers to choose the direction they want to take their research in.
Adrafinil is a eugeroic agent that is the prodrug form of modafinil, while Noopept is the brand name of a popular nootropic and neuroprotective agent in the racetam family.
Inside this guide, we discuss the unique differences between these two nootropics. Pricing, benefits, and more are covered.
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What Is Adrafinil?
Adrafinil is a compound that is classified as a research chemical in the United States. It is a prodrug of the eugeroic (wakefulness promoting) drug modafinil, meaning that it is metabolized into modafinil after it is taken. It was actually discovered before modafinil was, and is generally regarded to be less effective.
Until 2011, adrafinil was available as a prescription drug in France under the name Olmifon. Although Olmifon has been discontinued, manufacturers have continued to produce generic adrafinil due to the growing demand of nootropic researchers. Provided you’re a researcher, you can purchase it in several countries where it was never classified as a prescription medication—including the United States.
Adrafinil’s potential benefits include:
- Increased alertness. Adrafinil was originally used as a prescription drug to help promote wakefulness in people with sleep disorders like narcolepsy .
Sustained energy. It helps provide sustained, lasting energy throughout the day .
- More productivity. Animal studies on adrafinil have noted that it causes increased activity, which may translate to an increase in productivity in humans—although human studies are needed to confirm this [2, 3, 4, 5].
- Better performance. One study in beagles found that adrafinil administration improved task performance and performance speed while reducing errors .
- Improved learning. Finally, this same study noted improvements in the dogs’ ability to process information and learn .
In clinical settings, adrafinil has fallen out of favor for the most part, and medical research on the compound has slowed to a trickle.
Adrafinil Side Effects and Safety
Adrafinil may have similar side effects as modafinil, of which it is a prodrug .
The most common side effect of adrafinil is insomnia, which is no surprise considering its role as a wakefulness agent. This is why adrafinil is best administered early in the morning, so that it is out of the subject’s system by bed time.
Another potential side effect of adrafinil is headache. However, little is known about the potential side effects that are specific to adrafinil because there is only a small amount of research on the compound—and most of it has been done in animals.
Administer adrafinil with caution, carefully monitoring for side effects or adverse reactions—and ensure that subjects are in good health prior to the experiment.
What Is Noopept?
Noopept is the brand name of the compound N-phenylacetyl-L-prolyl-glycine ethyl ester. You may also find it called “omberacetam.” Noopept is a lab-made molecule that offers some nootropic benefits, and it is structurally similar to piracetam—a type of well-known nootropic compound.
It is also a prodrug of the nootropic peptide cycloprolylglycine, meaning that Noopept is metabolized into this substance after it is ingested.
Noopept was first synthesized in 1996, and it is now marketed worldwide as a nootropic substance. In Russia, it is available without a prescription. However, in the United States it is considered an “Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient,” so there are several restrictions to its import and availability.
It offers several potential cognitive benefits, including:
- Anxiety reduction. Cycloprolylglycine, the compound of which Noopept is a prodrug form, possesses anxiolytic properties .
- Improved memory. Research suggests that Noopept helps to support all steps of the memory formation process, including consolidation of memories and recall .
- Neuroprotection. Noopept appears to have protective effects on the brain tissue, helping to defend against oxidative damage that can eventually lead to cognitive decline .
- Improved performance and focus. One human study found that two weeks of Noopept administration paired with head and neck massage improved job performance for the following 1-2 months .
- Increased confidence. Researchers have found that Noopept reduced “learned helplessness” in rats, and this may translate to an increase in confidence in humans; however, more research is needed .
Although Noopept has now been around for about 25 years, it is still widely studied. Researchers are extremely interested in the potential benefits and pharmaceutical applications of the compound. However, most of the research has been and continues to be conducted in animals—so all findings need to be taken with a grain of salt.
Noopept Side Effects and Safety
Little is known about Noopept’s potential side effects and other safety concerns. This is for the most part due to a lack of substantial research in humans.
No long-term studies have been conducted on Noopept in humans, and dosing has varied widely in animal studies.
Because it is similar to piracetam, Noopept may have some similar side effects. Potential side effects of piracetam include diarrhea, headache and dizziness, agitation, fatigue, and memory loss .
Again, though, these may or may not apply to Noopept. It’s best for researchers to administer Noopept with the utmost caution—and only to healthy adults who are not pregnant, nursing, using drugs or alcohol, or taking prescription medications.
Adrafinil vs. Noopept | Similarities
Researchers will observe that structurally adrafinil and Noopept are completely different. However, they do have some remarkable similarities.
Both adrafinil and Noopept are considered prodrug forms. Adrafinil is a prodrug form of modafinil, a wakefulness-promoting prescription medication, and Noopept is a prodrug form of cycloprolylglycine, a nootropic peptide. This means that adrafinil and Noopept are metabolized into these respective compounds after ingestion.
Additionally, the two may offer some of the same benefits. They both have nootropic properties, and both appear to offer enhancements to memory, focus, performance and learning—at least based on the limited amounts of research (mostly in animals) available.
Finally, there is relatively little known about each of these compounds. While researchers mostly lost interest in adrafinil after modafinil entered the market, there is still active research being performed on Noopept—but the vast majority is still in animals, so there are very limited conclusions to be drawn.
Additionally, there are many differences between the two compounds. First and foremost, they are completely different structurally, resulting in different mechanisms of action. While adrafinil is part of a class widely known as “afinils,” Noopept is considered a type of racetam.
Because of this, their nootropic effects differ slightly. Adrafinil’s main effect is to promote energy and alertness—after all, its intended original use was as a wakefulness agent for people with sleep disorders. On the other hand, Noopept seems to have a more direct effect on cognition, and may also help increase confidence and reduce anxiety. Noopept also appears to have some neuroprotective properties.
Noopept is also significantly more potent on a milligram-by-milligram basis, with a typical dose of 10-30 mg, whereas the typical dose of adrafinil is about 300 mg according to nootropics researchers.
There are also some differences in their legal status around the world. In the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, adrafinil is not classified as a prescription drug—and therefore is able to be purchased online for research purposes. However, it requires a prescription in Australia.
On the other hand, Noopept is considered an “active pharmaceutical ingredient” in the United States, so it is not to be sold directly to the consumer, but instead is only available for research and pharmaceutical development. Noopept is widely available without a prescription in Russia.
Noopept is also significantly less expensive than adrafinil, generally about half the price—on a gram-per-gram basis when the powder form is compared. We believe that this is because Noopept is more widely available, considering it is an over-the-counter drug in Russia, and because—on the whole—adrafinil is no longer widely used.
Finally, there are differing levels of research interest in these two compounds. Noopept is being actively studied, with many recent studies available in animals and humans. However, because most of the interest in adrafinil has been redirected to its metabolite modafinil, there is little in the way of new research being done on adrafinil—and most to date has been done in animals.
Where To Buy Online?
We have two preferred vendors for both Noopept and adrafinil.
Our first preferred vendor is Science.bio. Here are their offerings, along with current pricing:
- Adrafinil, 3000 mg solution: $19.99
- Adrafinil, 5 g powder: $17.99
- Noopept, 100 mg spray: $9.99
- Noopept, 600 mg solution: $19.99
- Noopept, 10 g powder: $19.99
We like Science.bio because they are a trusted and established provider of research chemicals and nootropic agents. Their product testing and quality control standards are stringent and rigorous, and they employ both in-house and third-party testing to verify identity, purity, structure, and a lack of contaminants and heavy metals in each product they offer. Their reports are also freely available to review prior to purchase.
Science.bio offers free shipping on US based orders over $100, and also offers worldwide delivery and same-day shipping.
Our other preferred vendor is Nootropics Depot. As of this writing, their offerings and prices include:
- Adrafinil, 8 g powder: $24.99
- Adrafinil, 15 g powder: $54.99
- Adrafinil, 30 g powder: $89.99
- Adrafinil, 300 mg capsules, 30 ct: $39.99
- Adrafinil, 300 mg capsules, 90 ct: $89.99
- Noopept, 5 g powder: $14.99
- Noopept, 10 g powder: $24.99
- Noopept, 10 mg capsules, 30 ct: $12.99
- Noopept, 10 mg capsules, 90 ct: $19.99
- Noopept, 30 mg capsules, 30 ct: $13.99
- Noopept, 30 mg capsules, 90 ct: $24.99
Nootropics Depot also has very strict quality control processes in place, which is why we can confidently recommend their website. Their site also offers a wealth of information about proper nootropics administration and serves as an excellent educational resource.
Nootropics Depot offers free 2-3 day shipping on domestic orders over $50, and also offers same-day shipping on most orders. For international orders, shipping is free with a $200+ purchase.
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Adrafinil vs. Noopept | Verdict
Adrafinil is a prodrug of modafinil, while Noopept is a prodrug of the peptide cycloprolylglycine. Both agents offer some nootropic benefits; however, adrafinil primarily promotes alertness and energy, while Noopept offers enhancements to performance, focus, and memory.
Researchers are interested in both compounds, especially Noopept, as there are many recent studies available on it. However, most of the research in both Noopept and adrafinil has been done on animals.
It is important to note that both nootropic compounds are available in the United States for research purposes only.
Our recommended vendors for nootropics purchases are Science.bio and Nootropics Depot, both of which have stringent quality control processes in place.
So—adrafinil vs. Noopept? The information in this article can help guide nootropics researchers’ future research decisions.