How Long Does Adrafinil Last? | The #1 A-Z Guide

how long does adrafinil last

Ethan Thorne

Last Updated February 10, 2022

Researchers interested in exploring vigilance-promoting research chemicals may be curious about how long adrafinil lasts.

This comprehensive A-Z guide will outline what researchers need to know about how long the nootropic compound’s effects may last in test subjects. We review adrafinil’s benefits, side effects, onset period, half-life, and duration of action. This guide will also discuss the various factors that determine how long adrafinil lasts when administered to test subjects, such as individual tolerance levels, diet, state of health, and more.

For researchers interested in conducting experiments with adrafinil, this guide will also highlight the best source of research-grade adrafinil solution and powder, so keep reading till the end to find out.

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What is Adrafinil?

Adrafinil is a “prodrug” of modafinil that is liver-metabolized into modafinil—its main active metabolite—and modafinil acid. It was discovered in 1974 and developed by Louis Lafon Laboratories of France following studies showing that adrafinil is a powerful psychostimulant in animals and dramatically increases nocturnal activity [1].

In 1985, the Lafon Group released adrafinil in France under the proprietary name “Olmifon.” It was generally prescribed to elderly patients who struggled to stay alert and mentally active during the day. Olmifon was marketed as a “vigilance-promoting drug” and was also used to aid patients with narcolepsy, a rare condition that causes sufferers to feel extremely drowsy in the daytime [2].

Adrafinil’s popularity waned following Lafon’s introduction of “Modiodal” in 1994. As a pure modafinil product, “Modiodal” was a faster-acting and more potent narcolepsy treatment, meaning that patients could take smaller doses and still experience comparable wakefulness benefits. “Modiodal” quickly became Lafon’s flagship product and was introduced throughout Europe and around the world. Modafinil gained United States Food and Drug Administration (“USFDA”) approval in 1998. Meanwhile, adrafinil fell into clinical disuse, and in France its marketing approval was withdrawn in 2011.


Benefits of adrafinil

Adrafinil has the following documented benefits:

  • Increased alertness and cognitive enhancement
  • Enhanced performance motivation
  • Improved athletic performance

Each of these benefits will be examined in greater detail below.

Increased alertness and cognitive enhancement

Adrafinil's primary benefit is that it acts as a “eugeroic,” or a wakefulness-promoting agent. In France, Olmifon (brand-name adrafinil) had been used to increase alertness in elderly patients who struggled to maintain mental clarity during the day. Much of adrafinil’s effects come from its primary metabolite modafinil, which has been proven to offer significant cognitive benefits, including “cognitive neuroenhancement” even in healthy, non-sleep-deprived individuals [3].

According to a cross-sectional study on pharmacological cognitive enhancement among non-ADHD individuals in 15 countries by Maier et al., adrafinil is one of a number of compounds that is deemed a “nootropic” thanks to its uses as a cognitive enhancer [4].

Enhanced performance motivation

Research has shown that adrafinil acts as a low-level dopamine reuptake inhibitor that increases levels of dopamine in the brain. This powerful neurotransmitter plays an important role in mood, motivation, and sense of overall well-being. A canine study published in 2000 found that adrafinil significantly increased “performance motivation” in dogs [5], and researchers found that “electroencephalographic activity” in the dogs’ brains rose dramatically after adrafinil was administered. Adrafinil has been shown to have a similar effect in humans, with two French studies showing that Olmifon improves the mood and motivation of elderly patients [6, 7].

Improved athletic performance

Due to its ability to increase alertness and performance motivation, adrafinil has a history of being used by athletes as a performance enhancer. The drug was banned by the World Anti-Doping Organisation (WADA) in 2004 [8].

Adrafinil side effects and safety

In contrast to modafinil, which has been widely researched, comparatively little research has been conducted into adrafinil’s side effects. What little research exists has been conducted in France and published in the French. According to an Olmifon product summary created by Cephalon France (the company that acquired the Lafon Group), adrafinil can cause the following side effects when administered at doses of 600-1,200 mg/d [9]:

  • Headaches
  • Rashes
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Gastralgia
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Psychic excitement
  • Oral-facial dyskinesias (rare) [10]

According to the Olmifon product summary, these side effects subsided as soon as Olmifon doses were reduced or the treatment was discontinued [9]. However, dyskinesias can last for a period of several months if left untreated.

Adrafinil’s side effects are similar to those caused by modafinil, which include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Cataplexy [11]

There is just one documented case of modafinil causing dependence and hypersexuality, and it involved an individual taking extremely high doses [12].

The main difference between these two compounds is that adrafinil, as a liver-metabolized prodrug of modafinil, places extra strain on the liver and may cause liver enzyme values to become elevated with prolonged use. But according to the Olmifon product summary, even patients with severe renal impairment could take Olmifon, albeit at a lower dose (300-600 mg) [9]. Adrafinil’s potential to cause liver damage may have factored into the decision of the French medical authorities to revoke Olmifon’s marketing approval in 2011.

How Long Does Adrafinil Last?

Researchers curious about how long adrafinil lasts should note that its duration of action varies significantly between animals and humans. A 1985 study by Milhaud CL et al. examined the effects of adrafinil on the nocturnal activity of ten rhesus monkeys and found that adrafinil’s stimulating effects lasted approximately 36 hours [13]. However, human trials have found its duration of action to be much shorter, typically 12 hours or less [6, 7].

According to the Olmifon product summary, adrafinil has an absorption half-life of 12 min ± 3 min and reaches maximum plasma concentration in 0.90 ± 0.2 h [9]. The recommended dose for Olmifon (brand-name adrafinil) was 2-4 tablets (600-1,200 mg) per day divided into two doses. Given that adrafinil’s elimination half-life is one hour [14], this suggests that adrafinil’s effects last for approximately 6-12 hours.

Human trial data shows that the length of time that adrafinil’s effects last for depends on two main factors:

  • Individual tolerance level (and sensitivity to stimulants)
  • State of health (liver function, body weight, and diet)

As adrafinil is currently available as a research chemical, an additional third factor is the purity of the adrafinil used in the experiment. All three of these factors will be explored individually below.

Individual tolerance

Individual’s tolerance levels, and sensitivity to stimulants, can affect how long adrafinil lasts when administered to test subjects. Most human trials have involved doses of 900 mg/d, but these were lowered for individuals who experienced adverse reactions [6, 7]. Cephalon France’s own guidelines stated that health professionals could prescribe Olmifon to elderly patients within a broad range of 600-1,200 mg/d [9], suggesting that dosing protocols can be flexible.

State of health

The overall state of health of test subjects, including their liver function, body weight, and diet, can all play a factor in how long adrafinil lasts. The Olmifon product summary stated that individuals with severe hepatic or renal impairment should limit adrafinil intake to 300-600 mg/d [9].

Adrafinil purity

The purity of a given batch of adrafinil can have a significant effect on how long the drug lasts. Following Cephalon’s decision to discontinue Olmifon production in 2011, adrafinil has been available almost exclusively as a research chemical. The sale of research chemicals is not as strictly regulated as prescription drugs and the purity of adrafinil solutions and powders can vary widely from one vendor to the next. Researchers should therefore conduct due diligence to ensure that they procure research-grade adrafinil from a reputable vendor to obtain reliable research findings.


Adrafinil Half-Life and Dosing

As adrafinil is a research chemical, there is no “recommended” or “safe” way to dose this compound in an experimental setting. However, we can review how licensed practitioners have prescribed Olmifon in the past (during the time when it was available), and discuss how researchers have dosed adrafinil in human trials.

What is the half-life of adrafinil?

A study into the methods used to screen for adrafinil in athletes noted that adrafinil has an elimination half-life of one hour [14].

How should adrafinil be dosed?

According to the Olmifon summary sheet, adrafinil could be prescribed to elderly patients at a dose of 2-4 tablets (600-1,200 mg) per day [9]. This dose could be divided in half, with patients taking half in the morning and the other half at midday. This further suggests that adrafinil’s effects last 6-12 hours.

Micro-dosing adrafinil

The Olmifon product summary document states that patients with severe hepatic or renal impairment could be prescribed a “micro-dose” of adrafinil of 300-600 mg/d [9].

Moderate adrafinil dose

Several human trials have administered adrafinil at a moderate dose of 900 mg/d. Test subjects who experienced side effects such as increased aggression were switched to a lower dose [6, 7].

Where to Buy Adrafinil Online? | 2022 Guide

Researchers who wish to experiment with adrafinil may be curious about where to buy adrafinil online. Whereas modafinil is widely researched and FDA-approved, adrafinil is unregulated and consumers are afforded few, if any, legal protections. Therefore, the onus falls on researchers to conduct due diligence when choosing a suitable adrafinil vendor.

To provide some clarity in this area, we have reviewed a range of research nootropic vendors, having tested their products for purity and quality. Based on our findings, the only adrafinil vendor we currently recommend is

In our experience, has consistently delivered on their promise to ship high-quality adrafinil within a short time frame. Here are some of the things that really impressed us about their service:

  • Lab-Tested Batches: Unless researchers plan to pay for their own lab analysis, there’s really no way of knowing the purity of adrafinil purchased online. One of the things we love about is that they get every batch of adrafinil tested by an independent lab and then post the lab reports online. This lets researchers know the exact quality of the adrafinil they are buying before placing an order.
  • Money-Back Guarantee: There’s no escaping the fact that buying adrafinil online can be risky.’s industry-leading 30-day money-back guarantee means that researchers who aren’t 100% satisfied with the adrafinil they receive can return it for a full refund.
  • Long Shelf Life: ships its adrafinil solution and adrafinil powder in UV-resistant packaging that optimizes its shelf life. This means that researchers can expect to receive their order of adrafinil in optimal condition.
  • Free Shipping on Orders over $100: ships adrafinil worldwide and waives the shipping fee on domestic orders over $100. All orders enjoy same-day dispatch and delivery timeframes vary based on the destination and shipping method selected. is the premier adrafinil vendor in the world and we highly recommend them to any researchers looking to experiment with this compound. Researchers looking to buy research-grade adrafinil for their next trial would do well to consider this vendor.

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Adrafinil Half-Life | Verdict

Adrafinil has a half-life of approximately one hour and a 300-900 mg dose is enough to provide subjects with a full day of vigilance. The way that test subjects respond to this research chemical depends on a range of factors including the individual subject’s weight, tolerance to stimulants, diet, health, and liver function. While studies have shown that adrafinil can increase wakefulness and alertness, further study is needed to determine its exact length of action in non-elderly test subjects.




  1. 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 Oct-Dec;16(4):372-80. French. PMID: 4094435.
  2. Milgram, N.W., Callahan, H. and Siwak, C. (1999), Adrafinil: A Novel Vigilance Promoting Agent. CNS Drug Reviews, 5: 193-212. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.1999.tb00100.x
  3. Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028
  4. Maier LJ, Ferris JA, Winstock AR. Pharmacological cognitive enhancement among non-ADHD individuals-A cross-sectional study in 15 countries. Int J Drug Policy. 2018 Aug;58:104-112. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.05.009. Epub 2018 Jun 11. PMID: 29902691.
  5. Siwak CT, Callahan H, Milgram NW. Adrafinil: effects on behavior and cognition in aged canines. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Jul;24(5):709-26. doi: 10.1016/s0278-5846(00)00103-2. PMID: 11191710.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 Jan 29;5(4):322-326. doi: 10.1080/20961790.2019.1704482. PMID: 33457050; PMCID: PMC7782130.
  9. 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
  10. Thobois S, Xie J, Mollion H, Benatru I, Broussolle E. Adrafinil-induced orofacial dyskinesia. Mov Disord. 2004;19(8):965-966. doi:10.1002/mds.20154
  11. Lopes E, Pereira D, da Silva Behrens NS, et al. Cataplexy as a side effect of modafinil in a patient without narcolepsy. Sleep Sci. 2014;7(1):47-49. doi:10.1016/j.slsci.2014.07.015
  12. Swapnajeet S, Bn S, Gourav G. Modafinil Dependence and Hypersexuality: A Case Report and Review of the Evidence. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2016;14(4):402-404. doi:10.9758/cpn.2016.14.4.402
  13. 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 Oct-Dec;16(4):372-80. French. PMID: 4094435.
  14. Dubey S, Ahi S, Reddy IM, Kaur T, Beotra A, Jain S. A novel study of screening and confirmation of modafinil, adrafinil and their metabolite modafinilic acid under EI-GC-MS and ESI-LC-MS-MS ionization. Indian J Pharmacol. 2009 Dec;41(6):278-83. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.59928. PMID: 20407560; PMCID: PMC2846503.

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