Ethan Thorne

Last Updated February 9, 2022

If you’re curious about what adrafinil is then you’ve come to the right place.

In this A-Z guide, we’ll lay out the most important information you need to know about this research chemical, including adrafinil’s history, known benefits, and the side effects associated with its use.

In this article geared towards nootropics researchers, we will also discuss the best place to buy adrafinil online and explore the ways that it may be dosed in a research setting.

We will lastly discuss how and when test subjects can take adrafinil and explore some possible adrafinil alternatives.

Without further ado, here is what you need to know about adrafinil.

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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 chemical that was first synthesized in the 1970s by French drug manufacturer Louis Lafon Laboratories [1]. Adrafinil’s chemical name is diphenylmethyl sulfinyl-2-acetohydroxamic acid, and its proprietary name in France was Olmifon. Adrafinil was approved for sale as Olmifon in France in the 1980s and its intended use was to prevent sleepiness and improve vigilance and alertness in elderly patients [2].

As researchers continued to study adrafinil, they identified one of its main metabolites as modafinil [3]. In one experiment where the effects of modafinil and adrafinil were compared, researchers concluded that modafinil was significantly more potent [4] and that adrafinil’s effect comes from modafinil. Scientists at Lafon ultimately pushed forward with research into this newly identified chemical.

Lafon Group eventually released modafinil under the proprietary name “Modiodal” In France in 1994. It proved to be extremely popular and quickly surpassed adrafinil in terms of popularity. In the battle between these wakefulness substances, modafinil ultimately prevailed and adrafinil fell into clinical disuse. The French medical authorities withdrew marketing permission for Olmifon citing safety concerns and its effects-to-benefits ratio, and the drug was voluntarily discontinued in 2011.

Although adrafinil is no longer commercially manufactured as a medicine, several companies continue to produce it as a research chemical. This leaves open the possibility for researchers to continue investigating adrafinil.


How Does Adrafinil Work?

As noted by Milgram et al., adrafinil’s mechanism of action is not yet fully understood but it is known to affect CNS function [1]. It is composed of two main metabolites, CRL 40476 and modafinil, the latter of which has been extensively studied and is believed to account for many of the effects of adrafinil [1]. Adrafinil is broken down (metabolized) into modafinil in the body [4], and the two chemicals have strikingly similar pharmacological effects [1].

Despite the amount of research, there is still also uncertainty around how modafinil works, but several theories have been put forth [5, 6, 7]. Given that modafinil is adrafinil’s main active metabolite, understanding this modafinil research is helpful in terms of understanding how adrafinil works.

Modafinil appears to upregulate dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in feelings of pleasure and mood. Modafinil has a robust effect on upregulating dopamine [5, 6] and this may explain some of the effects that adrafinil has been shown to have with respect to reducing depression [1].

Modafinil appears to upregulate norepinephrine

Norepinephrine is a neurochemical that stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and increases arousal and alertness. It increases heart rate and triggers the release of glucose so your body has increased access to energy [6, 7].

Modafinil appears to influence other wakefulness chemicals

Researchers have found that adrafinil changes a number of the other chemicals in your body that regulate sleep and wakefulness including serotonin, GABA, histamine, and orexin [6, 7].

Modafinil appears to speed up the brain

Modafinil increases how quickly the brain uses energy, which helps create a sense of wakefulness and alertness [5].

In summary, while we do not yet have a full understanding of adrafinil’s mechanism of action, its clear efficacy as a vigilance-promoting agent likely comes from its active metabolite, modafinil [1].

We will now turn our attention to adrafinil's known benefits.

What Are Adrafinil’s Benefits?

Although adrafinil was synthesized before modafinil, it has been the focus of far less research. What little literature exists is mostly in French and is much more limited in scope and nature than modafinil research.

While adrafinil’s exact mechanism of action is not yet fully understood, modafinil is likely responsible for at least part of its effects [1]. That’s why in this section, we will refer to modafinil research that we consider to be relevant.

Improved alertness

Several research studies involving older French adults have found that adrafinil significantly improves alertness and vigilance [1, 8, 9]. Early research by Lafon found that Olmifon (adrafinil) increases wakefulness in elderly patients [8, 9]. Adarfinil’s main known benefit is that it acts as a vigilance-promoting agent and can help older adults who suffer from age-related difficulties related to alertness [1].

These findings are consistent with the modafinil research showing that the latter has a pronounced effect on alertness [6]. A key difference between adrafinil and modafinil is that only modafinil has been tested in non-elderly populations, such as in one study involving sleep-deprived doctors [10].

Improved memory and learning

Adrafinil has been shown to have an effect on memory and learning in both animal and human studies. One study involving trained aged beagle dogs found that treatment with adrafinil produced “significant improvement in learning” compared with a placebo [11].

Several clinical trials in older adults demonstrated that adrafinil can improve performance on learning and memory tasks [8, 9]. The improvement was significantly greater than in control groups, suggesting that adrafinil was really responsible for the effect [1].

Reduced fatigue

When Lafon released adrafinil as Olmifon in the late 1970s, the drug’s intended use was to reduce sleepiness in elderly patients, and it did so effectively [8, 9]. Several clinical studies have shown that adrafinil significantly improves self-reported ratings of fatigue compared to groups that took a placebo [1].

Enhanced mood

Some researchers have suggested that adrafinil may be a candidate treatment for depression because it seems to have a positive effect on mood in sleep-deprived elderly individuals [1]. Participants in one study reported feeling less depressed, more sociable, and happier than control groups [1].

Having reviewed adrafinil’s main known benefits, let’s now examine what the literature says about the side effects and safety of this research nootropic.



Adrafinil Side Effects and Safety

If you’re curious about adrafinil’s side effects and wondering whether it is safe to use in your research, this is the section for you. As noted by Milgram et al., there have been six clinical trials involving adrafinil and they were all conducted in France and published in French. The collective result of these studies was that adrafinil was well-tolerated [1].

During the study conducted by Israel et al., three subjects suffered from nausea and dizziness but two were in the placebo group [8].

During the study by Kohler and Lubin, no mention was made of any secondary or side effects [9].

Milgram et al. cite another study by Defrance et al., involving 49 patients aged 65 or older, which found that three adrafinil treated subjects displayed increased agitation and aggression [16 in 1].
Another study by Fontan et al. found that two adrafinil patients reported dryness of the mouth [29 in 1].

Yet our best source of information about adrafinil’s side effects and safety comes from a Summary of Product Characteristics document published in French by Cephalon France (the company that acquired the Lafon Group) [12]. This document states that the following groups should avoid taking Olmifon (adrafinil):

  • Individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Children (individuals under 18 years old)
  • Anyone using hormonal birth control
  • Anyone at risk of conditions like diabetes or psychiatric disorders
  • Anyone with a history of liver or kidney disease

The document also notes that some participants in clinical trials experienced the following adverse reactions as a result of taking adrafinil [12]:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Increased stress
  • Aggression
  • Nausea
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Mouth dryness
  • Stomach pain
  • Skin irritation
  • Liver issues
  • Orofacial dyskinesia

Side effects appear to be dose-dependent, which means that the higher the dose of adrafinil ingested, the greater the risk of experiencing side effects. Choosing a lower dose range may help to reduce the chances of test subjects experiencing side effects.

In addition to the above, there are still two key considerations in relation to adrafinil’s side effects and safety:

1. Adrafinil has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. This means that the USFDA has not made a determination on its safety, and it cannot thus be marketed as a medicinal product in the United States.
2. The French medical authority (the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products) had deemed Olmifon (adrafinil) to be safe for use as a prescription medication through 2011, at which point it withdrew marketing permission for Olmifon in France, citing a high risk-to-benefit ratio and the potential for adverse effects.

How Long Does Adrafinil Last?

According to the Cephalon France product summary, adrafinil is rapidly absorbed when taken on an empty stomach and has an absorption half-life of 12 min ± 3 min. Maximum plasma concentration is reached after 0.90 ± 0.2 h and adrafinil’s effects last between 6-12 hours, depending on the individual [12].

During the time when adrafinil was available as Olmifon, patients were prescribed 2-4 tablets per day (600-1,200 mg/d), and the dose could be divided with half taken in the morning and half at noon.

We’ll now turn our attention to the question of where adrafinil can best be sourced as a research chemical.

Where To Buy Adrafinil Online | 2022 Guide

If you’re a nootropics researcher, adrafinil is readily available online as a research chemical. The main problem facing researchers is where to place an order. The quality, shipping times, and price of adrafinil can vary enormously from one vendor to the next. So where should you buy adrafinil online in 2022?

Our team has placed test orders with a variety of vendors and ranked them according to their prices, shipping times, reliability, and the quality of the adrafinil they shipped. Our top pick?

Here are a few reasons why we rate so highly:

  • Research-grade adrafinil: get all of their products independently tested and post the results on their website, so that you know you’re getting research-grade adrafinil.
  • Great prices: In the field of nootropics, adrafinil is not comparatively expensive, but you still want to spend your research materials budget wisely. has the best prices for the quality that they offer.
  • Great return policy: If you have a problem with your order, will fix it. They’re easy to get in touch with and pleasant to deal with.
  • International shipping: ships around the world to most countries. Orders are sent out within 24 hours, and delivery usually happens within a couple of weeks. Domestic shipping fees are waived for US orders over $100, and there is free shipping on international orders over $300.

Now that we’ve let you know about the best adrafinil vendor for 2022 and beyond, we can explore how adrafinil should be administered.

How To Take Adrafinil Properly

If you’re planning to conduct research involving adrafinil, you may want to know how best the nootropic should be administered to test subjects. According to Cephalon France’s product summary document, we know that elderly individuals were prescribed Olmifon for the treatment of alertness deficits [12]. This document states that the recommended Olmifon dose was:

  • 2 to 4 tablets (600 mg to 1200 mg) each day
  • The total dose should be separated into two, with one taken in the morning and one taken at noon.

These instructions offer quite a lot of leeway so researchers can adjust the doses given to test subjects depending on how each individual responds to the drug. In fact, many informal reports list a starting adrafinil dose of 300 mg/day for cognitive enhancement effects.

Adrafinil holds potential as a nootropic, but we understand that not everyone reading this article is in a position to conduct adrafinil research. Here are two alternatives.

Adrafinil Alternatives?

Curious about adrafinil alternatives? If so, this is the section for you.

If you’re researching nootropics or are designing an experiment involving adrafinil, you should be aware of two other nootropics known for their cognitive enhancement potential.


The most obvious adrafinil alternative is modafinil, which is arguably one of the most potent and well-researched nootropics in existence. Unlike adrafinil, there is plenty of research regarding modafinil’s effectiveness for wakefulness, increased attention, and cognitive enhancement [5, 6, 7]. However, modafinil is a prescription-only medication in the vast majority of countries, and should not be self-administered or used recreationally under any circumstances. Read here for more information about buying modafinil online.

Neuro Peak

Another powerful cognitive enhancer is called Neuro Peak, a widely available nootropic supplement. It’s made up of a blend of herbal supplements that each have nootropic benefits. Some of Neuro Peak’s ingredients include DMAE, Ginkgo biloba, and Bacopa monnieri. If you’re not a researcher and just a member of the general public looking for a daily-use nootropic, this is probably your best bet.


Beginner’s Guide to Adrafinil | Verdict

Adrafinil is a promising research chemical with an interesting history as a one-time prescription drug that has since fallen into clinical disuse. There is clear evidence that adrafinil offers vigilance-promoting benefits in elderly populations and may also have cognitive-enhancing potential.

This leaves a lot of opportunity for researchers to discover more about what adrafinil can do, the benefits it offers, and how it may best be used.

If you’re ready to start your adrafinil research, head over to and place your order today!

Ready to order Adrafinil from the top-rated online vendor?



  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. Billiard, M., & Broughton, R. (2018). 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 Medicine, 49, 69-72.
  4. 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.
  5. Keating, G. M., & Raffin, M. J. (2005). Modafinil. CNS drugs, 19(9), 785-803.
  6. Minzenberg, M. J., & Carter, C. S. (2008). Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects on cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology, 33(7), 1477-1502.
  7. Gerrard, P., & Malcolm, R. (2007). Mechanisms of modafinil: a review of current research. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 3(3), 349.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Sugden, C., Housden, C. R., Aggarwal, R., Sahakian, B. J., & Darzi, A. (2012). Effect of pharmacological enhancement on the cognitive and clinical psychomotor performance of sleep-deprived doctors: A randomized controlled trial. Annals of Surgery, 255(2), 222-227.
  11. Siwak CT, Gruet P, Woehrlé F, Schneider M, Muggenburg BA, Murphey HL, Callahan H, Milgram NW. Behavioral activating effects of adrafinil in aged canines. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000 Jun;66(2):293-300. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(00)00188-x. PMID: 10880681.
  12. 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

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