Adrafinil vs Modalert – A to Z guide

Adrafinil and Modalert are both Nootropics aka smart drugs designed for stimulating the cognitive qualities of the user. Nootropics are a group of medicines available in the form of natural substances or chemical entities; their aim is to boost the brain power of the consumer. They are even known as cognition enhancers or memory enhancing substances. They can be either prescription Nootropics that treat diseases along with their cognitive benefits or non-prescription Nootropics that only stimulates the memory, attention and other brain qualities without helping in treatment of psychiatric disorders. Adrafinil and Modafinil fall in the first category.

A brief history

Modafinil was originally developed in France by neurophysiologist Michael Jovet in association with Lafon Laboratories. It was introduced in France in 1994 by the name of Modiodal and in the US in 1998 as Provigil and in U.K in 2002 after being FDA approved. The Cephalon laboratories took over the production of the compound in 2002. It has been in news various times for its performance enhancement properties. Adrafinil was discovered 2 years before Modafinil by two chemists of the Laphon laboratory and first tested in humans in 1977. It was introduced in France in 1984 and used for narcolepsy treatment in 1985.

Mechanism of action

There are different ways through which Modalert works on the brain cells to achieve its cognitive enhancement properties. Research has proved that it inhibits the reuptake of Dopamine the neurotransmitter responsible for alertness and arousal in a person. This results in increase in the production of Dopamine and inhibits its reuptake back to the cells. The end result is a phase of productive session with alert mental facilities. Modalert also activates the glutamatergic circuits enabling an increase in memory with heightened sense of focus. Additionally Modalert through its binding actions inhibits the GABA pathway resulting in a feeling of tranquility and calmness.

Adrafinil is by nature a prodrug. It is inactive in its initial form. After being consumed it starts working by converting into Modalert in the liver. Like Modalert, Adrafinil works by increasing dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels. While serotonin works for depressive tendencies and uplifts your mood, norepinephrine manages the levels of stress hormones and produces a relaxing and calming effect. Apart from that it enables increased histamine release through the orexin levels with decreasing glutamate and GABA pathways. An increased histamine level regulates sleep, appetite, motivation and learning through its receptors while glutamate helps cognitive function, memory, learning and other functions. But only a small part of it metabolized because of which comparatively large amounts of Adrafinil are required to achieve the desired cognitive effects.

How are they different from each other?


Modalert works primarily through activating the neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messenger that pass nerve impulses from one neuron point to the other. By working on them Modalert manages to increase the efficiency of electrical signals passing through these neurons resulting in extended phases of heightened cognitive effects. Wakefulness, increased focus and concentration and boosted stamina being a few of the effects. Adrafinil also achieves these effects but in a markedly reduced manner. This makes Modalert a more efficient and reliable drug than that of Adrafinil.


Owing to the increased effectiveness of Modalert, events related to its abuse, and addictions are forever on the rise. This has resulted in Modalert being declared a Schedule IV medication i.e. a medication with some amount of abuse risk associated with it. Therefore Modalert cannot be sold or obtained without a prescription. The generic versions of it can be procured but Modalert itself if found in your possession without a prescription can lead to suspension from work or study area, a hefty fine and even imprisonment. Adrafinil in comparison to Modalert is more readily available. Because of its mild effects, the chances of addiction associated with it are very less. Adrafinil can be procured directly by its brand name from medicine counters. Adrafinil can be legally obtained from counters and virtual pharmacies without the risk of breaking the law associated with it.

Onset and Half-Life

Online Modalert 200mg is more potent than Adrafinil. Out of the Adrafinil being converted to Modalert inside the body, very little is actually converted. The rest of it stays ineffective or is wasted. So, larger doses of Adrafinil are required to achieve the desired cognitive enhancement. For equaling the potency of around 200mg of Modalert, at least 400-600mg of Adrafinil is required as one dose. Modalert starts working around 30-40 minutes of its consumption. It attains a peak period within an hour and stays is the system for 10-12 hours after which it gradually is released from the body through metabolic wastes. Adrafinil in comparison takes at least 2 hours to set in i.e. one hour for it to change its chemical structure to that of Modalert and another hour for the effects to set in. It has a shorter life span of around 8-10 hours but a longer half-life of almost 15 hours of which users feel the effects of it for a long time.


Adrafinil costs around $0.69 per serving while Modalert costs around $8.15 – $12.99 per 200mg pill. This makes Modalert a much expensive drug than that of Adrafinil. To make up for the efficiency even increasing the dose of Adrafinil costs less than one tablet of Modalert. Generic versions of Modalert though can be obtained at a lower price but in matter if expenses Modalert is pricier than Adrafinil. That said both Modalert and Adrafinil can be used 1-3times a week to obtain satisfactory results without overusing the medication.


While both medications can increase the cognitive qualities on consumption, the side effects associated with their use should also be taken into consideration. Nausea, headache and vomiting sensation are some of the less serious side-effects associated with the medications. Modalert can cause increased heart rate, confusion, depression and sometimes a decreased blood pressure if misused. Whereas Adrafinil may lead to sleep apnea, nervousness, disturbed sleep patterns and even narcolepsy if overused or used on a long term basis. Judicious use of the medication can enable you enjoy optimum results from the medication without any damage to your health.

Read more about Modalert Benefits in 2021.