Adrafinil: Dosage, benefits & Side Effects


What is Adrafinil

Adrafinil is a psychostimulant that reduces drowsiness and promotes mental arousal. It was developed by Lafon Laboratories in 1974. The drug produces effects similar to stimulants, like caffeine and amphetamine. However, unlike amphetamines, Adrafinil increases your mental alertness without inducing restlessness and anxiety. It also doesn’t elevate your heart rate. This is part of the reason why some people prefer the drug over caffeine and amphetamines.

It was initially developed to treat attention disorders and narcolepsy in old people. Today, it is more popular as a nootropic or smart drug. Many people believe it can increase mental alertness, wakefulness, concentration, and other cognitive function. However, the research on these effects is very limited. A few studies do suggest the nootropic could be beneficial as a nootropic, but they are not enough to definitively explain the efficacy and safety of the drug.

It is not regulated in the US and Canada. The FDA has not approved the drug for medical uses, but it’s available in the market as a dietary supplement. In other countries like Germany, New Zealand, and Australia, it is available as a prescription drug.

The product is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), so don’t use it as a performance enhancer if you are a professional athlete.

Adrafinil is also sold under the brand name Olmifon.

Working Mechanism

It is a prodrug of Modafinil. When you ingest the drug, your liver converts it into Modafinil, which produces the various effects Adrafinil is linked to. Actually, the molecule modafinil was isolated from Adrafinil by Lafon Laboratories in 1976 – just two years after discovering it. This means you can buy and use Modafinil itself instead of the prodrug. It also means Adrafinil’s mechanism of action, although not fully understood, is very similar to Modafinil’s.

Adrafinil can modulate key neurotransmitters like glutamate, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. This results in increased energy, high stamina, enhanced mood, and more motivation.

Studies also report that Adrafinil offers selective neuronal activation. It mainly acts on the amygdala and hypothalamus parts of the brain. This explains how Adrafinil can raise your alertness and wakefulness the same way stimulants do, but without exposing you to the adverse reactions, stimulants are infamous for.

You should also know that Adrafinil is inactive in its original form. Even when ingested, most of the drug will remain inactive, with only a fraction of it getting converted into Modafinil. You need to take Adrafinil in higher dosages to get more Modafinil. Therefore, if we compare the two drugs, you will need to take more Adrafinil than Modafinil to achieve the same results.

Uses and Benefits

The product has been linked to several health benefits, but it’s important to remember the research on this drug is minimal, and that’s why the FDA has not approved it. Therefore, while it may be a very promising drug, it’s vital that you use it carefully because long-term complications are a possibility. Consulting a physician before using Adrafinil is highly advisable.

  • May Promote Wakefulness and Awareness

Adrafinil is very popular as a eugeroic drug whose effects are just as significant as amphetamines but without the side effects.

In this double-blind placebo-controlled study, researchers investigated the impact of Modafinil in sustaining alertness and performance among aviators. They used three dosages of 200mg. At the end of the study period, the group taking Modafinil experienced less sleep deprivation effects and slow-wave EEG activity. They also had a better mood compared to the placebo.

This trial shows Adrafinil may be beneficial for professionals in highly-demanding fields. The challenge here is the trial used Modafinil and not Adrafinil. Yes, Adrafinil gets converted to Modafinil and should theoretically have the same effect, but that’s not enough to tell us with absolute certainty that Adrafinil can achieve the same results. More Adrafinil clinical trials are necessary.

  • May Boost Cognition

Adrafinil may boost key cognitive functions like learning and memory. This has been observed in several animal studies and a few human trials.

In this trial involving aged beagle dogs, 20mg/kg of Adrafinil was used, and the scientists discovered key improvements in learning. The beagle dogs made fewer errors and achieved the set objectives much faster.

It’s not fully understood how exactly Adrafinil helped the dogs achieve this, but the researchers suggest it could be due to the drug’s positive effects on motivation.

Similar results were observed in a human trial involving 48 older adults with poor processing speed and attention.

Adrafinil may improve learning and memory in older people, but it’s unclear whether it can do the same in young, healthy adults.

  • May Relieve Depression

Adrafinil is said to have some antidepressant properties that can relieve various symptoms of depression and anxiety. In one study, Adrafinil was even compared to the tricyclic antidepressant Clomipramine (Anafranil), which is used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder. The study results showed Adrafinil was just as effective as Clomipramine. What stood out, though, is that Adrafinil was better tolerated with fewer side effects than Clomipramine!

  • Can Treat Narcolepsy

Adrafinil may be effective for narcolepsy and other fatigue-related disorders because it metabolizes to Modafinil.

Several studies have proved Modafinil’s effectiveness in treating narcolepsy, work-shift disorder, and other similar conditions. However, there are no studies involving Adrafinil to confirm the same. Using Modafinil for this purpose is the smarter decision.

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Other potential benefits:

  • It may increase physical performance.
  • It may boost neuroprotection.

Side Effects

Adrafinil is generally well-tolerated, but it may still produce the following side effects, especially when used in high dosages:

  • Increased aggression
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Skin irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Mouth dryness

Extremely high doses can also increase blood pressure and induce heart problems.

Make sure to consult a medical practitioner before taking Adrafinil if you have a serious medical condition.


Adrafinil is available in tablet and powder form. There are no official dosages, but most people have found doses of between 600 to 1200mg both safe and effective. Beginners should start with lower dosages of around 300mg to reduce the risk of adverse reactions. The dosage should be split into two due to Adrafinil’s short half-life.

Do not take it for an extended period. Use it in short cycles of around 2 weeks, followed by a break.

The product can also be used alongside other nootropics for better results. Some people combine it with Noopept (20mg) or Pramiracetam (100mg).

Final Thoughts

The effects Adrafinil is linked to actually come from Modafinil, which has gone through more studies. Another challenge with Adrafinil is users have to take it in high dosages to make up for the amount of the drug that remains inactive even when ingested.

With that said, we cannot ignore the various potential benefits of Adrafinil in a standalone therapy and as part of a stack. It can boost your mood, alertness, concentration, and even learning ability. Remember to use it very carefully, though, and do not hesitate to call a physician in case you experience any complications.

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