Adrafinil and Modafinil belong to a class of nootropics call eugeroics, which are wakefulness-promoting agents that enhance mental capacity and activity. Although Adrafinil is a prodrug of Modafinil, it was developed and made legal after Modafinil, and the two have considerable differences. Here is a detailed comparison of the two nootropics.
Adrafinil and Modafinil have many similarities. The first and most significant similarity between the drugs is of their mechanism of action. Both the drugs act by selectively activating neurons in certain parts of the brain, which consequently increases the brain’s output, hence causing increased wakefulness. Another effect of the two drugs is the increased levels of histamine and norepinephrine which causes enhanced memory and cognitive function.
Adrafinil and Modafinil, have a similar set of effects such as increased alertness and decreased drive to sleep. They also elongate the time taken for fatigue to set in and cause a reduced perception of lethargy.
Modafinil shows marginally greater effectiveness than Adrafinil. This implies that Modafinil needs to be administered in lower doses that Adrafinil. This is because Adrafinil is first converted into modafinil in the body, and then further acts on the body, but not all of the administered dose is converted into Modafinil.
Time Of Action:
Modafinil is not only faster acting than Adrafinil, but it also lasts longer. It works more quickly as it produces its effects directly, once absorbed into the bloodstream, while Adrafinil has to be first processed and converted into Modafinil.
The difference between the half-life of the two drugs is markedly different, with Modafinil having a half-life of up to 14 hours, and 5 hours of that of Adrafinil. Along with being faster and longer lasting, Modafinil also reaches its peak levels in the blood in about 60-90 minutes faster than Adrafinil.
Availability & Cost:
Adrafinil can easily be obtained without a prescription, as an OTC drug, but the same is not applicable for Modafinil. Modafinil comes under the list of controlled substances, and its purchase requires a prescription. This is because it has very high efficacy and can easily be overdosed on.
The difference between the cost of the two drugs is marginally significant. Modafinil is considerably expensive, with the value of over $300 for 20 tablets, at most pharmacies. Adrafinil can easily be obtained at a price several folds lesser than the amount of Modafinil.
The final question that arises is, which one to use. Modafinil will be the answer for you if it is prescribed to you by your physician. But to be fair, it would be the only case in which it would be the advised drug. Though it is better regarding efficacy and time of action, it is also considerably heavy on the pocket, and its purchase without a prescription is also illegal.
Adrafinil, on the other hand, is very easily accessible and marginally cheaper too. This gives Adrafinil the upper hand, as both the drugs are similar in the context of safety and tolerance and other pharmacological factors. The shorter half-life of Adrafinil also ensures that the sleeping cycle is not disturbed. However, it should be kept in mind that both Adrafinil and Modafinil can be very harmful to the liver if used for prolonged time periods, and should be administered for short-term use only.