Developed in France by Louis Lafon Laboratories in 1974, Adrafinil is a white or beige powder used as a nootropic supplement and behavioral stimulant. It has a slightly sulfurous odor, and is also marketed in capsule form.1 Human studies on Adrafinil are lacking, which is why the drug is not approved by the FDA, and was revoked from the European market in France in 2011 following reassessment.2
Originally marketed under the brand name, Olmifon, Adrafinil is a mild stimulant which was used mostly used to decrease fatigue and increase alertness in the elderly, night workers, and individuals who were required to retain wakefulness long-term.2 The most common current use for the supplement is as a nootropic, attention, and memory enhancing drug.
Adrafinil is unregulated in the United States, and thus requires no prescription for use. It is less known in North American than Europe, but has grown in popularity over the past decade.
Anecdotal evidence supports the use of Adrafinil capsules as an anti-fatigue agent and cognitive stimulant, used mostly by shift workers, students, and those who wish to stay alert and function at a higher cognitive level.
When reading through an Adrafinil review, common reported uses include Adrafinil for studying, Adrafinil for increased alertness, and Adrafinil weight loss remedies. Personal Adrafinil experiences are mixed, with some users expressing effects similar to caffeine with long lasting positive results. Others have claimed it did little aside from provoking an edginess during daily activities. Not all users of Adrafinil powder or capsules have reported weight loss Adrafinil benefits, and regardless of the personal reviews online, many are left asking, “does Adrafinil work?”
How Does It Work: Adrafinil vs Modafinil
For those curious about the science behind Adrafinil pills, in the body they metabolite into Modafinil, a weak dopamine inhibitor, which works to block feelings of drowsiness from occurring. Both Adrafinil and Modafinil are considered α1-adrenergic–receptor agonists, meaning they selectively stimulate the central nervous system.1 While there are anecdotal reports of potential Adrafinil liver toxicity concerns, no human studies have proven this to be true.
When studying Modafinil vs Adrafinil, one of the first differences you’ll notice is that Modafinil is regulated as a prescription drug, and approved for use by the FDA for the treatment of narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.1 Adrafinil is sold as a dietary supplement.
Improved Learning with Adrafinil
Adrafinil nootropic properties have not been successfully tested in human studies, however, an animal study published in 2000 found that administering 20 mg/kg of Adrafinil to subjects produced significantly improved learning with fewer errors than a control group.3
Increased Physical Activity with Adrafinil
There have been several animal studies concluding a significant physical response to Adrafinil in the form of activity levels. A review published in 1999 covered three instances in which Adrafinil at varying doses, increased activity levels of different subjects. Higher doses promoted immediate results, while lower doses required additional treatments. In some instances, activity levels were doubled following administration of Adrafinil.1
Decreased Drowsiness After Taking Adrafinil
Adrafinil has been proven to increase night-time alertness, decrease drowsiness, and reduce sleep during usage without disrupting later sleep patterns. Most studies revolving around the anti-fatigue benefits of the Adrafinil experience involve its metabolism into Modafinil, and the ability of Modafinil to successfully treat narcolepsy.1
Recommended Adrafinil Dosage
The Adrafinil dose recommendations vary by distributor. ThoughtFoods, a brand primarily focused on the research market, supplies 300mg capsules of Adrafinil and recommends taking 150-300mg daily.4 For new users, it recommends starting at 150 mg, which could be achieved by taking half a capsule. Another brand, Absorb Health, also supplies their capsules in 300mg doses, and recommends not exceeding 400 mg per day.5 Adrafinil duration is long lasting, and continues to be effective after various treatments.6
How Long Does Adrafinil Last?
If you’re wondering, “how long does Adrafinil take to work?”, it depends on the dosage. Most anecdotal evidence suggests that Adrafinil will begin to take effect within 60-90 minutes of taking a 300mg capsule. In animal studies, the higher the dose of Adrafinil, the more effective it was, and the more quickly researchers saw results.1
Adrafinil Side Effects
Reported Adrafinil side effects include:
2. Increased aggressive behavior
5. Loss of appetite
Most research regarding Adrafinil shows little to no side effects to the product. In one instance during a study including 49 patients, aged 65 and older, three subjects reported agitation and an increase in aggressive behavior.1 While there are no scientifically documented cases of these symptoms with Adrafinil, headache, nausea, and loss of appetite have been reported by some users. Adrafinil liver toxicity has also been acknowledged as a possible side effect by online resources, again with no scientific data to confirm it.
Some stimulants cause feelings of anxiety and may increase the risk of addiction. Adrafinil has shown benefits which mirror amphetamines, without mimicking the adverse effects. When comparing Adrafinil vs Adderall, for example, amphetamines like Adderall are found to cause anxiogenic (anxiety-promoting) effects and inhibit neuron firing, while Adrafinil does not.1 As with any stimulant, it is not recommended that Adrafinil and alcohol be taken together.
An Adrafinil drug test is not typically used during employment or standard drug screening purposes. However, both Adrafinil and modafinil will show up in blood tests if the test is designed to find it.
Where to Buy Adrafinil
Now that you know what Adrafinil is and how it works, you may be wondering, “is Adrafinil legal in the US? What about Adrafinil Europe laws?” Currently, it’s legal to buy Adrafinil in the USA, Canada, Australia, and European countries, such as the UK, although it is unregulated and has not been approved by any of the medical or government regulating boards in these countries.
While it is legal to buy Adrafinil, GNC, and other stores will not carry this nootropic supplement. Rather than looking for Adrafinil in stores, you can easily buy Adrafinil online in North America. It may be more difficult to order Adrafinil online in Europe, although it is still available, depending on your country.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Milgram, N. W., Callahan, H. & Siwak, C. (1999) Adrafinil: A novel vigilance promoting agent. CNS Drug Reviews. 5(3), 193-212. Retrieved October 21, 2017 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1527-3458.1999.tb00100.x/pdf
- S. National Library of Medicine. (2005) Adrafinil. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved on October 21, 2017 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/adrafinil#section=Top
- Milgram, N. W., Siwak, C. T., Gruet, P., Atkinson, P., Woehrle, F. & Callahan, H. (2001) Oral administration of adrafinil improves discrimination learning in aged beagle dogs. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. 66(2), 301-305. DOI: 1016/S0091-3057(00)00175-1
- ThoughtFoods. (2014) Adrafinil capsules. ThoughtFoods. Retrieved October 22, 2017 from – View Reference
- Absorb Health. (2016) Adranifil. Absorb Health. Retrieved October 22, 2017 from https://www.absorbyourhealth.com/product/adrafinil-300-mg-30-70-100-150-capsules-nootropic/
- Sewak, C. T., Callahan, H. & Milgram, N. W. (2000) Adrafinil: Effects on behaviour and cognition in aged canines. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 24(5), 709-726. DOI: 1016/S0278-5846(00)00103-2