Adrafinil, a relatively new nootropic supplement, is widely recognized for its stimulant effects without the common risk factors associated with traditional stimulant drugs.
Originally developed in France and later made its name as Olmifon, Adrafinil is primarily known for promoting wakefulness, alertness, and attention, especially in individuals experiencing fatigue or sleep disorders.
As a prodrug to modafinil, it is metabolized in the liver to its active form, offering cognitive benefits that have garnered attention in the nootropic community.
This article provides a comprehensive review of Adrafinil to provide important, reliable information. We will be delving into its uses, pharmacological effects, and the interaction between this compound and the body’s system.
Let’s find out if this commonly used nootropic is worthy of all the buzz!
What is Adrafinil?
Adrafinil (also known as the name Olmifon® or CRL 40028) is a synthetic nootropic compound that is primarily known for its stimulant properties. It was first developed in France by Louis Lafon Laboratories in the late 1970s.
Adrafinil serves as a potent prodrug to Modafinil (Provigil), meaning that it is metabolized in the body to produce Modafinil, which is the active compound responsible for this product and its effects.(1)
The primary use of Adrafinil is to promote wakefulness and alertness, making it a popular choice among patients who suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, particularly in conditions like narcolepsy. Unlike Modafinil and other traditional stimulants, Adrafinil does not typically produce the same type of jitteriness or cardiovascular side effects.
Adrafinil is commonly used to improve attention, concentration, and cognitive function, particularly in elderly people who have sleep disorders. These effects are also beneficial for professionals and students who need to stay awake and alert for extended periods.
Adrafinil is not regulated in the same way as Modafinil. For example, it is unregulated in the United States, meaning it is not a prescription drug and can be purchased without a doctor’s note.
Due to its ability to enhance wakefulness and cognitive function without the legal restrictions of Modafinil, Adrafinil has gained popularity in the nootropic community and among those seeking an alternative to traditional stimulants.
- Improved memory, focus, and cognitive function
- Reduced feelings of fatigue and increased alertness
- Low risk for dependency compared to other stimulants
- Prolonged use may pose risks to liver health
- Not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
Mechanism of Action
Adrafinil is a prodrug, which means it is metabolized in the liver to produce its active form, Modafinil.
The mechanism of action of adrafinil, while not fully understood, is believed to involve the central nervous system (CNS), specifically by increasing the production of neurotransmitters that promote wakefulness.
This action helps combat fatigue and improves mental alertness, making it a valuable aid for those needing to stay awake and attentive, such as shift workers or students.
Here are some key points to understand about Adrafinil’s effect on neurotransmitters:
- Increases the production of hypocretin, a neuropeptide that promotes wakefulness
- Enhances histamine levels in the brain, contributing to its alertness-promoting effects
- Inhibits dopamine reuptake, which increases dopamine levels in the brain, enhancing mood and cognitive function
- Improves cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and motivation, possibly due to increased neurotransmitter activity in brain areas associated with these functions
Nootropic Benefits of Adrafinil
It’s well-known that Adrafinil enhances cognitive functions and it is widely recognized around the world for its ability to promote wakefulness and alertness, but how do these effects benefit you?
Here’s a list of the positive nootropic effects of Adrafinil.
1. Increased Alertness and Wakefulness
Adrafinil is highly effective in reducing feelings of fatigue and increasing alertness. This is particularly beneficial for people who need to stay awake for extended periods, like shift workers, students during exam periods, or those dealing with jet lag.
2. Enhanced Cognitive Function
Users often report improved cognitive abilities, including better memory, increased focus, and enhanced learning capacity.(2) This makes Adrafinil a popular choice among those looking to boost their mental performance.
3. Improved Concentration and Focus
By stimulating the production of neurotransmitters associated with focus and attention, Adrafinil helps improve an individual’s ability to concentrate on tasks for longer periods without distraction.
4. Mood Enhancement
Some users experience a mood-boosting effect, which can be attributed to the increased dopamine levels in the brain. This leads to feelings of well-being and is especially beneficial in tasks or situations that require sustained mental effort.
5. Increased Motivation
The stimulant properties of Adrafinil lead to increased motivation, making it easier for individuals to start and complete tasks, which is particularly useful for those facing motivation-related challenges.
6. Reduced Mental Fatigue
Adrafinil helps in combating mental fatigue, allowing for longer periods of productive work or study without the usual decline in mental performance that comes with tiredness.(3)
7. Neuroprotective Effects
Scientific data from studies suggests that Adrafinil and its active form, Modafinil, have neuroprotective properties, although more research is needed in this area.(3)
Uses of Adrafinil
Adrafinil is primarily used for its wakefulness-promoting and cognitive-enhancing effects.
Below are the other key uses of Adrafinil:
- Improving Cognitive Function: Adrafinil is known to enhance cognitive abilities including memory, focus, and the ability to process information, which makes it popular among students and professionals looking to boost their mental performance.
- Counteracting Fatigue: Adrafinil is effective in combating both physical and mental fatigue, helping individuals remain productive over extended periods.
- Enhancing Mood and Motivation: Some users report mood elevation and increased motivation, which can be particularly useful for tasks requiring sustained mental effort.
- Treatment of Sleep Disorders: While not its primary indication, adrafinil can be used off-label to help manage certain sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, that are characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Support for ADHD: In some cases, adrafinil has been used off-label as an alternative to traditional stimulant medications in the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
- Neuroprotective Effects: There is some evidence suggesting that adrafinil may have neuroprotective properties, potentially benefiting brain health in the long term, although more research is needed in this area.
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The standard starting dose for adrafinil is between 100 mg to 300 mg per day.
The most commonly used dose for achieving wakefulness and cognitive enhancement is 600 mg. This is often taken as a single dose, but some individuals may prefer to split it into two doses of 300 mg each, taken in the morning and early afternoon.
Do not exceed 1200 mg per day without the specific guidance of a healthcare provider. This precaution is to avoid the potential adverse effects on liver health that a higher dose can cause.
Adrafinil Side Effects & Safety
Adrafinil is a stimulant that can have side effects and safety concerns that users should be aware of:
- Liver Enzyme Elevation: One of the most significant clinical risks associated with Adrafinil is its potential impact on liver health. It is metabolized in the liver, and prolonged use can lead to elevated liver enzymes, indicating liver stress or damage.
- Cardiovascular Effects: Adrafinil can increase heart rate and blood pressure, making it potentially risky for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.
- Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances: Given its stimulant nature, adrafinil can cause difficulties in falling asleep or staying asleep, especially if taken later in the day.
- Psychiatric Symptoms: In some cases, Adrafinil may lead to anxiety, irritability, or agitation. It can also exacerbate pre-existing psychiatric conditions.
- Dependency and Withdrawal: While adrafinil is considered to have a lower risk of dependency compared to traditional stimulants, there can still be a risk of psychological dependence, and abrupt cessation may lead to withdrawal symptoms.
- Interactions with Other Medications: Adrafinil can interact with various medications, including those for blood pressure, heart conditions, and other central nervous system stimulants.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of Adrafinil during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well-established. Therefore, it is generally advised to avoid its use during these periods.
Other than these safety concerns, there are the common side effects of Adrafinil:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Dry mouth
- Skin reactions
These side effects are usually short-lived and disappear once your body adjusts to the Modafinil production within your liver.
In conclusion, Adrafinil stands out as a potent nootropic, offering a range of benefits from enhancing wakefulness and cognitive function to combating fatigue and improving mood.
Whether you’re looking to push through a demanding work schedule, ace your studies, or simply maintain a high level of mental functioning, Adrafinil is a valuable tool, provided it’s used with the respect and caution it warrants.
It’s best to consult with your doctor before incorporating Adrafinil into your healthcare routine.
With the right approach, Adrafinil can be a safe and effective way to boost your mental acuity.
How long does Adrafinil take to work?
Adrafinil, once ingested, typically takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to start exhibiting its effects.
What is the elimination half-life of Adrafinil?
The elimination half-life of Adrafinil itself is relatively short, typically around 1 hour.
Should you cycle Adrafinil?
Yes. A common approach is to take Adrafinil for a few days to a week, followed by an equal or longer break. However, the optimal schedule can vary, and it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider for guidance tailored to your health.
Can I stack Adrafinil with other nootropics?
Yes, Adrafinil can be stacked with L-Theanine and Choline supplements. If you decide to stack nootropics, start with lower doses than you would use if taking the substances individually.
How should I store Adrafinil?
Store adrafinil in a cool and dry environment. Excessive heat and moisture can degrade the compound, reducing its effectiveness. Room temperature, typically around 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), is generally ideal.
- Ameline, Alice et al. “Identification of adrafinil and its main metabolite modafinil in human hair. Self-administration study and interpretation of an authentic case.” Forensic sciences research vol. 5,4 322-326. 29 Jan. 2020, doi:10.1080/20961790.2019.1704482
- Siwak, C T et al. “Adrafinil: effects on behavior and cognition in aged canines.” Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry vol. 24,5 (2000): 709-26. doi:10.1016/s0278-5846(00)00103-2
- Siwak, C T et al. “Comparison of the effects of adrafinil, propentofylline, and nicergoline on behavior in aged dogs.” American journal of veterinary research vol. 61,11 (2000): 1410-4. doi:10.2460/ajvr.2000.61.1410