Modafinil vs Adrafinil

Modafinil was invented by the French pharmaceutical firm, Lafon, in the 70’s. The groundwork was laid by the discovery of a group of chemicals known as benzhydryl sulfinyl. This group happened to include the Modafinil prodrug, Adrafinil. This latter substance was discovered to boost alertness and awareness and, by 1986, it was sold within France as a narcolepsy remedy.

It was subsequently found that Modafinil is the active component and most important metabolite of Adrafinil. The precursor substance was adjusted, such that isolated Modafinil vs Adrafinil could be produced as a purer and more potent form, with less adverse effects. Modafinil then largely came to replace Adrafinil within France by 1994 and at the present time Adrafinil (marketed as Olmifon) was withdrawn from the French market. Adrafinil is still available as a Modafinil substitute in the United Kingdom and USA however, where it remains popular as it’s available without prescription. Modafinil was introduced to the American market in 1998, primarily as Provigil but also under other names. It is sold within the US by Cephalon, Inc., which company bought out Lafon around 2001.


Modafinil is classified as a eugeroic, meaning a drug which causes alertness or a wakeful state. Similar eugeroics include Adrafinil and Modafinil. These substances are distinct from the amphetamines, which also produce alertness but do so through greatly elevating levels of hormones in the nervous system. Modafinil’s effects stem from its action upon specific synapses in the brain’s hypothalamus region, which both registers fatigue and regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

Those wishing to experiment with Nuvigil as a nootropic will likely find their best option to be purchasing a legal substitute from the same drug family. Many nootropic users recommend Adrafinil, as it’s a Modafinil prodrug or precursor. This means that the body, specifically he liver, will metabolize Adrafinil to Modafinil in about an hour. Modafinil is of course very close pharmacologically to Nuvigil, the difference being Modafinil has dual isomers. The only downside to this way of legally experiencing Nuvigil-like effects is that it’s harder on the liver.

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