Adrafinil is a synthetic nootropic supplement that acts as a central nervous system stimulant, preventing fatigue and increasing energy and wakefulness. But adrafinil does more than just fighting sleepiness; it has also been shown to enhance mood, motivation, and reaction time.

Its potential cognitive benefits include improved memory, heightened focus over longer periods, and even increased learning capacity.

Discovered in the 1970s by French pharmaceutical company Lafon Laboratories, adrafinil was marketed in Europe under the brand name Olmifon. Following its introduction in 1986, it was prescribed throughout Europe, mainly as a treatment for narcolepsy and other sleep disorders that cause excessive daytime sleepiness.

Production of Olmifon was discontinued in 2011 after the French regulatory agency withdrew marketing approval of the drug. However, adrafinil is unregulated in the US and Canada and is widely used off-label to fight fatigue, enhance energy and as a cognitive enhancing nootropic.

Benefits and Effects

Though adrafinil was initially developed for its eugeroic or wakefulness-promoting properties, it has been shown to produce significant cognitive benefits as well. For people who experience life-disrupting daytime fatigue because of shift work or sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea, adrafinil can promote the physical and mental energy needed for an active life. It can also improve mental clarity, focus, and retention, making it a favorite with students.

Adrafinil has been shown to be a very effective general stimulant, preventing daytime sleepiness and dramatically increasing both energy and attentiveness without the hyperactivity and jitteriness commonly associated with stimulants. In fact, many users report a heightened sense of well-being, a reduction of stress, and general enhancement of pleasure – effects that may be attributable in large part to adrafinil’s stimulation of dopamine receptors.

However, general stimulant effects are only part of adrafinil’s benefits. In addition to promoting wakefulness and increasing energy, adrafinil is strongly associated with a number of nootropic effects, including increased learning capacity, better memory, and faster recall. Users have reported that adrafinil improves their ability to focus and maintain concentration, enhances mental clarity, and makes it easier to do mentally taxing work over extended periods of time.

How it Works

Adrafinil acts on the adrenergic system, the part of the nervous system that releases adrenaline. Typically associated with the “fight or flight” response, a rapid release of adrenaline boosts energy and increases alertness. While not all of adrafinil’s actions are entirely understood, it is believed to replicate the positive effect of an adrenaline release by boosting adrenergic neurotransmitters.

Technically, adrafinil is a synthetic prodrug or precursor, which means that is initially pharmacologically inactive but is converted to an active form inside the body. Adrafinil is metabolized in the liver, where it is converted to Modafinil, a USFDA-approved treatment for wakefulness disorders sold under the brand names Alertec, Modavigil, and Provigil. The pharmacological effects of adrafinil are virtually identical to those of Modafinil.

Though the exact chemical mechanisms of adrafinil are not entirely clear, researchers hypothesize that in its metabolized form it acts as an adrenergic receptor agonist.[1] One of its primary actions is thought to be the increased production and release of the neurotransmitter hypocretin, which in turn can trigger the increased production of dopamine, histamine, and norepinephrine. All of these neurotransmitters and hormones are directly related to wakefulness and energy levels, which largely explains adrafinil’s stimulant properties.

The powerful mood-improving and cognitive-enhancing effects of adrafinil are believed to be created by several actions, including the positive modulation of glutamate receptors and inhibiting the breakdown of glutamate. This can result in enhanced neuronal communication, which improves memory and focus and creates better general cognitive function.

Adrafinil is also believed to stimulate the release of serotonin, which enhances mood by helping to lessen anxiety. It may also inhibit the breakdown of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an enormous role in the brain’s reward and pleasure centers as well as emotional responses.


Dosage recommendations vary, but a range of 150 to 300 mg daily is widely accepted as safe and effective. It is a very powerful nootropic, so it’s a good idea to give the body a chance to adjust by starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it as needed.

Adrafinil should be ingested on an empty stomach. Because of its potent wakefulness-inducing properties, it should be taken in the morning to allow for normal night’s sleep. Effects can typically be felt within an hour, and the duration of a single dose can be 3-4 hours.

Taking adrafinil on a long-term basis is inadvisable, as it could potentially affect liver function. Using adrafinil in a cycle (for instance, two weeks on, one week off) is preferable. If you do plan to take adrafinil for an extended period, it’s important to have your liver function closely monitored by a medical professional.

Adrafinil has been banned for in-competition use by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a nonspecific stimulant compound.[2]


Adrafinil works efficiently on its own, but it also stacks very well with other nootropics, such as piracetam, phenylpiracetam, and Noopept.

Adrafinil and Noopept Stack

Stacking adrafinil with Noopept is a popular combination that is suited for extended periods of mental work where focus and attention are needed.

As Needed (not more than once per day)

Side Effects

Adrafinil has been used safely and without side effects by millions, but some potential side effects have been documented, and they range from mild to serious.

The most common side effects of adrafinil are headaches, dizziness, nausea, and stomach discomfort.

The most serious side effects are related to liver function, and there is potential for increased risk of high blood pressure and heart problems, particularly when taking higher doses of adrafinil.

If you experience any side effects when taking adrafinil, you should stop taking it and seek medical advice.

Where to Buy

Adrafinil is legal for purchase in the USA and Canada. For other countries, please research the laws in your country.

There are only a handful of suppliers for adrafinil, and it is advised to only purchase from reputable sellers. We recommend ordering adrafinil online via as they are a trusted seller of nootropics and their supplements are all verified by 3rd party labs to ensure purity.

Closing Thoughts

Adrafinil’s unique combination of mental and physical benefits makes it an invaluable supplement for anyone who needs or wants more energy, stamina, and mental acuity.

It is a powerful nootropic with potent stimulant properties and used responsibly it can safely offer an impressive boost in cognition and energy.

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Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.