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Adrafinil Side Effects: Common, Short- & Long-Term

Nootropics, or “smart drugs,” are natural or synthetic substances that powerfully augment mental performance & boost productivity in healthy people. They have procured admiration in today’s highly competitive society due to their ability to ameliorate memory, focus, concentration, creativity, & motivation. “Smart drugs” are sometimes termed cognitive augmenters.

Adrafinil Side Effects

Because adrafinil has existed for a long time, it inspires trust, but many people aren’t still sure what negative effects they can expect from this nootropic. In this guide, we’ll explain its benefits & the typical side effects to expect at various doses. We’ll also discuss in detail if adrafinil causes sexual negative effects, if there can be eye problems after taking it, the duration of its adverse reactions, and if it’s possible to use the nootropic every day.

Besides, we’ll dive deep to give a clear view of whether adrafinil’s negative effects can be worse than those of modafinil, armodafinil, & other popular nootropic supplements such as Mind Lab Pro (MLP). Conclusively, we’ll give the verdict regarding adrafinil usage & negative effects.

What Is Adrafinil?

Adrafinil, marketed under the brand name Olmifon, is a eugeroic & a synthetic nootropic compound. It was previously used in France to ameliorate wakefulness, alertness, mood, vigilance, and attention, specifically in the elderly. It is a prodrug for modafinil – famously known as “world’s first safe smart tab,” meaning the supplementation of adrafinil leads to heightened concentrations of modafinil in the body. Simply, when it is ingested, it is metabolized (or changed) by the liver into its active metabolite, modafinil, which is an efficacious & potent eugeroic in its own right. Both adrafinil & modafinil have virtually identical pharmacological effects & rewards.

Adrafinil was discovered & developed by two intellectual scientists working for Laboratoire L. Lafon, a French pharmaceutical company, in 1974. Even though initial trials demonstrated that modafinil was more powerful than its parent med, adrafinil, both health remedies were presented to the French market — adrafinil under the trade name Olmifon in 1985 and modafinil under the trade name Provigil in 1992.

Olmifon was then sold by Lafon (now Cephalon) as a powerful remedy for disorders of attention, vigilance, ideomotor slowing in elderly people, and narcolepsy [1]. Despite adrafinil’s success, it was later discontinued in France in 2011. Thereafter, several companies carried on producing generic adrafinil & marketed the nootropic in various countries around the globe.

Adrafinil Nootropic

Today, adrafinil is no longer used as a remedy for certain health problems. However, it’s only used as a “smart tab.” Nootropic enthusiasts shop for it to augment cognition & ameliorate focus, among other brainpower effects.

Although it’s a stimulant, it doesn’t cause hyperactivity. Instead, it fights somnolence. Safety info on adrafinil is insufficient, and that is why modafinil is often used instead to treat narcolepsy.

The long-term supplementation of this medicine isn’t advisable because it’s metabolized into modafinil in the liver, & there’s no existing confirmation regarding liver safety.

Truck drivers, factory workers, medical staff, business executives, military aviators, and anyone engaged in demanding mental activities like students preparing for super challenging exams, professors, academics, and researchers use adrafinil as a powerful nootropic for improving cognition, productivity, & wakefulness. These applications are similar to those of modafinil.

Overall, adrafinil is considered less powerful than modafinil, but still it provides similar benefits. As for its mode of action, it works by heightening the histamine levels in the brain, causing a robust feeling of alertness. Besides, it acts as an appetite suppressant and prevents the user from feeling tired. Notably, like modafinil, this nootropic also assists the user to ameliorate working & episodic memory [2]. It also heightens the levels of serotonin, dopamine, & norepinephrine in the brain.

Another benefit of adrafinil is that it assists with lessening reactivity to fear stimuli in the brain region linked to anxiety, the amygdala [3]. This helps the user to work or learn effectively, even if stressed or anxious about meeting a close deadline, sitting an intricate exam, or giving a significant presentation.

Adrafinil’s standard dosage is reported to be 600 to 1,200 mg. For treating narcolepsy, the dosage could be either 600 mg taken twice daily (i.e., in the morning & midday) or 600 mg to 900 mg ingested once daily upon waking.

Take note that this medicine is no longer used for this health condition due to modafinil being a more powerful & suitable pharmaceutical. Given dosage tips reflect the advisable strengths for the prescription med Olmifon when it was available.

Adrafinil shouldn’t be ingested in the afternoon & evening since its supplementation may impair sleep.

Adrafinil Side Effects: Detailed Overview

Adrafinil is relatively safe and well-tolerated. However, some negative effects can occur. That’s just how it is when using cognitive augmenters. Luckily, you won’t encounter any serious issues with adrafinil if you’re healthy and not suffering from any conditions. However, we strongly urge you to converse with your physician about potential negative effects before its use, especially if you are currently taking other prescription meds. If you experience any adrafinil side effects, cease its use & consult your physician as soon as possible.

Side Effects

The minor negative effects only occur rarely. That means you shouldn’t have any worries about adrafinil usage, but for more detailed info, let’s take a look at its regular side effects & the best way to prevent them.

Headaches

This is a common negative effect that is associated with most nootropics. However, not everyone can get head pain after using adrafinil. This symptom may occur due to not drinking sufficient water while on this drug. When using the nootropic, you may experience augmented cognitive benefits & neglect to take food as well as drink plenty of water. It’s easy to get dehydrated & end up encountering a minor headache. The best tip is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Because adrafinil is a prime appetite suppressant, make sure you’re conscious of the need to eat or drink adequate water during the day, whether you’re hungry/thirsty or not. You may also drink water with a squeezed lime while on adrafinil. This will keep you hydrated & is a great source of electrolytes.

Another possible cause of headache is an increase in the neurotransmitter glutamate. Its concentrations are heightened as a byproduct of the stimulation of other neurotransmitters like orexin & dopamine. Even without taking adrafinil, some users may have high levels of glutamate in the brain already, principally those suffering from conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety. Taking the nootropic can push users over the edge, causing them to experience headaches, as well as other negative effects like jitteriness & anxiety. A superb way to manage glutamate levels is to supplement adrafinil with L-theanine. This compound has been shown to lower anxiety [4].

Diarrhea

Diarrhea, as well as mild gastrointestinal discomfort, can be frequent. The issue is related to a slow breakdown of adrafinil in the gastrointestinal tract, triggering it to irritate the intestinal tissue. The best technique to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort of any kind with adrafinil is to ensure the nootropic is ingested with food, especially food containing fats like olive oil, butter, or animal fats.

Additionally, by heightening norepinephrine levels in the brain, adrafinil triggers the body’s fight or flight response system. In this state, the body requires to divert energy to more significant systems such as the nervous and muscular systems to make certain the survival, & the digestive system needs to be suppressed as a result. As a whole, diarrhea isn’t a major issue, but it should be on the lookout for before using adrafinil.

Joint Pain

Joint pain is another side effect of adrafinil. In most cases, it is very subtle, and you may not pay a lot of attention to it at times. But if you get persistent aches, it’s best to stop using adrafinil for some time. The chances of this rare side effect can be due to your body being tired & depleted. Painful joints are quite frequent for nootropic users, especially if they’re sitting in a chair with poor posture for extended hours without being interrupted. This leads to some stiffness that may be masked by adrafinil & not be apparent until the effects of the drug wear off.

Besides, if you choose to use adrafinil before hitting the gym, it is advisable to warm up with mobility exercises or perform light cardio before lifting heavy weights. We also recommend taking a quick nap during the day, for an hour or so. This will let the body compensate a little for the new wakefulness cycle.

Short Sleep

Have you taken adrafinil & found yourself being a short sleeper? Some users do encounter sleeplessness or undergo short sleep. Nonetheless, this minor negative effect should not be very noticeable unless the nootropic is taken at night. Sleeplessness might be enjoyable during the day, especially if you’re engaging in a task that requires you to be observant and vigilant, but not at nighttime. Unless you desire to stay up very late at night or pull an all-nighter, make it a priority to ingest adrafinil in the morning hours or early afternoon. As a wakefulness-ameliorating drug, it has a stimulating effect, meaning that it can be challenging to sleep afterward.

Muscle Pain

Sitting 8 straight hours at the desk (performing a complex task) might cause muscle pain as well as neck & spine pains. It can be a common side effect, but it usually wears off after a while.

Chances of muscle pain could just be that when you’re focused, at peak superb brainpower, or hunched over a computer screen, you move around less throughout the day & your muscles tighten up. That happens to a small percentage of adrafinil users, & the solution is to make sure to stretch & walk around (as a break) but not to lose focus on what you intend to achieve while on the nootropic effect.

Dry Mouth

Another frustrating negative effect of adrafinil is the dryness of the mouth. It’s the result of overstimulation of the central nervous system by the nootropic.

Muscarinic receptors (existing outside the brain) are triggered by norepinephrine. Once triggered, they bring all digestive secretions to a halt so that the energy can be rerouted to more critical body areas like the muscles & the brain. The body normally engages in this process during the fight or flight response to assist an individual to escape a hungry tiger or other menacing situations.

Saliva is considered a digestive secretion, and once it stops flowing, it might trigger an excessively dry mouth. If this side effect occurs for short durations, then it’s nothing more than an annoyance. However, if dry mouth lasts long, you can begin to encounter issues like mouth ulcers or symptoms of poor digestion such as constipation or diarrhea later on.

The best way to fix this negative effect is to be in a state of relaxation with supplements like L-theanine or effective relaxation techniques such as slow, rhythmic breathing exercises. Doing so helps prevent overactivation of the body’s fight or flight response.

Nausea

Some individuals, particularly first-time users, can experience this negative effect caused by adrafinil. To avoid it, it’s best to eat a full meal before consuming the nootropic. However, in most cases, nausea is mild and usually doesn’t cause any discomfort. In general, this symptom is not severe and tends to go away by the next day, meaning that it isn’t a side effect to worry about.

Nausea

Those have been some frequent negative effects of adrafinil. This nootropic can cause other adverse reactions such as heightened stress & aggression and irregular heartbeat in some individuals. Some symptoms may occur more frequently in users ingesting high doses of the nootropic.

Since adrafinil is metabolized into modafinil by the liver, its action is less specific than straight-up modafinil. It causes 2 specific negative effects that modafinil doesn’t: elevated liver enzyme values & skin irritation. Besides, adrafinil has also been associated with orofacial dyskinesia – where the mouth & face move involuntarily in repetitive ways [5].

Overall, adrafinil is a very safe nootropic when taken at the advisable dose. Take note that the tips on how to avoid the negative effects aren’t medical recommendations. If you’re uncertain how adrafinil may cause a negative effect or how it may interact with your existing health conditions or other meds you’re using, you should contact your physician before use.

Does Adrafinil Have Sexual Negative Effects?

There is some proven indication that adrafinil affects basic motivational states. Although there’s no in-depth research on this drug and the sexual negative effects associated with it, there is a case report of 2 patients that adrafinil may heighten interest in sex. Reports of sexual negative effects exist for modafinil.

In one instance, a man with bipolar affective disorder developed the “smart tab” dependence & later on had hypersexuality after raising the dose from 400 to 1,000 mg daily [6]. To achieve the same effect with adrafinil nootropic, you’d need to ingest between 4 and 10 300 mg capsules, which is far outside the advisable dose of 1 to 2 tabs.

Because adrafinil functions similarly to modafinil, let’s take an example of how it affects erection quality. Some nootropic enthusiasts on Reddit find modafinil hurting their erection quality after its use [7]. Nonetheless, these effects aren’t seen as long-term in most cases.

Female users, as well, have delineated the opposite effects: it seems modafinil can heighten sex drive in women. It enables them to be more active & able to enjoy sexual activities. Generally, we think the same can exist in adrafinil female users. However, this condition is extremely rare. Overall, most nootropic users don’t encounter any hurdles with their sexual desires when they are on adrafinil.

Can There Be Eye Problems After Taking Adrafinil?

Vision problems can occur after taking modafinil. And because adrafinil and modafinil have identical negative effects due to the former being converted to the latter in the body, we believe that in rare cases, adrafinil can also be associated with vision changes.

For instance, a Reddit user has reported having trouble seeing (blurred vision) after increasing the modafinil dosage up to 400 mg per day [8]. The main reason for this side effect may be a very high dose of the medicine. Drug dosage affects the vision to some level. Your vision may return to normal as the body processes the medicine. To avoid this symptom, drink water, eat something with healthy carbs, & take a lower drug dose that won’t harm your health.

How Long Do Adrafinil Side Effects Last?

As discussed in this guide, most adrafinil negative effects are mild & don’t need medical attention. Typically, such symptoms are short-lived, meaning that they fade away after a while as the body adjusts to the medicine. However, some users may experience long-lasting adverse effects that may require immediate medical attention. This may depend on the drug dosage consumed and the state of the health of the user. Always ensure that you take adrafinil having consulted a physician to avoid any complications.

Is It Possible to Take Adrafinil Every Day?

Adrafinil tends to be used 3 times a week & for no longer than 5 months [9]. We counsel you to consume this nootropic 1–3 times a week & in evenly spaced doses. It’s always advisable to take it with a glass of water right before breakfast. Food can lengthen the time it takes for the active ingredient’s effects to kick in. At most, you should use it in a “1 week on (for 1–3 days) and 1 week off” schedule. This cycling is aimed at avoiding elevating the liver enzyme levels. For the same reason, we don’t recommend using adrafinil daily for a long period of time.

Are Adrafinil Side Effects Worse Than Modafinil?

Compared to adrafinil, modafinil boasts greater specificity in its action, lacking or having a lessened incidence of many of the frequent negative effects of the former (including anxiety, skin irritation, stomach pain, & elevated liver enzyme values with prolonged use). For adrafinil specifically, the worry is that there will be negative effects for the liver.

Modafinil Smart Drugs

We can’t rule out the possibility that adrafinil side effects can be worse than modafinil. Overall, the side effects of both meds are relatively similar. Because adrafinil is a pharmaceutical product, it can be associated with more side effects compared to nootropic supplements such as Mind Lab Pro. The latter doesn’t produce any drastic adverse reactions. However, adrafinil & modafinil may cause a variety of negative effects ranging from mild to severe.

MLP is certainly a great supplement for beginners since it offers superb cognitive benefits with nearly zero negative effects (although some very few minor ones can rarely occur). Nonetheless, just like modafinil, adrafinil is safe and well-tolerated. If used according to the prescription, it doesn’t cause serious negative effects.

The Verdict: Adrafinil Bad Side Effects

In summary, we accept that adrafinil is a revolutionary stimulant that doesn’t cause severe adverse effects that other psychostimulants do. The nootropic directly affects the central nervous system, but its mode of action isn’t completely understood. Various studies, like those of modafinil, have demonstrated that adrafinil has efficacy and cognitive augmenting potential. By heightening the levels of serotonin, dopamine, & norepinephrine, the drug ameliorates alertness & vigilance, among other brainpower effects.

If you were curious about adrafinil negative effects as well as its safety, we hope that this in-depth guide has answered all your questions. This nootropic is a slower-acting alternative to the king of “smart tabs” – modafinil, which puts more strain on the liver. However, with the right dosage & cycling, it’s easy to minimize most adrafinil adverse reactions. Generally, the nootropic offers solid cognitive augmenting advantages & few negative effects.

References

  1. Adrafinil: A Novel Vigilance Promoting Agent. By Norton W. Milgram, Heather Callahan, and Christina Siwak. Published: June 7, 2006. Onlinelibrary.wiley.com.
  2. Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects on cognition. By Michael J. Minzenberg and Cameron S. Carter. Published: June 2008. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  3. Modulatory Effects of Modafinil on Neural Circuits Regulating Emotion and Cognition. By Roberta Rasetti, Venkata S. Mattay, Beth Stankevich, et al. Published: September 2010. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  4. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. By Kenta Kimura, Makoto Ozeki, Lekh Raj Juneja, and Hideki Ohira. Published: August 22, 2006. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  5. Adrafinil-induced orofacial dyskinesia. By Stéphane Thobois, Jing Xie, Helena Mollion, Isabelle Benatru, and Emmanuel Broussolle. Published: August 2004. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  6. Modafinil Dependence and Hypersexuality: A Case Report and Review of the Evidence. By Sahoo Swapnajeet, Subodh Bn, and Gupta Gourav. Published: November 2016. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  7. Modafinil causes erection problems? By u/ragadole. Retrieved: May 3, 2021. Reddit.com.
  8. Vision problems after taking modafinil. By u/Rayandu. Retrieved: May 3, 2021. Reddit.com.
  9. Adrafinil. Research analysis led by Kamal Patel. Reviewed by Examine.com Team. Last updated: September 17, 2019. Examine.com.

Modafinil.org is an informational resource about modafinil and other nootropics.