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Modafinil vs Piracetam: How Are They Similar and Different?

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Can modafinil and piracetam be termed as “smart drugs”? While certain research depicts that both meds can be used as a cognitive enhancer, do they give similar effects in terms of efficacy and safety? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes modafinil as a wakefulness-promoting agent. What about piracetam?

Modafinil vs Piracetam


Both drugs are nootropics, or “smart drugs,” (used to promote cognitive brain functions) and their use is increasing globally. Nootropics are non-toxic and non-addictive medicines that cause minimal negative effects. This guide has excellent pointers depicting the uses of these meds as prescriptions, their safety, comparisons, dosage guidelines, possible negative effects, and interactions, as well as where to get a nootropic from the best legit e-pharmacies.

What Is Modafinil?

As an active ingredient, Modafinil is marketed under the brand name Provigil®, by Cephalon, Inc., USA. It’s a compound containing the S-(−)-isomer and R-(+)-isomer, which are equipotent. This substance is not classed as a stimulant and is distinct from amphetamine. Modafinil is a well-known nootropic popularized by healthy individuals using it off-label. However, its primary use to reduce extreme daytime sleepiness due to narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The U.S. FDA approved it in 1998 for this purpose.

The off-label uses of modafinil include the treatment of several health conditions such as depression, cognitive impairment, jet lag, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and others. According to certain research, this nootropic can also be used as a potent remedy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) to reduce symptoms of impulsivity [1].

Modafinil effectively improves alertness, enhances thinking & perception. Although doctors are not exactly sure how this substance works, researchers have clarified that it influences the levels of several neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, histamine, serotonin, glutamate, and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid).

Modafinil White Pills

Modafinil’s off-label use has been favored by college and university students, working professionals, astronauts, sports professionals, executives, military personnel, IT professionals, and others as a way to combat sleep deprivation and fatigue, achieve higher cognitive power, enhance mental acuity & memory, and to boost productivity. As a nootropic, it also powerfully improves attention, decision making, learning, and planning.

What Is Piracetam?

Piracetam is also a nootropic in the racetams group of meds, with the chemical name 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide. First introduced in the 1960s, it is touted as an effective drug for the prevention & treatment of age-related cognitive decline, learning disabilities, and seizures. It is available under different trade names such as Myocalm, Dinagen, Nootropil, and Qropi.

Piracetam is often referred to as a “smart drug” due to its safety and how it powers cognitive function. Although it is marketed in health-food stores, it’s not considered a mineral, vitamin, botanical, amino acid, or dietary substance. That’s the reason it’s not classified as a dietary supplement by the FDA. In the European Union (EU), this medication is sold as Nootropil and approved as a remedy for seizure disorders.

This drug has various health benefits as a potential treatment for several health conditions including alcoholism, Raynaud’s phenomenon, stroke, brain injury, myoclonus, deep vein thrombosis, dyslexia, and vertigo. Piracetam as a racetam works on alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptors in the brain. AMPA is a key element useful in brain circuitry. By stimulating AMPA receptors in the brain, it improves signal transmissions between neurons, hence enhancing cognitive function & nerve system functioning.

Other health benefits of this medication are central nervous system disorders including epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and tardive dyskinesia. It effectively improves symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as impaired motor functioning and difficulty walking [2].

Also, as a remedy for cognitive impairment, piracetam improves cognitive function in patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular cognitive impairment. A 2002 study found that this drug is highly effective in the treatment of older people with cognitive impairment [3].

As to how piracetam affects memory, it is unclear. But it is known to impact on beta-amyloid, a major factor in Alzheimer’s disease. This drug also works to lower the inflammation (a natural response, which aids the body with healing & fighting diseases) that may lead to a decline in cognition.

Piracetam is considered the first eugeroic medicine of its kind. It’s a popular synthetic derivative of the GABA neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger that helps slow down activity in the nervous system [4].

Compare Modafinil vs Piracetam

Before deciding between these two products, there must be an essential point to take, as these drugs have a wider realm of use and are safe and very effective for the majority of individuals. Also, it’s necessary to carefully scrutinize drug histories, their effects on the human brain, similarities, and differences.

Modafinil vs Piracetam

This table gives a detailed overview of Piracetam vs Modafinil:

Brand name Provigil® (modafinil) Dinagen, Myocalm, Nootropil, Qropi, etc. (piracetam)
Is a generic version available? Yes Yes
What form does this drug come in? Oral pill Oral pill, capsule, and powder
What strengths does it come in? 100 mg, 200 mg 200 mg, 400 mg, 800 mg, and 1,200 mg tablets
Is it legal? World Anti-Doping Agency lists modafinil as a banned product There are no restrictions on illegal use
What is the half-life of the drug? ~15 hours 4–5 hours
What is the typical length of medication? Long-term treatment Long-term treatment
Is this a controlled substance? Yes No
Is there a risk of withdrawal? No Avoid abrupt withdrawal

As seen, piracetam and modafinil have a similar mode of action and are safe and well-tolerated. There are other alternatives to the latter such as fish oil, which is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. This product preserves memory, enhances cognitive function, and protects against depression & Alzheimer’s disease. You can stack Modafinil and Piracetam with other meds to enhance their effects.

Is Modafinil Safer Than Piracetam?

Pharmaceuticals originally designed to treat patients with neurological, sleep disorders, and psychiatric conditions among others are nowadays often used by athletes, top professionals, and students as brain boosters. Modafinil and piracetam are cognitive enhancers that work effectively in healthy individuals.

Since these meds are easily available, their use is rapidly growing. Modafinil is widely known as the “world’s first safe smart drug.” However, piracetam is a safer alternative to this famous nootropic for individuals who want to promote their brain function on complex tasks. Their differences are their half-life and the onset of side effects. Piracetam medication has fewer potential negative reactions compared to modafinil.

Nootropics are natural or synthetic substances that can be safely used to improve mental faculties in healthy people. For this purpose, modafinil is used more widely than piracetam. Although the latter is marketed as a nootropic supplement, various research supporting its effectiveness is lacking [5].

Where to Buy These Nootropics Online Over-the-Counter?

Modafinil is available from various online pharmacies due to its wide usage, safety, and tolerability. If you are interested in the efficacy of a nootropic and want to give it a try, it’s necessary only to get modafinil or other eugeroics from a legit e-pharmacy that sources its meds from approved manufacturers.

Modafinil Online

Below are a few best e-pharmacies offering modafinil at favorable prices and having excellent shipping, among other notable features. As for piracetam, recommended places for it include Amazon and other online platforms or health food stores.


This vendor is our #1 top recommended e-pharmacy. It has excellent products sourced from approved manufacturers and offers modafinil and other nootropics at the manufacturing cost. Get modafinil trial samples from this legit and highly trusted e-pharmacy for free.

ModafinilXL ships packages worldwide except for a few countries such as Canada listed on the website. Its delivery is ultra-fast – taking only 7 to 12 business days to the USA, the UK, and Australia if using the Express Mail Service (EMS). Reviews and testimonials from Yotpo and Trustpilot about this vendor are positive and clearly show how ModafinilXL operates with genuine products, excellent customer support, and guaranteed delivery. In case of any failed delivery, it offers a reshipment or a full refund depending on your choice.

Payment is highly secured. You can pay with Bitcoin (BTC) and save 20% off, use a credit card or PayPal. Other than the BTC discount, there are other offers and coupons you can use to save more money when checking out.


BuyModa is an American-run modafinil vendor that’s legit and highly trusted, as it only works with ISO certified pharmaceutical companies to ensure its buyers receive the highest-quality “smart drugs” in the world.

This seller sources its meds from Indian top manufacturers including HAB Pharma & Sun Pharma. The cooperation with these highly trusted companies allows BuyModa to efficiently deliver world-class quality eugeroics at discounted prices. This vendor is popular for its excellent customer support. Its shipping is fast and reliable and it provides prompt and responsive service. Customer orders are monitored automatically by AfterShip or 17Track, and if (in rare cases) there is ever an issue with your order due to customs laws, it will ship you a new package within 24 hours.

Besides “smart drugs,” this vendor offers a wide range of health remedies for various conditions including HIV, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and others.

Afinil requires no prescription for the products it offers. It sells FDA approved drugs, giving customers satisfaction guaranteed with the world’s lowest prices.

For nootropics orders, it offers free Express shipping worldwide, which takes around 5 to 14 days to arrive. Also, it provides a 24% crypto discount and 30% extra tabs for the nootropics orders. Due to strict customs laws, Afinil doesn’t provide refunds or reshipments for orders made from some countries listed on its website. Take note of this before placing an order. For buyers from locations not explicitly covered by its shipping, this vendor recommends using for forwarding services.


FoxDose offers nootropics shipment worldwide. Among other excellent features such as low drug pricing, it offers Express Mail Service (EMS) with all orders. It also provides superior privacy when making nootropic orders. Your shopping experience and payment information are safe. Also, like other legit e-pharmacies, FoxDose offers authentic pills that are verified to ensure you only get the good stuff!

Among other payment options from this vendor, you can pay with Bitcoin and get a 30% discount! Although FoxDose does not depict where it ships nootropics to, it’s necessary to contact customer support, and in case of any failed delivery, it offers a full refund or free reshipment.


ModaPharma provides 100% risk-free worldwide shipping with tracking. Other than nootropics, it offers various health medications such as antidepressants among others.

ModaPharma Main Page

ModaPharma has benefits you can use to get your hands on modafinil, “the world’s first safe smart drug.” Among other impressions, this vendor offers fast & affordable shipping, which varies depending on your country. Its delivery time is within 6 to 12 working days on average. It also offers free modafinil samples in exchange for posting an unboxing video on YouTube or 15% off for sharing a link to its website on authority online platforms or for leaving an honest product review. If there is a failed delivery, it also offers a reshipment or refund.

DinoSupplies (Closed in 2020)

DinoSupplies is also a modafinil vendor. Shipping from this e-pharmacy usually ranges between 10 to 15 business days for the UK, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand orders and between 15 to 20 business days for the rest of the world.

DinoSupplies also keeps an eye on the buyer parcel during delivery to ensure that it arrives safely and on time. In the event of any problems such as the parcel being seized by country-specific customs, it will reship an order within 24 hours and provide a new tracking number or offer a full refund. However, it does not provide refunds or reshipments if a buyer gives an incorrect address or if the parcel is not collected after multiple failed delivery attempts.

This vendor accepts payments via credit cards. Alternatively, it highly encourages buyers to pay for their orders using Bitcoin by rewarding them with a 20% discount if using this option.

Modafinil and Piracetam Dosage

Modafinil and piracetam should be taken according to the doctor’s prescription. The recommended dosage for treating OSA & narcolepsy is 200 mg of modafinil taken once a day in the morning; individuals with SWSD should take a 200 mg pill once a day approximately an hour before the start of the work shift. This dosage time can be similar to those taking it to enhance their cognitive function or productivity. If using the med off-label, administer it according to a doctor’s prescription.

Piracetam recommended daily dosage is between 2.4–4.8 grams. It should be taken 3 times per day: in the morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon. Dosage of piracetam varies and experimenting with the dose strength where you experience the most benefit is a key. A lower dose can work for you, or you may realize you need to increase it even more. The dosage of piracetam is directly related to your unique neurochemistry.

Are Their Side Effects Different?

Modafinil has few or no adverse effects than those found in psychostimulants such as methylphenidate, amphetamine, or cocaine. If used correctly by healthy individuals, this drug is safe and well-tolerated.

In terms of likelihood & severity, modafinil negative effects are characterized as common and mild or rare and severe [6]. The common ones include:

  • anxious feelings;
  • diarrhea;
  • a stuffy and runny nose;
  • indigestion;
  • backache;
  • dizziness;
  • nausea;
  • difficulty sleeping;
  • headache;
  • nervousness.

Rare but severe side effects of modafinil include allergic reactions, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and others.

Runny Nose

Piracetam has very few negative effects. Mild ones include:

  • diarrhea;
  • drowsiness;
  • hyperactivity;
  • insomnia;
  • nervousness;
  • weight gain;
  • muscle spasm;
  • depression;
  • rash.

This guide does not contain all the possible negative effects of both meds. Check with your medical specialist for additional information.

What About Differences in Interactions?

These nootropics are very safe if taken without mixing with other medications. Some drugs can interact with modafinil and piracetam in a negative way. Avoid coadministering modafinil with the following substances:

  • CYP3A4/5 and CYP2C19 substrates;
  • warfarin;
  • MAO inhibitors;
  • CNS stimulants, and others [7].

Let the doctor know of the meds you are using to assess for possible drug interactions.

Piracetam has not known severe or serious drug-drug interactions. Moderate ones include:

  • cilostazol;
  • dipyridamole;
  • clopidogrel;
  • prasugrel;
  • eptifibatide;
  • tirofiban;
  • ticlopidine.

Mild drug interactions of piracetam include thyroid desiccated, levothyroxine, and liothyronine among other meds. This is not a complete list of possible interactions.

Most importantly, note that drugs also interact with some diseases you might have such as liver, kidney, or heart problems among others. A doctor should examine your health first before starting any medication to prevent possible disease interactions. Alcohol should also be avoided while using any cognitive enhancer.


Modafinil is widely known as the world’s first safe nootropic. Piracetam is a nootropic supplement. If you are experimenting with racetams, you can start with this drug or opt for modafinil. Like the latter, piracetam is safe, works well, and is cheaper than other medicines from the racetam family.

Both drugs are powerful in helping those suffering from most types of age-related cognitive decline, useful to students and executives in need to boost cognitive function, learning & memory. Either of nootropics can be stacked with other meds to enhance its effects. Piracetam is not poisonous even at higher doses.


  1. Cognitive enhancing effects of modafinil in healthy volunteers. Turner DC, Robbins TW, Clark L, Aron AR, Dowson J, Sahakian BJ. Published: January 2003.
  2. Piracetam and vinpocetine ameliorate rotenone-induced Parkinsonism in rats. Zaitone SA, Abo-Elmatty DM, Elshazly SM. Published: December 2012.
  3. Clinical Efficacy of Piracetam in Cognitive Impairment: A Meta-Analysis. Waegemans T. Wilsher C.R. Danniau A. Ferris S.H. Kurz A.c · Winblad B. Published: May 02, 2002.
  4. 5 Benefits of Piracetam (Plus Side Effects). Retrieved: May 7, 2020.
  5. The 14 Best Nootropics and Smart Drugs Reviewed | Piracetam. Retrieved: May 7, 2020.
  6. Modafinil Side Effects by Likelihood and Severity. Retrieved: May 7, 2020.
  7. PROVIGIL® (modafinil) Tablets [C-IV] | Rx Only (PDF). Retrieved: May 7, 2020.