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10 Best Study Drugs and Nootropics in 2021

Nootropics are fast becoming the most popular way to hack the brain and gain a competitive edge in school and even at the workplace. In fact, one The Telegraph publication asserted that about 25% of students in leading universities in the UK have taken modafinil (a popular nootropic) to help increase their performance [1].

Best Study Drugs

The one big problem is that “nootropics” is a blanket term that lumps all kinds of substances together, including those that may pose health risks. If at this point you’re having difficulty making a decision, here’s a list of 10 best nootropics you can easily make your pick from.

What Are Study Drugs Benefits?

Memory, focus, motivation, and mental clarity are important factors that determine how well we assimilate what we study and present it in a test or exam situation. Unfortunately, sometimes, these qualities become far-fetched. It’s the reason why some people lack the motivation or find it very difficult to concentrate, and even when they do – they have a problem recalling what they read. This is where study drugs, also known as “smart drugs” or nootropics, come in.

“Smart drugs” are supplements, herbs, medicines, and other substances that are capable of hacking the brain to increase memory, information processing speed, creativity, focus, and motivation [2]. These drugs have been around for many years and have been used by not only college students but also by celebrities, CEOs, business analysts, scientists, pilots, and people from all walks of life.

Some of the benefits of top study drugs are as follows:

  • improved memory retention ability;
  • increased focus;
  • enhanced mood;
  • boosted energy;
  • increased attention;
  • boosted creativity.

It is worth noting that these benefits may differ depending on the type of nootropic taken; some products are created to focus on some aspects more than the other. This is why it is important for workers or students taking drugs to know exactly what they’re looking to achieve and select a product accordingly.

However, there are some very basic benefits that anything that is called a nootropic must offer. In 1972, Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian psychologist and chemist, indicated that nootropics should at least be able to do the following [2]:

  • enhance natural cognitive function;
  • improve working memory and learning;
  • protect the brain from physical or chemical toxicity.

Most of the drugs that help you study listed in this guide satisfy these conditions.

Why Shouldn’t You Take Adderall Pills?

As stated earlier, there are countless types of nootropics available, and Adderall is one of them. In fact, Adderall was one of the earliest drugs created for treating conditions revolving around mood, inattention, forgetfulness, and lack of focus [3]. Today, it is considered the first-choice treatment option for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as it proves effective in 75%–80% of children suffering from the condition [4].

Adderall Pills

However, unlike some other prescription medicines like modafinil and armodafinil that are used off-label as study drugs, it is inadvisable to take Adderall because it is a high-risk medication. It is classified under Schedule II, meaning that although legal, it has many side effects and poses a high risk of dependence and abuse [5]. Thus, unless you’re diagnosed with ADHD or other conditions Adderall is approved for and it is prescribed by a licensed doctor, you shouldn’t take it. And no, it is not one of the drugs that help you study.

Your Best Study Drugs – Choice 2021

Besides just reading to simplify your search for the best study drug, it is important to understand each and every product on this list, how it can affect the brain, and what side effects it may have.

For starters, it is important to know that the products on this list are divided into two distinct categories: prescription medications and over-the-counter supplements. Find below a table depicting what nootropic belongs to what category.

Name Prescription Drug Supplement
Modafinil ✔️
Armodafinil ✔️
Mind Lab Pro ✔️
Noopept ✔️
Piracetam ✔️
Phenotropil ✔️
Gorilla Mind Rush ✔️
Adrafinil ✔️
Qualia Mind ✔️
Oxiracetam ✔️

The prescription meds were once strictly meant to serve as a short-term solution for narcolepsy and ADHD but are now commonly used off-label by students to improve academic performance. Without beating around the bush, here’s the basic info you need to know about these study drugs.


Alongside Ritalin and Adderall, modafinil was one of the first nootropics that were formulated. Although it was strictly created and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to promote wakefulness in individuals suffering from sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and narcolepsy, it is now mostly used off-label as a cognitive enhancer [6]. In fact, it is one of the most commonly used nootropics in the prescription category, and this can be attributed to its high safety profile.

Modafinil Smart Drugs

Unlike Adderall and Ritalin, modafinil has limited side effects, which only affect a handful of people. Furthermore, in many cases, those who experience the adverse effects hardly have to receive treatment before the symptoms disappear. It is this outstanding characteristic, coupled with the drug’s low potential for addiction, that prompted researchers at Oxford and Harvard universities to deem it the “world’s first safe ‘smart drug’” [7].

A couple of studies have indicated that modafinil is actually an effective study drug. For instance, a 2003 study showed that it significantly enhanced the performance of the participants of the research in tests of digit span, spatial planning, and visual pattern recognition memory. Another study carried out the following year made known the drug’s effectiveness in sustaining attention and improving accuracy [8][9].


Armodafinil is a wake-promoting drug approved by the FDA to help people suffering from shift work sleep disorder (SWSD), narcolepsy, and OSA to eliminate excessive daytime sleepiness. It is very similar to modafinil but actually stronger than it. To put this in perspective, a 150 mg tablet of armodafinil is comparable to a 200 mg tablet of modafinil [10].

Also, compared to modafinil, armodafinil has a longer half-life and is often considered to provide better wakefulness effects [11]. Results from some studies indicate that this drug could actually help people who use it to increase memory. In one study conducted, armodafinil proved to significantly improve the secondary memory of the test participants, compared with placebo. It also helped the patients who were placed on the drug experience reduce fatigue and enabled them to engage in daily living activities even better [12].

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro (MLP) is a universal “smart drug” that consists of a unique blend of 11 different safe and well-tolerated nootropics. It works in six bio-pathways to increase focus, attention, alertness, memory retention, and creativity of users [13].

MLP happens to be one of the most popular over-the-counter supplements for enhancing cognitive abilities. However, unlike modafinil and armodafinil, it isn’t approved by the FDA; but this isn’t for a terrible reason. It is merely due to the fact that the FDA and other health regulatory bodies do not inspect supplements. While this should ordinarily be a cause for alarm, MLP has been tested and used by hundreds, if not thousands, of people worldwide, and there’ve been no major complaints besides mild adverse effects that are common among nootropics.

Mind Lab Pro Pills

This natural supplement is a great cognitive-enhancing product for students looking to boost their memory retention ability and improve attention and learning [14].


Noopept is the brand name for N-phenylacetyl-L-prolylglycine ethyl ester, a famous cognitive-enhancing substance in the nootropic world. It is a “smart drug” with unique properties, one of them being that it is a synthetic product that can be purchased pretty much as a supplement. Furthermore, instead of a long onset of effects that can span from hours to days, as is typical of natural nootropics, Noopept starts working within a few minutes.

Although there is limited research on the effectiveness of this nootropic in brain hacking, a handful of people have given it a thumbs up in terms of safety, effectiveness, and ease of use. More human-based research is required to fully ascertain the extent to which this product works.


Piracetam is yet another popular nootropic known to be capable of improving memory in people suffering from a decline in mental performance or dementia caused by old age. Although a couple of poorly controlled studies conducted in the 1970s have indicated that it might be effective in treating a number of memory-related issues in healthy adults, they are simply what they are – poorly controlled [15][16]. Thus, piracetam may not be very effective or beneficial in healthy individuals.

This drug is very similar to Noopept, and very much like it, it is a synthetic drug that can be purchased as a supplement.


Very much like piracetam and Noopept, phenotropil is a synthetic drug that is available over the counter as a dietary supplement. It is known to have a powerful effect on the brain. Also, it has been found to be effective in helping patients suffering from mental injuries caused by trauma, epilepsy, and stroke recover and achieve improved mental performance. Just as with piracetam and Noopept, there’s limited research supporting phenotropil’s cognitive-enhancing effects in healthy adults. However, many people who’ve used it have painted it in a positive light based on its safety and effectiveness.

Gorilla Mind Rush

Gorilla Mind Rush (GMR) is a relatively new but popular nootropic known for providing up to 8 hours of concentration, laser-like focus, and alertness. Unlike coffee and some other “smart drugs,” GMR does not cause energy crashes as its effects wear off. It is a dietary supplement, so it can be easily purchased without a prescription.

Gorilla Mind Rush Tablets

The supplement has many reviews, of which a majority are positive. Based on these comments, a couple of people reported noticing significant improvements in their memory retention ability after using the product for a while. It is generally safe, well-tolerated, and highly effective. Considering its ability to increase concentration and boost memory, GMR will most likely help increase performance in school.


Adrafinil is a synthetic nootropic that increases alertness, improves mood, boosts memory, and promotes wakefulness. It was initially used in France to increase attention, eliminate excessive sleepiness, and treat mental decline and dementia in seniors but was voluntarily discontinued in December 2011. The drug has since been used off-label by healthy adults (students, night shift workers, etc.) looking to stay awake, alert, and focused for several hours at a stretch [17].

Qualia Mind

Qualia Mind is a dietary supplement that focuses on boosting memory and improving reaction time. It consists of 28 active ingredients, including Bacopa monnieri and citicoline – natural nootropics that have been known to impact on memory positively. The product also contains a unique blend of herbal ingredients, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. Qualia Mind is safe and well-tolerated. Its effects set in within 20 to 30 minutes of taking it and provide 8+ hours of cognitive enhancement.


Oxiracetam is a drug used to treat memory loss and cognitive problems caused by brain disorders that affect blood flow in the brain. It is also used by healthy adults as a nootropic to prevent cognitive decline, increase mental processing speed, and ultimately enhance learning in students [18][19]. Although there’s evidence to back up the drug’s effects when used to prevent organic cognitive decline in seniors, there’s little to none that supports its effectiveness as a cognitive enhancer in young healthy individuals.


In a nutshell, although oxiracetam has been used by a couple of people and received positive reviews, there is very limited data on its effects. Consequently, it may be best to try out other drugs on the list while waiting for more scientific data.

Are These Tablets Legal?

Yes, all the nootropics listed in this article are legal. However, this doesn’t mean that you can walk into any brick-and-mortar store and get every single one of them. Dietary supplements such as Qualia Mind and Gorilla Mind Rush, among others, can be purchased both online and in certain walk-in pharmacies without any friction whatsoever. However, prescription nootropics such as modafinil, armodafinil, etc., require a prescription (Rx).

Although buying an Rx-only med like modafinil without a valid prescription from a licensed physician is considered outright illegal in some countries, in many others, it is in a legal “grey area.” Regardless, it’s possible to buy modafinil, as well as all the other drugs on this list, and have them shipped anywhere without any problem; you just need to know where to buy them.

Side Effects and Safety of Study Drugs

Study drugs are awesome for the obvious reason, but like every other thing in life, they have their downsides. Typically, they have side effects. Regardless of what type of product you settle with – a supplement or prescription drug, there’s always a risk of experiencing adverse reactions. However, some products may pose a lower risk of side effects than others.

But in general, most “smart drugs” have very similar side effects; some of them include [20]:

  • insomnia and other sleep disturbances;
  • fast heart rate;
  • high blood pressure;
  • loss of appetite;
  • excessive sweating;
  • addiction.

Note that more serious side effects such as depression, hives, severe itching, anxiety, swelling of the face, throat, or extremities of the body could also result from using these drugs. While these sorts of reactions seldom occur, it is advisable to report to a doctor immediately if they arise.

Consultation with a Doctor

Generally, most of the drugs on this list are safe and well-tolerated, but how one uses them can compromise their safety. Consequently, there are precautions that must be adhered to get the best out of them. For starters, it is advisable to take nootropics or any other medication exactly as prescribed by a physician. Overdosing on them may cause psychological dependence, and this can lead to abuse.

Furthermore, drug interactions are another thing to be careful about. Certain drugs do not combine well with other medications, and nootropics are no exception. Negative drug interactions can cause one or more of the meds taken concomitantly to be ineffective. Even worse, it could increase the risk of experiencing side effects [21]. In that light, it is important to turn to the information leaflet of whatever product you intend to take to find out what drugs to avoid. Always consult a doctor before starting using nootropics or any other medicine.

Where to Buy Drugs That Help You Study?

Study drugs are very popular today, and as a result, they are relatively easy to access. They can be found anywhere, from the shelves of certain brick-and-mortar stores to pages of online pharmacies. Note that unlike “smart drugs” available as dietary supplements, prescription nootropics require that buyers tender a valid prescription to purchase them.

Most “smart drug” enthusiasts prefer shopping for nootropics online because of the ease of comparative shopping among many vendors to get the best price, greater availability of products, and convenience associated with it. However, when buying online, it is important to be very picky about the pharmacy you patronize. This is to avoid falling into the hands of scammers or buying counterfeit meds.

The best vendors to patronize are those with a proven track record of utmost customer satisfaction, a functioning refund policy, great customer service, and fast shipping. Going by this metric, some of the best online pharmacies you can bank on to get high-quality study drugs are ModafinilXL.com, ModaPharma.org, FoxDose.com, BuyModa.org, and HighStreetPharma.com.

The Verdict: Best Study Drugs

Effective studying is vastly dependent on retentive memory and a level of concentration that can be a tad challenging to maintain unaided for hours at a stretch. This is where study drugs come in. If used correctly, they can help enhance focus, improve concentration, and increase mental processing speed, which can ultimately boost performance. However, to get the best results, it is important to choose the right product.

Without a doubt, the nootropics we have in this article are some of the best ones worth trying out for memory improvement and other brain-enhancing functions. If you’re still having a hard time deciding which one to go with, remember that these products are divided into two broad categories: dietary supplements (which can be purchased over the counter) and prescription medications. A good place to start would be to first decide whether supplements or “actual” drugs are your thing. This will help ease your decision-making process considerably.

Still unable to make a choice? Perhaps you could try out modafinil. It has been around long enough, has been widely researched, and has a ton of positive reviews. Besides, it is very safe, well-tolerated, has a low potential for addiction, and is less likely to cause harmful side effects if used correctly. Just be sure to buy it from a trusted and reliable source.

Remember to always consult a doctor before taking any study drug.


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  9. Modafinil Improves Cognition and Response Inhibition in Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. By Danielle C. Turner, Luke Clark, et al. Retrieved: May 29, 2021. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
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  11. Armodafinil vs. Modafinil: Differences, Similarities, and Which Is Better for You. By Gerardo Sison, Pharm.D. Retrieved: May 29, 2021. Singlecare.com.
  12. Armodafinil Improves Wakefulness and Long-Term Episodic Memory in nCPAP-Adherent Patients with Excessive Sleepiness Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. By Thomas Roth, Gregory A. Rippon, and Sanjay Arora. Retrieved: May 29, 2021. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  13. Mind Lab Pro – Universal Nootropic. Retrieved: May 29, 2021. Eu.mindlabpro.com.
  14. Mind Lab Pro Review: Is Mind Lab Pro the Best All-in-One Brain Booster? By KSCS. Retrieved: May 29, 2021. Apnews.com.
  15. Increase in the Power of Human Memory in Normal Man Though the Use of Drugs. By S. J. Dimond and E. M. Brouwers. Retrieved: June 2, 2021. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  16. Piracetam-Induced Improvement of Mental Performance. A Controlled Study on Normally Aging Individuals. Retrieved: June 2, 2021. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
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  18. (S)-Oxiracetam is the Active Ingredient in Oxiracetam that Alleviates the Cognitive Impairment Induced by Chronic Cerebral Hypoperfusion in Rats. By Wan li, Huihui Li, et al. Retrieved: May 29, 2021. Nature.com.
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Modafinil.org is an informational resource about modafinil and other nootropics.