Adrafinil Side Effects You Should Watch Out For

Last updated: May 4, 2017

The side effects of adrafinil largely mimic the side effects of modafinil. The two drugs have identical side effects because adrafinil is converted to modafinil in the body1.

Adrafinil is not itself biologically active in the brain - modafinil is the active metabolite.

Adverse Effects Associated With Adrafinil

Frequency/Seriousness Symptoms
Serious (Uncommon) Mental depression, dizziness or fainting, clumsiness or unsteadiness, chills or fever, unusual tiredness or weakness, shortness of breath, trembling or shaking, sore throat, problems with memory, trouble in urinating, uncontrolled movements of the face, mouth, or tongue, black, tarry stools, chest pain, confusion, blurred vision or other vision changes, increased thirst and urination, unusual bleeding or bruising, rapidly changing moods
Overdose Symptoms Increased blood pressure, agitation or excitement, fast or pounding heartbeat, trouble with sleeping
Less Serious (Common) Anxiety, headache, nervousness, nausea
Less Serious (Uncommon) Swelling, belching, decrease in appetite, vomiting, tingling, burning, or prickling sensations in the skin, difficulty having a bowel movement, dryness of the mouth, diarrhea, sour stomach, flushing or redness of the skin, feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings, heartburn, muscle stiffness, stuffy or runny nose, sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth, back pain, indigestion, dryness of the skin, stomach discomfort upset or pain

There are a few key ways you can mitigate adrafinil's side effects.

First, make sure that you're not inadvertently taking a drug that interacts with adrafinil.

Modafinil is metabolized by hepatic amide hydrolysis, but the liver enzymes CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP3A4, CYP3A5 also play a role. Hence, any drug that's also metabolized by one of these cytochrome enzymes can interfere with the metabolism of adrafinil and worsen side effects.

Second, follow best practices while using psychostimulants. In other words:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat regular, healthy meals even if you aren't hungry (stimulants tend to suppress appetite)
  • Avoid polypharmacy (taking multiple drugs at once)
  • Get plenty of rest. It's tempting in our productivity obsessed culture to use modafinil/adrafinil to get away with less sleep. This is counterproductive because a great deal of learning takes places during sleep. Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation.
  1. Milgram, Norton (1999). "Adrafinil: A Novel Vigilance Promoting Agent". CNS Drug Reviews. 5 (3): 193–212. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.1999.tb00100.x. Retrieved 2 October 2014

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Xavier Kent

I'm interested in nutrition, nootropics, and javascript. I'm a firm believer in getting really good at one thing.


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