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Adrafinil and Adderall are chemically unrelated substances. Adrafinil is a novel wakefulness enhancer, whereas Adderall is one the classic psychostimulants (others include ritalin and cocaine). However, both drugs are increasingly used by healthy individuals to facilitate productivity in the workplace. When comparing adrafinil vs adderall, it is important to take into account the following:
- Adrafinil promotes wakefulness and vigilance, whereas Adderall improves concentration, task salience (how rewarding you perceive a task to be), and executive function. Both drugs may enhance cognition in certain populations
- Adderall use is much more likely to result in abuse or dependance than Adrafinil, and is associated with more serious side effects
- Adrafinil is unregulated in the United States and may be sold as a dietary supplement, whereas Adderall is a schedule II controlled substance
- Adrafinil may be easily purchased online, whereas Adderall requires a prescription and is almost impossible to purchase over the internet due to Adderall’s classification as a controlled drug in the US
- Adderall is primarily used to treat ADHD, whereas adrafinil has diverse applications, ranging from the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness to a drug to help restore cognitive function in patients undergoing chemotherapy (so-called “chemo-brain”).
- Adrafinil has been demonstrated to reverse some of the cognitive impairments induced by sleep deprivation.
In-Depth Comparison of Adrafinil vs Adderall
When comparing adrafinil vs Adderall, it should be recognized that pharmacologically speaking, adrafinil is a prodrug for modafinil. This means that adrafinil is converted to modafinil in vivo (in the body), and that adrafinil itself is not biologically active. However, adrafinil produces essentially identical effects to modafinil because modafinil is the major metabolite of adrafinil.
For this reason, we suggest you take a look at our detailed comparison of Adderall vs. Modafinil, because all of the statements about modafinil also apply to adrafinil.