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Other Names

Olmifon, CRL-40028

Adrafinil Background

Developed in the 1970s by Group Lafon, a French pharmaceutical company that would later introduce Modafinil, Adrafinil is a mild stimulant with a long history of use improving alertness, combating narcolepsy and increasing energy.  Although the Olmifon brand has been recently discontinued, a number of competing brands of Adrafinil have become available.

Adrafinil’s Mode of Action

Adrafinil is metabolized into Modafinil and therefore has very similar effects on the brain and body.  The drug’s mode of action is not thoroughly understood, but its effectiveness is probably derived from its ability to stimulate adrenergic receptors in the brain selectively. [2] Adrafinil targets the receptors that usually respond to norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter linked to concentration and memory.

Adrafinil Benefits

Adrafinil, like Modafinil, is most notable for increasing wakefulness, alertness, cognitive function and memory.  Its ability to help regulate sleep cycles has made it useful for treating a variety of sleep disorders, including narcolepsy and hypersomnia. [1] Adrafinil has also been shown to be effective in treating attention deficit disorders and mild depression.  [2]

Adrafinil Dosing

Common daily dosages are between 600 mg and 1200 mg.  [2]

Adrafinil Toxicity

Adrafinil is considered safe but there have been a few adverse reactions associated with it.  Most commonly, these are nausea, headache and anxiety.  Long-term users, however, can face more severe side effects, such as skin irritation and abnormal increases in liver enzymes.  It is recommended that liver function should be tested before extended use of Adrafinil and retested regularly while usage continues.  Problematic liver enzyme levels should be normalized either by lowering the dosage of Adrafinil or by ending its use entirely. [1]

Differences with Modafinil

Adrafinil is a prodrug which is metabolized into Modafinil upon consumption. [2] Modafinil is a newer drug which is intended to be more potent, faster acting and less dangerous than Adrafinil.  Some complications from long-term use of Adrafinil, such as skin irritation and elevated enzyme levels in the liver, have not been found in long-term use of Modafinil.  [1]

Other Information

Adrafinil is not regulated in the United States and has not been approved for clinical use by the FDA.  Unlike Modafinil, it can be imported privately by citizens as it is not classified as a controlled substance.


[1] [cited 22 Sep 2013].

[2] Milgram NW, Callahan H, Siwak C.  Adrafinil:  A Novel Vigilance-Promoting Agent.  CNS Drug Reviews. 1999 [cited 22 Sept 2013]; 5(3):193-212.  Available from: