Afinils: armodafinil, modafinil, and adrafinil drugs that promote wakefulness
Armodafinil vs Modafinil vs Adrafinil
Armodafinil and Modafinil are both non-amphetamine drugs that promote wakefulness and have helped individuals enduring sleep apnea, narcolepsy or excessive sleepiness stay active
Armodafinil is pure R-modafinil, the most active stereoisomer found in modafinil. This means armodafinil will have slightly different effects than modafinil and a lower effective dose.
Armodafinil like modafinil, is technically illegal to buy in most countries, though the personal risk still appears to be low.
Modafinil is a stimulant and wakefulness-promoting agent. It has been shown to eliminate most of the cognitive side-effects of short-term sleep deprivation. It was once believed modafinil could enhance short-term memory and executive functions in healthy non-sleep deprived populations. However, larger studies have failed to note any short-term memory improvement. While other studies have noted impaired performance on reaction time tasks.
A recent systematic review suggests modafinil may improve performance on demanding tasks. The review only looked at studies done between January 1990 and December 2014. So it failed to include the largest study on modafinil to date, which came to different conclusions.
Modafinil’s mechanism of action is still not completely understood. The most prominent current hypothesis is modafinil increases norepinephrine and dopamine neurotransmission by modestly inhibiting dopamine and norepinephrine transport. The dopamine and norepinephrine transport inhibition does not appear to be strong enough to induce euphoria or addiction. Modafinil is the most highly rated wakefulness promoter.
Adrafinil is the oldest of the modafinil family of drugs. Adrafinil is a prodrug of modafinil, which is to say it’s converted to modafinil when metabolized. However, it may not be appropriate to assume the effects are exactly the same once it’s metabolized, since adrafinil the molecule can have other effects, some of which may inhibit modafinil. There is some concern that adrafinil may be worse on one’s liver than modafinil. Adrafinil is currently unscheduled in the USA.
In 2011 French drug assessment authorities removed adrafinil’s market authorization citing: “Examination of the results of clinical studies made by the laboratory does not allow to conclude on the benefit of adrafinil in disorders of arousal and alertness in the elderly. Given also known adverse effects of this drug , the Commission considers that the MA benefit / risk ratio of adrafinil is unfavorable and therefore proposes a withdrawal of the authorization for placing on the market.