Modafinil vs Adderall: Which is More Effective?

Modafinil vs Adderall: Which is More Effective? 's picture

Adderall has been a controversial drug owing to its illegal recreational abuse for decades. However, this amphetamine-based drug is a common treatment for ADHD and narcolepsy. Modafinil is also commonly prescribed for narcolepsy aside from other uses. It is naturally common to wonder which of the two is more effective. In this blog, we will discuss the effects of each of these drugs and decide which might be more effective.

Modafinil: A Brief Overview

Modafinil is a mild dopamine reuptake inhibitor (DRI) designed to function as a eugeroic drug. Eugeroic drugs directly stimulate the CNS to raise wakefulness levels. Currently available without a prescription, Modafinil has to be among the safest and most commonly used eugeroic drugs. There is now a growing user base of Modafinil, mostly consisting of students and professionals, who choose online sources that offer Modafinil Smart Drug for sale, for easy, quick, and hassle-free automated periodic purchases of the drug. Although Modafinil was first developed as a prescription drug to treat narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, the safe, minimal side-effect nature of the drug soon made it popular for off-label uses. Additionally, there is Armodafinil, an enantiopure variant of modafinil. Together, Modafinil and Armodafinil (Provigil) are now commonly chosen by high-performing professionals and students to feel energized and avoid drowsiness during their workdays. Additionally, studies have suggested that Modafinil is not just an anti-sleep drug. The effects of Modafinil can be traced to increased focus as well as cognitive capacities like planning and computing.

Modafinil: Mechanism of Action

Its mechanism of action involves raising dopamine levels in the body. The neurotransmitter dopamine produces pleasure and motivation. Moreover, it enhances mental and physical alertness by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), particularly the frontal cortex. Dopamine reuptake is slowed by modafinil, an atypical DAT inhibitor that binds to dopamine transporters (DAT). It has a longer-lasting effect because the neurotransmitter accumulates in synapses. Therefore, modafinil is also called a DRI or a dopamine reuptake inhibitor.

When should you take Modafinil?

The two main uses of modafinil are to treat sleeping disorders and to increase alertness when used off-label to prevent sleepiness.

  • Narcolepsy, as well as shift work sleeping disorders, are both treated with modafinil. Increased dopamine levels aid in preventing sleep because they have an antagonistic effect on the brain's sleep-inducing activity. This enables people who find it difficult to manage their sleep-wake cycle to plan their sleep and wake times proactively.
  • The amygdala in our brains is known to be dampened by modafinil. In response to stress from the environment, the amygdala produces the sensation of fear. Modafinil aids people in preventing panic attacks when under stress by calming the amygdala.
  • Professionals and students both frequently use modafinil to stay alert and focused during long workdays.

Adderall: A Brief Overview

Adderall is a commonly-used name for a combination drug that primarily acts by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine activity in the body. The primary component of Adderall is amphetamine salt, two enantiomers of the salt, dextro-, and levoamphetamine together make up Adderall in a 3:1 ratio. The drug is mainly a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant, originally designed to There are reports of unprescribed under-the-hood use of the drug by athletes to expand their physical boundaries. The drug is also alleged to be abused for recreational purposes due to its effect of producing euphoria.

Adderall: Mechanism of Action

Adderall works very similarly to other popular CNS stimulants like Ritalin, and Modafinil. Fundamentally, it binds to transporters of dopamine (DAT) and norepinephrine to extend the effect of these neurotransmitters. Dopamine and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters (often referred to as hormones, too) that are produced in the CNS. They travel across the nerves through neuron synapses to carry messages from the brain. Messages associated with a sense of happiness, satisfaction, alertness, motivation, etc are created by dopamine and norepinephrine. Once the message from the brain is relayed, these neurotransmitters are carried away by their respective transporters to be recycled for another round of message relaying. Adderall binds to these transporters which results in the neurotransmitters accumulating in the synapses. This prolongs their activity of creating a sense of positive feelings and motivation. This is beneficial for individuals suffering from ADHD who struggle with maintaining focus. Additional dopamine and norepinephrine in the synapses allow them to maintain focus for a longer time. Furthermore, Adderall functions by increasing the production of epinephrine and other neuropeptides like CART (cocaine and amphetamine-regulated transcript).


Adderall Mechanism of Action

When should you take Adderall?

Adderall is mainly prescribed for the treatment of ADHD. Sometimes it is also advised for patients with narcolepsy.

  • Adderall has proven effective in increasing cognitive abilities and attention span in individuals with ADHD. Additionally, studies also suggest that long-term treatment with Adderall can "fix" certain minor deformities in the brain, especially the basal ganglia and the caudate nucleus, which helps in long-lasting "healing" of the disorder. However, it is also reported to cause addiction beyond specified exposure.
  • As such, Adderall has become popular among athletes to increase physical capabilities during training as well as tournament events. Several major sports associations, like the NBA and NFL, have banned the use of Adderall among athletes for performance enhancement.
  • In extreme cases of narcolepsy, Adderall may be prescribed to adult individuals at a low dosage of 10mg per day. However, due to associated risks, doctors mainly prescribe eugeroic drugs like modafinil and armodafinil to treat narcolepsy.

A Brief Comparison

CriteriaModafinilAdderall
Chemical NameDiphenylmethyl-sulfinylacetamideDextro- and levoamphetamine (3:1)
CategoryEugeroicStimulant
PharmacologyMild DRIStrong CNS stimulant
Permitted Dosage200mg/dayUp to 60mg/ day ideally in divided doses
UsesTreatment of sleep disorders like narcolepsy and obtrusive sleep apnea.Treatment of ADHD and occasionally narcolepsy.
ROAOralOral
Legal StatusIn the USA, it is a Schedule IV drug; in the UK and most other countries, it is a prescription drug.Internationally, it is classified as a narcotic and a Schedule II drug, and it is completely prohibited in Japan.
Addiction LiabilityNoneHigh
Dependency LiabilityLowHigh
Side Effectsno significant negative effects. Extreme and uncommon cases include excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, and labored breathing. High

Final Words

Although Modafinil and Adderall are extremely different in their effects, the fact that both are prescribed for narcolepsy and that both have a common mechanism as a DAT inhibitor, often makes it inevitable to compare the two drugs. As a eugeroic, Modafinil is a perfect choice for treating sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. This mild DRI has been specifically designed for this task. Doctors popularly prescribe Modafinil for treating narcolepsy. Furthermore, owing to the fact that Modafinil has little to no side effects and very low liabilities to dependency and addition, it can be safely taken by healthy individuals as an anti-sleep drug without the advice of a doctor. However, Adderall has very high addiction liability and plasticity. Due to its marked positive effects in the treatment of ADHD, doctors do prescribe the drug, exclusively when the benefits outweigh the side effects. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to take Adderall without proper caution.


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