You may have watched Bradley Cooper in Limitless (2011) become super-human after discovering a smart drug. While the movie may have felt like a thrilling sci-fi, the reality is that smart drugs are real! People take smart drugs to boost their focus, cognition and energy.
What is a Smart Drug? Generally, it is a prescribed medication or off-label drug used to treat some kind of mental or cognitive disorder. Common smart drugs you may have heard of include Adderall and Ritalin, both which are used to treat ADHD. They provide increased concentration and energy, however, have drastic side effects to the body as well. Smart drugs can lead to tolerance and habit formation, effects on appetite, mood stability cardiac function, stress levels, etc.
Other popular stimulant smart drugs you may have heard of is Modafinil which is a powerful smart drug that promotes attention, wakefulness and alertness. It is commonly used to help with narcolepsy, chronic fatigue, and inattentiveness. However, its ability to provide a 12-15 hour “buzz” has made it a common drug for shift workers, college students and anyone else who needs to stay up and focus.
Though Modafinil is popular, it can be expensive, illegal and hard to obtain. It is highly regulated in the United States. Its close twin, Adrafinil is a much cheaper alternative and is legal to purchase online, making it more convenient to get. Adrafinil is in fact a very close relative of Modafinil. When taken, it actually converts into modafinil. Therefore, it has very similar effects.
Why take Adrafinil over Modafinil?
Adrafinil supplementation increases alertness and wakefulness. Adrafinil is a stimulant, but it does not cause hyperactivity. Instead, it fights sleepiness.
Taking adrafinil may also improve memory, but further research is needed to confirm this effect.
Adrafinil is much more cost-effective. It is cheaper to purchase and it is not as heavily regulated as Modafinil, therefore easier to get.
The only problem with Adrafinil is that it raises liver enzymes and shows hepatoxicity if overused. It is therefore not appropriate for long term use. You may take adrafinil three times a week, for no longer than five months. Also, adrafinil should not be taken in the afternoon and evening, since supplementation would impair sleep.