The Different Afinils
If you’re a regular reader of this website or have looked into nootropics elsewhere, you’ve probably heard of modafinil. It’s one of the most popular and widely-used nootropics available today.
But did you know that there are several other nootropics that are very similar to modafinil? That’s what this research-backed article is all about: the different afinils.
What Are The Afinils?
These are substances that are all chemically related and have similar effects. They are classified as eugeroics or wakefulness-promoting agents. Eugeroics help you to stay awake and focused even when you are behind on sleep.
The most popular and well-known eugeroic is modafinil, but there are several others. They are all chemically similar and their names all end with the suffix -afinil. Some of them have tons of research to support their safety and effectiveness. Others are relatively new and are in the process of being studied.
Now let’s take a look at the different afinils. We’ll dive into the research that has been done on each and see what people around the internet are saying about them. The first three have all been extensively researched and shown to be safe and effective while the last three need more human studies before such claims can be conclusively made.
The Different Afinils
It only seems right to start with modafinil. It’s by far the most popular afinil being used around the world today. Modafinil was first created in 1970’s France. In 1998, it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat narcolepsy.
Since then, it’s also been approved by the FDA to treat shift work sleep disorder and sleep apnea. It’s also used off-label to treat a variety of disorders including depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, daytime sleepiness, and several others. And of course, modafinil is popular in the nootropics community for its ability to increase focus, improve attention and memory, and promote wakefulness.
A PubMed search for “modafinil” brings up over 1,800 results. It has been scientifically studied far more than any of the other afinils. Although the results of these studies have been somewhat mixed, the majority of them show that modafinil improves cognition without many or any side effects.
A systematic review published in 2015 showed that modafinil enhances attention, executive functions, and learning. This review looked at 24 different studies that had been conducted between the years of 1990 and 2014. In addition to the cognitive improvements listed above, the reviewers state that they “did not observe any preponderances for side effects or mood changes.”
Another review from 2019 looked at 19 studies done on modafinil. This review concluded that while modafinil does improve cognition, the effect is mild in people who are not sleep deprived.
The results of these reviews are consistent with what people have been saying on the internet for years. While most people who try modafinil to improve cognitive performance find that it it’s effective, some report that it doesn’t do much for them. The only way to know if modafinil will work for you is to give it a try. Side effects are rare and when they do occur are usually mild. The most common side effects are headache, nausea, and loss of appetite. But again, they are rare and go away as soon as you stop taking modafinil.
Next on our list of the different afinils is modafinil’s slightly-more-potent sister, armodafinil. It was first approved by the FDA in 2007 and is used to treat daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, shift work, and sleep apnea. Armodafinil is also popular in the nootropics community for its ability to increase focus and wakefulness.
Armodafinil is very similar to modafinil in its effects and safety profile, although there are a few slight differences. The main difference is dosage. Armodafinil is a little more potent than modafinil and requires a slightly lower dosage to get the same effects. 150 milligrams (mg) of armodafinil is considered to be equivalent to 200 mg of modafinil.
Another key difference is the duration of effects. Plasma concentrations of armodafinil remain higher later in the day than modafinil. This is consistent with what users often report – that armodafinil’s effects last longer than modafinil.
While armodafinil has undergone extensive research to explore its medical potential and safety, its cognition-enhancing properties in healthy individuals is only starting to be looked at by the scientific community. The research that has been done shows it to have a similar safety profile to modafinil as well as similar effects.
This is consistent with what nootropic users have been saying about armodafinil for years – that it’s a slightly-stronger, slightly-longer-lasting version of modafinil.
Like modafinil, this afinil was first created in France in the 1970’s where it was used as a prescription drug until 2011. It was discontinued in favor of other eugeroics like modafinil and armodafinil.
Adrafinil is a prodrug of modafinil. What this means is that after you take adrafinil, it is converted into modafinil in the body. For this reason, their effects are very similar. There are, however, a few key differences.
For one, adrafinil takes longer to kick in. This is because, as stated above, the body converts adrafinil into modafinil when it’s metabolized. Second, adrafinil’s dosage is higher than modafinil. A dosage of 300 mg of adrafinil is equivalent to about 100-150 mg of modafinil.
Lastly, adrafinil has more potential side effects than modafinil. When the body converts it, there is a slight strain placed on the liver. Side effects that are seen with adrafinil but not modafinil include elevated liver enzymes and skin irritation. Generally, adrafinil is safe for occasional use. However, most people prefer to use modafinil or one of the other afinils.
One benefit of adrafinil has been that it is carried by a lot of different nootropic vendors while the other afinils have been harder to find. But in recent years, a number of reputable online vendors have popped up that sell modafinil, armodafinil, and some of the other, newer afinils. Now that it’s just as easy to find these other afinils, many nootropic users have stopped using adrafinil.
There hasn’t been much research done on this one, yet. And none of the research that has been done was conducted on humans. However, that hasn’t stopped biohackers from experimenting with hydrafinil.
Also known as fluorenol or hydroxyfluorene, hydrafinil was first used in the late 1930’s – but not as a medication. It was used as a insecticide. Only over the past decade or so have people started regularly using hydrafinil as a nootropic.
While there have not been any human studies done on hydrafinil, there have been a few animal studies that are promising. In one such study, hydrafinil was shown to be 39% more effective than modafinil at keeping rats awake over a 4-hour period. These results are promising, but more research – especially human research – needs to be done before hydrafinil’s effectiveness and safety can be concluded.
Around the internet, there are numerous reports of people using hydrafinil. It seems to be well-tolerated with few side effects. The only side effects that I’ve seen mentioned are slight headaches and mild tension in the neck. The consensus seems to be that hydrafinil is weaker than modafinil but that it still promotes wakefulness and focus.
If you’re new to nootropics or just a casual user, you’ll probably want to stick to the more-researched afinils like modafinil and armodafinil. However, if you are a biohacker who likes to experiment with different substances, you might want to give hydrafinil a try. Though its safety has yet to be scientifically studied, I couldn’t find any reports of serious side effects.
This is another afinil with very little research behind it. However, it does have some research in front of it. Flmodafinil was patented in 2013 by NLS Pharmaceutics and is currently in phase-one clinical trials which started in December of 2015. As January 2020, the results of those trials have not been published.
In spite of the lack of research done on this substance, nootropic users have been experimenting with flmodafinil for years. Also known as fluromodafinil, lauflumide, bisfluromodafinil, and CRL-40,940, nootropic users claim that flmodafinil is much more powerful than modafinil. Though there have not been any human studies published, there have been animal studies done that support this claim.
A 2018 study done on rats found that flmodafinil was significantly more powerful than modafinil. With less than half of a typical modafinil dose, the wakefulness that flmodafinil created lasted much longer. Additionally, after the effects of flmodafinil wore off, less sleep was needed than after the effects of modafinil were over.
These results are consistent with what people around the internet have been saying about flmodafinil for years. Users often report that they experience a serious increase in both focus and wakefulness with a much-lower dose than they’d use for modafinil. The general consensus is that it is very similar to modafinil in its effect, only much stronger.
I couldn’t find any reports of serious side effects from flmodafinil. In fact, many users report that they had less side effects from flmodafinil than from modafinil. It certainly seems safe for most people. However, until controlled clinical trials are conducted, flmodafinil’s safety cannot be conclusively stated. Like hydrafinil, new nootropic users will probably want to steer clear of this one for a while until more research has been done.
The last afinil on our list is fladrafinil – not to be confused with #5, flmodafinil. Fladrafinil, aka fluroafinil or CLR-40,941, has had even less research done on it than the previous two afinils. But also like the last two afinils, this hasn’t stopped nootropic users from trying it. And many of them have raved about how fladrafinil is superior to all the other afinils mentioned above.
What little research has been done into this substance does support this claim. Fladrafinil was patented in France in 1982 and then in the United States and several other countries in 1983. But since then, very little research has been published. What has been published shows that fladrafinil seems to be significantly more powerful than modafinil. And although it has not been studied in humans, fladrafinil seems to have an anti-aggressive effect in animals while modafinil does not.
Compared to the more popular afinils like modafinil and armodafinil, fladrafinil seems to be favored by nootropic users who have tried them all. They often state that they experience more wakefulness and focus with a much-lower dose.
Like numbers 4 and 5 on our list, fladrafinil is probably best suited for experienced nootropic users. Even though fladrafinil users rave about its powerful effects and no serious side effects have been reported, this substance has not gone through extensive safety trials.