The 4 Best Modafinil Alternatives in 2023

The 4 Best Modafinil Alternatives in 2023

Looking for effective Modafinil alternatives in 2023? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ve curated the four best Modafinil alternatives to help you enhance focus, boost productivity, and stay alert without the side effects. We’ve got you covered whether you’re seeking alternatives due to tolerance issues, cost concerns, or accessibility reasons. Explore these top-notch Modafinil alternatives and find the perfect match for your cognitive enhancement needs. Say goodbye to fatigue and hello to peak performance with these potent Modafinil alternatives!

This article will cover some alternative drugs that can replace Modafinil, commonly known by the brand name Provigil.

Note: the article gets pretty technical, and explains the reasons why you should take each Modafinil alternative, and how they work.

Top 3 alternatives to Modafinil (and Armodafinil):

  1. Adrafinil (duh). Cheaper. Legal. And converts to Modafinil in your liver. Said to be not nearly as effective as actual modafinil.
  2. Fluorenol. Another wakefulness-promoting agent, it targets similar receptors in the brain (histamine). The effects are shorter, so it’s less likely to disturb your sleep.
  3. Pitosolant. Another wakefulness drug, also targeting the histamine receptors. New research is very promising; it has the benefits of Modafinil, without the side effects.
  4. Qualia (honorable mention). Qualia is a popular nootropic stack that friends of mine take it about 2-3 times per week. With a long list of natural ingredients, it’s an effective alternative to Modafinil for a more natural brain health.

A suitable alternative to Modafinil maintains eugeroic characteristics while keeping side effects the same or milder, as well as avoiding legal and logistical complications.

What is Modafinil (and Why Do People Take It?)

We love Modafinil here at The research surrounding it, the nootropic effects, and the sheer interest from the public.

To quickly recap on what Modafinil does, it’s primarily an effective eugeroic or wakefulness-enhancing drug.

This proves highly useful for boosting alertness, particularly when experiencing sleep deprivation during the day.

Moreover, users recognize Modafinil for instilling heightened motivation and focus on their current tasks.

Clearly, swarms of people highly seek these effects, especially those needing to think and perform efficiently daily.

Recently we did a review of a well-known distributor of generic Modafinil, Duckdose, so hesitant buyers can feel more confident about trying it. (Note that DuckDose is out of business and the recommended modafinil vendor for buying online is by far.)

Few people could argue about the attractiveness of Modafinil, with its great strength and reliability, to the ambitious folks of the world.

BUT, it’s not perfect!

It’s hard to accept it but Modafinil has a few noticeable drawbacks.

Not all people will care about them, but we must take these cons into consideration for our quest in exploring nootropics.

While it is certainly not the time to drop Modafinil as a nootropic for most of us, as it is still an incredibly effective drug, we want to shed some light on similar substances out there that act in a similar fashion.

Not only can we enable some users to avoid potential downsides, but we can experiment with substances that can effectively be an alternative to Modafinil for cognitive enhancement.

What are the downsides to using Modafinil?

The 4 Best Modafinil Alternatives

So, what are the reasons a person might not want to use Modafinil despite its lofty reputation in the nootropics community?

1. Legality

First and foremost, there are the infamous legal restrictions on Modafinil, as well as its more potent brother substance, arModafinil.

Most countries generally prohibit the purchase of Modafinil without a prescription, significantly hindering international trade of the substance.

In 2015, trade restrictions emerged as Sun Pharma and other Indian companies were barred from shipping generic products, including Modafinil, to the United States.

To summarize – it can be difficult to access a supply of Modafinil.

There are services such as Duckdose and AfinilExpress, both of which ship in products from India to their countries, but some customs laws are harder to bypass than others, especially in many European and middle-eastern countries.

Currently, BuyModa sources its generic modafinil from India and sends it pretty much worldwide via India, Singapore, the UK, Hungary, Germany, or Poland. Yeah, they have that big of a logistical reach.

2. Long duration of effects

While many find the long-lasting effects of Modafinil beneficial, they can also present a serious drawback for some individuals.

From what we’ve researched, both regular Modafinil and arModafinil have half-lives that are between 12 and 15 hours.

This means that a user may have to take a tablet of either substance at an early time of day in order to easily fall asleep in the evening.

Individuals that are sensitive to stimulation may especially suffer from insomnia, even beyond a typical day length after ingesting Modafinil.

To most people, this is nitpicking, to be honest. The long half-life of Modafinil is not frequently cited as a complaint among users. But it does offer room for improvement and opportunity to try alternative eugeroic substances.

3. Non-responders

Some people simply don’t respond to Modafinil. Despite a full dose, individual body chemistry can result in rapid metabolism of Modafinil, potentially diminishing its effectiveness.

This doesn’t induce a response in the nervous system or produces tolerance too quickly. In such rare cases, alternative drugs must be considered to achieve desired effects if Modafinil metabolism occurs too quickly.

Modafinil tolerance may stem from its mechanism of action affecting the brain’s dopamine pathways, emphasizing the need to avoid chronic receptor downregulation.

What do we look for in alternatives?

Now that we’ve seen some of the drawbacks of Modafinil use, we can begin to explore the properties of alternative drugs that we want to see.

The most obvious traits we want to see are fewer hoops with legality and availability, with the optional traits of shorter half-life for sensitive sleepers and different mechanisms of action for non-responders.

NOT suitable: Ritalin, Adderall

Before talking about what IS suitable as a Modafinil alternative, we need to clarify what ISN’T.

AVOID: ADHD Medication

Common medications prescribed generally for ADHD, such as Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (Amphetamine salts) do provide extra wakefulness and focus to most people.

However, they also cause side effects such as heart palpitations, nervousness, and lack of appetite.

In addition, they are even more regulated by governments than Modafinil, being generally in higher schedules in drug control laws.

Don’t forget, we’re seeking LESS regulation and LESS side effects.

If you’re already taking Adderall, Modafinil is a great substitute. But here we’re trying to move farther away from ADHD meds, not towards them.

1. Adrafinil

Adrafinil is what we call a metabolic precursor (or prodrug) to Modafinil, and is chemically very similar to it.

As per BrainProTips, Adrafinil is orally ingested, neutralized by stomach acid, and in the liver, acquires an additional hydrogen atom, converting it into Modafinil internally.

Thus, it serves as a form of bio-hack within the cognitive enhancement sphere, optimizing functionality through innovative approaches.

Unlike its downstream sibling, Adrafinil is readily available online from supplement sellers.

There are much fewer legal restrictions associated with Adrafinil because it is technically a different drug and not commonly prescribed by doctors.

Most countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, legally permit anyone to possess and use Adrafinil.

Adrafinil has similar effects as Modafinil, but it has the drawback of a longer onset. Its effects stem from the liver’s metabolism, which produces Modafinil from Adrafinil during the metabolic process.

This implies that it may take a longer time to take effect, and higher doses are necessary to achieve the desired effects. Sources to buy this substance include Star Nootropics (formally known as New Star Nootropics), AbsorbYourHealth, and Ceretropic.

Ceretropic may be unique in that they offer two forms of Adrafinil – light and dark, that they claim to work better for different people.

For instance, one person might metabolize and use dark Adrafinil better than light Adrafinil.

2. Fluorenol

Modafinil is believed to operate by elevating histamine levels in the hypothalamus, a brain region that influences the sleep-wake cycle, among others.

This mechanism of action can notably apply to other known substances as well.

Fluorenol, (or 9-hydroxyfluorene) is a molecule that does just that. Cephalon, the biopharmaceutical company, investigated this enigmatic substance as a potential successor to Modafinil after it was initially patented as an insecticide in 1939.

According to the nootropic managing website TrackMyStack, Fluorenol both increases histamine levels and acts as a 5-HT6 antagonist.

The former helps the drugs work as a eugeroic, and the latter is serotonin-related, which is thought to give fluorenol a superior mood-boosting effect to Modafinil.

The major difference as a eugeroic is the duration of effect, which appears to be 4 hours versus 12-15 hours for Modafinil.

However, a person seeking to take a stimulant in the evening while still being able to sleep later that night may highly value this shorter timeframe.

In simpler terms, this could allow people to have more control when they want to experience wakefulness enhancement.

3. Pitolisant

In Europe, the search for a post-Modafinil eugeroic may have already proven successful.

Recently, a substance by the name of pitolisant (or tiprolisant) has been approved by the European Medicine Agency (EMA).

The purpose of the EMA’s approval was for the treatment of Narcolepsy, which is the on-label purpose of Modafinil in the medical community at the moment.

Similar to fluorenol (and Modafinil), pitolisant works by acting on the histamine systems of the brain.

However, it should be noted that while we’re not sure about the other two, pitolisant MAINLY works through this mechanism, specifically by acting on histamine H3 receptors as an inverse agonist, increasing histamine levels in the brain.

Now, how effective is pitolisant versus Modafinil for wakefulness?

According to the latest research, there are plenty!

In Europe, a double-blind study was conducted where Narcoleptic patients were given Pitolisant, Modafinil, or a placebo.

Both the Modafinil and pitolisant succeeded at promoting wakefulness compared to placebo, but the Pitolisant patients had a significantly lower incidence of side effects than those who had taken Modafinil.

ItIt’s noteworthy that Pitolisant is significantly more potent, requiring just one-tenth the dose compared to Modafinil. (For reference, the Pitolisant doses were 10, 20, or 40 milligrams versus 100, 200, or 400 milligrams of Modafinil).

Nootropic enthusiasts show interest in Pitolisant, but limited availability hampers widespread experimentation with its potential benefits.

Reddit user MisterYouAreSoDumb, or Paul from Ceretropic, attempted to acquire Pitolisant to sell to no avail so far.

Other Wakefulness Enhancers

Non-eugeroic alternatives can mimic Modafinil’s benefits like increased motivation and focus, broadening cognitive enhancement options.

Users recognize Phenylpiracetam strictly as a nootropic, attributing it to providing bursts of energy and motivation.

Semax, a new Russian nootropic, offers motivation, anxiety reduction, and potential creativity enhancement, making it a promising cognitive aid.

Micro-doses of LSD can yield transformative effects akin to Modafinil, fostering creativity and a unique perspective on innovation.


Modafinil reigns, but explore similar drugs for cognitive enhancement.

Nootropics, like other technologies, evolve over time, appealing to new users seeking side effect-free cognitive enhancement.

Check out some of the alternatives we have highlighted, continue visiting us for new research about the topic, and more!

Also read our blog on Trace Minerals Supplements (& Avoid These 2)

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