In the time it takes you to read this sentence, someone with narcolepsy might have fallen asleep. While movies often make such a disorder humorous, it is in fact for sufferers anything but that. In the U.S alone, narcolepsy affects approximately 1 in every 2,000 people while it affects approximately 3 million worldwide. Suffers are willing to do whatever it takes in order to relieve symptoms and get good quality sleep at night. Both of the medications are used in the treatment of similar health issues, specifically sleepiness, idiopathic hypersomnia, and a condition where the patient stops breathing in their sleep (sleep apnea). Both medicaments have an almost identical chemical structure; however, modafinil is produced when adrafinil is changed in the liver . When ingested, a chemical process occurs, whereby adrafinil is converted by the liver into modafinil which then produces modafinilic acid.

What’s the difference?

The job of the liver is to change Adrafinil into its metabolite, modafinil; this puts added stress on the liver leading one to believe the risk of taking the drug is too great. Improved intellectual benefits results adrafinil shows are enhanced by the notable developments in alertness during the day, your get-up-and-go, and how much energy you are likely to have. A major advantage over other stimulant drugs, is that doesn’t cause generate petulance, anxiety or a nervous disposition.

Similar to adarfinil, modafinil is utlized as an eugeroic agent – which when put in simpler terms, basically means that the medicament is used to keep you awake – it is used to fight narcolepsy. Like its sister-drug adrafinil, it doesn’t produce the kinds of adverse drug reactions that are seen when other stimulant drugs are utilized, which gives it the classification of a Schedule IV drug. In other words, it is less likely that the medicines are used as abused substances.

Is their use legal?

Due to the controlled nature of the substance, modafinil is currently only available on prescription in the United Kingdom and across the pond. That however, hasn’t stopped it being offered for sale unlawfully online. The illegal sale of modifinil has led to numerous raids on both sides of the Atlantic – part of an ongoing effort to stop the sale of illegal drugs online. Due to the difficulty in obtaining modafinil without a prescription, many people look for the alternative, adrafinil. Adrafinil use is not against the law in the United Kingdom, per se. In fact according to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (a law that oversees the guidelines of drug use) it is not even measured. Using it legally however, remains iffy. While it is not against the law for a UK resident to purchase it, the use of Adrafinil may only be for individual consumption; trading in adrafinil in the UK is not legal. Conversel , obtaining it in the United States is easier as the sale of adrafinil is easier as it is legal to purchase, without a prescription, at Canadian pharmacy.

What are the benefits?

Both drugs are used to improve various systems in the body, namely the system responsible for dopamine release and the system responsible for adrenaline release. This causes an increased vigilance, alertness or wakefulness. They have both shown improved cognitive function resulting in enhanced learning (Milgram et al., 2000). Other studies conducted on older test subjects have also shown that not only did they successfully reduce wakefulness, but they also enhanced responsiveness and memory and had showed promising results in the therapy of mild depression.

Both of the medications demonstrated that they were able to enhance the locomotor activity of animals in testing. The results showed that patients activity levels increased in direct proportion to an increase in the dosage of the drugs. In the therapy of cancer patients, in a study lasting four weeks, modafinil produced a drop in the patients’ fatigue levels, produced a boost in disposition, and improved their quality of life. When used in trials for depressed patients and patients with MS, modafinil produced higher levels of alertness and reduced fatigue. Another study showed a collaborative effect; relieving both exhaustion and feelings of melancholy in patients previously diagnosed as depressed.

What is the dosage?

The dosing regimens for the two drugs differ. In studies conducted on human subjects, 200-400 mg were given with no negative side effects signs of becoming tolerant to the drug and resulted in patients reporting that they were less likely to fall asleep during the day. When the drug was given in a spilt dose, it showed greater decision-making abilities. When modafinil was tested on soldiers, placed on active combat duty it also showed heightened awareness, and a reduction in the amount of sleep the soldiers required. It also produced an increase in spontaneity in participants when they were running on very little sleep. Combat fatigue caused by prolonged periods of time of military duty, nervousness, and distress was also reduced.

When used with other drugs that act to stimulate the psychotic state, such as caffeine or amphetamines, the results were even more favorable. When the combination of modafinil, caffeine and amphetamine in a ratio of 400 mg/600mg/20 mg was given, an sharp rise in vigilance was reported from participants of the study group compared to the placebo group. The participants had been sleep deprived for 44 hours prior to the recordings being taken.

The most appropriate dosage of Adrafinil to be taken is between 600-1200mg. As a water-soluble drug, adrafinil, should be ingested with water. It doesn’t usually cause any problems when taken on an empty stomach. It is advisable that the best time to ingest adrafinil is in the early morning. The reasoning behind this to is to prevent it interfering with normal sleep patterns at night. Taking it too late in the day may result in insomnia. When starting to take it, it should initially be taken it in a low dose and the dosage should be up-titrated gradually.

Are there any side effects?

One significant advantage of modafinil and adrafinil is the comparatively few adverse reactions mentioned by patients in studies or research. While headache is often seen to be a result of taking modafinil, occurring as often as half of the time, it can be reduced by gradually up-titrating the dosage of the medicament. There have been reports of modafinil causing rhinitis, decreased appetite, nausea and abdominal pain. Very rarely, it was implicated with hypertension and anxiety are as well as a list of other less serious reported side effects.

The adverse drug reactions associated with adrafinil are less well- documented as most scientific research currently available is pertaining to modafinil.