Modafinil vs Adderall

Modafinil and Adderall are closely related. Both came into the limelight in 1998 when the FDA approved them for the treatment of narcolepsy. Over time, the two have also gained the reputation of being popular options for recreational use thanks to their stimulant-like effects. Despite sharing numerous similarities, quite a few differences exist between them – so which one of the two is the better option? Let’s explore.

An Overview of Modafinil

Also known by its popular brand-name of Provigil, Modafinil is an oral drug that is used to promote wakefulness. The exact way in which this drug works remains largely unknown although the verdict has always been that it works by regulating the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. It particularly boosts the presence of dopamine which is a key chemical in supporting the manner in which the nerves transmit signals.

Yet another important fact to note about modafinil is that it is categorized as a eugeroic. In other words, that’s a fancy term referring to the fact that the drug contains wakefulness promoting properties and, therefore, can be used to manage excessive daytime sleepiness.

The drug is also popularly used as an off-label resource to help people achieve longer working hours. It’s relatively popular among students, entrepreneurs and shift workers alike owing to its abilities to help improve alertness even with limited sleep.

An Overview of Adderall

The name Adderall is a general term used to refer to a combination of 4 amphetamine salts which are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. The 4 include 25 percent levoamphetamine salts and 75 percent dextroamphetamine salts.

The oral drug belongs to the stimulant class of drugs. In a nutshell, it is primarily designed to control behavioral problems, increase the ability to pay attention and also improve listening skills. Indeed, the drug was also approved by the FDA as a prescription drug to be used in the treatment of certain sleep disorders among them narcolepsy.

And though it is a regulated drug, there is no doubt that its popularity has increased in recent years among recreational users. In small quantities, it can be relied upon to support fatigue resistance, boost muscle growth and enhance reaction times.

Modafinil vs. Adderall Similarities

The first similarity that the two share is the fact that they are popularly used as off-label drugs. That’s precisely because they both contain powerful stimulatory effects. As such, other than the conditions that the two are formally approved for treating, savvy people have found ways to use them for non-medical reasons.

For that reason, strict regulations have been set up by the FDA regulating the recreational use of any of these two drugs. As such, the only way to access them for off-label use if usually through the black markets.

*Impact on Neurotransmitters

Yet another similarity between these two arguably controversial drugs is that they function by influencing the quantities of certain brain chemicals. First off, they both encourage the production of dopamine and norepinephrine. Those two brain chemicals are critical in regulating mood and behavior.

Dopamine is a feel-good hormone and likewise, norepinephrine is used in the treatment of depression. More specifically, dopamine acts on a pathway known as the mesolimbic dopamine pathway which connects the midbrain to the hypothalamus part of the brain which is responsible for regulating metabolic processes and the nervous system. Note that the hypothalamus is involved in the control of sleep patterns, fatigue, thirst and attachment behaviors.

Norepinephrine, on the other hand, being a noradrenaline influences your brain stem increasing your likelihood of developing the “fight-or-flight” kind of response. In other words, it provides you with an adrenaline rush which is quite important in controlling stress, managing pain, supporting cognition and above all regulating blood pressure.

*The Ability to Cause Addiction & Dependence

Since the two drugs are involved in the production (or overproduction) of dopamine, they create a feel-good effect which makes you want to use them again and again. If the overproduction of dopamine continues for some time, the brain gets the signal that it needs to produce smaller quantities of the neurotransmitter. For that reason, you have to take more of the drugs in order to sustain the necessary quantities of the brain chemicals needed to support optimal function.

Another thing you need to note is that Modafinil and Adderal work by activating the brain reward system. Generally, the reward system is activated whenever we are involved in activities that are good for us. It’s the brain’s unique design that’s meant to help us adapt and survive.

It is just the same way drinking water when you’re thirsty leads to a sense of satisfaction. And so, you are naturally inclined to repeat that behavior whenever you’re thirsty.

The thing with brain stimulants is that they hijack the reward system causing you to crave more drugs. In the long-run, this can have harmful effects on your general health.

*Serious Consequences of Mixed With Alcohol

Yet another similarity between these two largely popular oral drugs is that they shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol. Modafinil and Adderall are stimulants while alcohol is a depressant. And instead of the two classes of drugs canceling out, they usually end up competing for the core functions of your brain.

Amphetamines like Adderall tend to reduce your brain’s ability to detect that you are actually getting drunk. Therefore, you might end up taking more than the alcohol your brain can tolerate. Ultimately, this can lead to a blackout.

Moda, on its part, decreases GABA production while alcohol does the exact opposite. This creates a tug-of-war between two opposing neurotransmitters in your brain. While alcohol depresses your brain in one direction, modafinil stimulates it in the opposite direction. The side effects of such an interaction can be disastrous and may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Hypersensitive reactions
  • Increased alcohol tolerance
  • Blackouts and loss of memory

The Differences

Generally speaking, Modafinil is the milder one of the two. Also, Adderall tends to harbor more side effects as a consequence of its advanced chemical formula. Other differences include:

*Effects on the Brain

While the two stimulate the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, Adderall goes a step further and impacts dopamine in three extra ways.

  1. It forces the brain cells to produce greater quantities of dopamine
  2. It prevents the brain cells from “re-uptaking” excess neurotransmitter levels
  3. Lowers the brain’s ability to deplete dopamine levels over time

Generally, the effects of Adderall are highly pronounced compared to those of Modafinil although the two are still quite powerful compared to ordinary supplements.

*Which One Is More Addictive?

The fact that Adderall’s interaction with dopamine levels is continuous makes it more addictive than Moda. Basically, someone who uses Moda on a day-to-day basis may not experience a “high” effect as much as the one who uses Adderall and, therefore, remains at a considerably low likelihood of an addiction.

So, Modafinil is the safer one of the two although prolonged use of it would eventually tip the scales and yield an increased risk of addiction.


200mg of Modafinil is the recommended daily dosage while 5mg to 30mg is the recommended one for Adderall. In other words, only a tiny portion of Adderall is needed in the body at any given time to achieve effects that are similar or even more powerful than Modafinil’s. Fortunately, none of the two places a great strain on your liver or kidneys provided you stick to the recommended dosage. But even with that said, you’d still need to take larger quantities of Moda than Adderall to feel “high.”

While clearly more effective, Adderall leaves you with a slimmer margin of error. Taking more than the recommended dosage might give way to more harmful effects of the drug. It’s no wonder Moda is the most preferred stimulant for therapeutic use because it bears a considerably reduced risk of yielding harmful effects on your health.

In fact, even though the recommended daily dosage of Moda is 200mg, you can take as much as 400mg. However, these higher doses may not necessarily be any more effective than the standard 200 mg daily.

Which One Is Better When It Comes to Boosting Productivity?

The two drugs are actually highly effective at boosting productivity. And although Adderall is the more powerful of the two, it is Modafinil that’s widely preferred for day-to-day use. Here’s why.

Both drugs play a key role in delaying the onset of fatigue. However, the side effects of Adderall can easily outweigh its potential benefits.

If you are looking for a nootropic that can boost your productivity, chances are that you’d like to bet on something that provides you with a wide margin of error. Adderall doesn’t give you such luxury and unless you are super accurate with the dosage, the risk of ending up with an overdose is quite high.

Modafinil is highly safe for at-home, unregulated use plus it takes much longer to build a tolerance. It’s no wonder most doctors remain hesitant to recommend Adderall and have switched to Moda instead.

Where to Get Modafinil

Although it is possible to buy Moda in the pharmacies, it’s mandatory for you to provide a prescription for it. On top of that, most pharmacies charge exorbitantly for its brand name. With that being the case, the best place to find the Modafinil pills is on the net.

In summing up this Modafinil vs. Adderall debate, our preferred online vendor for Moda is Afinil Express. They are the only ones remaining out of the two that were recommended by ModafinilCat when they closed shop in 2017. Of the two, Duckdose closed shop in 2018 leaving Afinil Express as the last man standing – that’s why we recommend shopping with them if you’re looking to avoid scams or low-quality modafinil tablets.