Armodafinil and Modafinil are two of a class of so-called smart drugs or nootropics.
Modafinil is available as a generic under the names of Modvigil and Modalert and under the brand name of Provigil®.
Armodafinil is available as a generic under the names Artvigil and Waklert and under the brand name of Nuvigil®.
Even as you are still learning to pronounce these verbal mouthfuls, you have probably noticed the names are quite similar. And you are likely wondering which drug is better for your needs and goals.
You may also have questions about whether to choose the brand name or a generic. Which drug, and which version of that drug, will give you the best results?
Let’s dig deeper and find out.
What is Modafinil?
Modafinil is a nootropic, or smart drug, that is in a class of drugs known as eugeroics. Eugeroics are wakefulness-enhancing drugs.
The flip side of wakefulness or alertness-enhancement is excessive sleepiness or, at the most concerning level, narcolepsy.
Thus, drugs like Modafinil are prescribed to treat narcolepsy and symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness. Modafinil improves signs of Excessive daytime sleepiness by targeting the action of neurotransmitters, including Norepinephrine, Histamine, and Orexin, and works within 30 minutes of administration. It is also used to treat sleepiness in shift workers, some forms of sleep apnea and symptoms of sleepiness that can arise with certain neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Modafinil is frequently used off-label (a term that means for purposes other than those for which it is medically prescribed). Individuals who want to boost alertness, productivity, cognitive function, mental focus and wakefulness may find Modafinil helpful.
As a perk, research studies to date have confirmed that Modafinil has few side effects and any that are problematic usually resolve by lowering the dosage.
What is Armodafinil?
Armodafinil is a stimulant that is also prescribed to treat narcolepsy and symptoms of excessive sleepiness, especially those that occur during the daytime.
Like Modafinil, Armodafinil is often used to treat shift worker sleep disorder, certain forms of sleep apnea, sleepiness due to another underlying medical condition and idiopathic hypersomnia (sleepiness that arises for no known cause).
Research studies conducted to date confirm that, like its precursor Modafinil, Armodafinil is well-tolerated and side effects are generally few and far between. Side effects can be controlled by lowering the dosages if necessary.
Both Modafinil and Armodafinil are available at DrModafinil. Of course, you’ll need a valid prescription for either of the two smart drugs.
The science behind Armodafinil and Modafinil
Armodafinil has some important differences from its predecessor Modafinil.
The easiest way to describe the differences in chemical structure and composition between the two drugs is to use your own two hands as an example.
Your hands are identical and yet different, because they are mirror opposites of each other.
In the world of chemicals, each hand is called an “enantiomer.” A drug that includes both mirror images – both enantiomers – is called a racemic drug. A drug that includes only one or the other of the mirror images – either one enantiomer or the other – is called an enantiopure drug.
Modafinil contains both enantiomers and is a racemic drug. Armodafinil contains only one enantiomer and is called an enantiopure drug. (Source)
Key differences between the two smart drugs
Modafinil and Armadofinil interact with the body systems differently because of the differences in their chemical composition and structure.
Let’s take a look at the major differences as often this will determine which drug is the best choice for your needs and goals.
While these are general guidelines to help you consider which drug to try first, be aware that your personal experience may differ from the norm.
For example, some people report that taking either drug on an empty stomach may speed up onset and increase intensity. For others, it does not seem to matter whether the drug is taken on an empty stomach or with a meal.
It is important to be aware of these individual differences so you can evaluate which nootropic is best for your needs and how best to take it to get the desired effect.
1. How long does each nootropic last?
Modafinil lasts 16 hours on average. Armodafinil lasts 18 hours on average.
The primary modifier that can impact how long each drug lasts is dosage, although other factors have also been identified.
Taking a larger dose can extend the effect. However, taking a larger dose also means the risk of experiencing side effects increases.
2. When does each drug start to take effect?
Modafinil onset takes about 30 to 60 minutes. Armodafinil can take up to 120 minutes to take effect.
3. What is each drug’s half-life?
The half-life is the point in time when half of the drug has passed through your system.
Modafinil has a half-life of around 15 hours. Armodafinil also has a half-life of around 15 hours.
4. How much do you need to take?
Armodafinil, being the newer of the two drugs, is widely considered to be a purer form. As such, you may not need to take as much Armodafinil to experience the desired effects.
Always follow the manufacturer guidelines and start with the lowest recommended dose to see how your body reacts. Then you can adjust from there as needed.
5. Does either nootropic intefere with sleep?
Both Modafinil and Armodafinil are designed to promote wakefulness and combat excessive sleepiness.
Both can interfere with regular sleep cycles if taken too close to bedtime. Reports are mixed in regards to which drug is more likely to cause night time insomnia. For best results, take each at least 12 hours before you plan to retire for the night.
6. What are the side effects of each nootropic?
Modafinil’s main reported side effects are headaches and nausea plus insomnia.
Armodafinil’s main reported side effects are headaches, dizziness and nausea plus insomnia.