Modafinil vs Adderall

Adderall and Modafinil are both stimulants that work in similar ways. They can be used for ADHD but they can also be used for a range of other purposes. Both are classified as controlled substances by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. They have many similarities in their effects but differ in the way they work in the body.

What Are Stimulants?

A stimulant is a substance that increases the activity of the central nervous system. The body’s nervous system has two main components, the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system is the nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. Stimulants increase the activity of the central nervous system, which can lead to an increase in energy and focus.

The effects of stimulants vary, but they can increase a person’s ability to focus, think more clearly, and learn more quickly. They can also increase a person’s sense of motivation and decrease their need for sleep.

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What is Modafinil?

What is Modafinil

Modafinil is a prescription drug that is used to treat sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder. It’s also often referred to as Provigil or Alertec by some companies. It also is used as a wakefulness aid, or stimulant, for those with excessive daytime sleepiness or people who need to stay alert during the day. Modafinil does not cure these sleep disorders, but it can help with symptoms. 

Modafinil is also considered to be a nootropic cognitive enhancer that can increase memory, attention, and concentration. Some nootropics can also help with depression, anxiety, and stress.

It works by increasing the activity of the central nervous system. This increases the activity of dopamine, a chemical that helps transmit messages between brain cells. 


 Modafinil is available in many forms, including tablets, liquids, and nasal sprays.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a generic term for amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that is the most commonly prescribed drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. The FDA classifies amphetamines into five chemical classes. The three primary types are d-methamphetamine, l-methamphetamine, and p-methamphetamine. D-Methamphetamine is most often used for its euphoric and stimulant effects, while l-Methamphetamine is less stimulant but more euphoric.

It’s one of the world’s most frequently prescribed drugs. For people with narcolepsy or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, it can make them feel more awake and less sleepy, which is how it’s also used as a stimulant. But it may have other side effects that are less clear.

It is usually taken orally or subcutaneously. It is sold as an immediate release tablet and an extended release tablet (Adderall XR). The tablet comes in 5 milligram, 10 milligram and 30 milligram strengths.

Modafinil vs Adderall: What’s The Difference?

Modafinil vs Adderall

Adderall is a combination drug that includes amphetamine and is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Modafinil, a newer drug, does not contain amphetamine but does have similar effects. Both drugs have a stimulant effect, meaning they increase alertness and energy. Adderall also contains an opioid, which provides pain relief, and it may also be used for weight loss.

Modafinil is used to treat sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or shift work sleep disorder. It’s a prescription drug, and only a doctor can prescribe it. It’s typically used in low doses in combination with a sleep schedule. Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sometimes for obesity treatment. It’s a prescription drug. You may be prescribed Adderall if you have a medical condition that requires medication.

In Modafinil, the nitrogen atom that has been added is bonded to the molecule as an amide group. This group is usually part of a fatty acid chain that is part of the neurotransmitter serotonin. As a result of this structure, Modafinil blocks the dopamine transporter that is part of how serotonin gets out of the neuron and into neighboring cells. As a result, it enhances concentration and motivation. In Adderall, the nitrogen atom that has been added is bonded to the molecule as a methylene.


Both Modafinil and Adderall are amphetamine salts. Modafinil has a higher ratio of D-amphetamine to L-amphetamine. And unlike Adderall, Modafinil contains no phenethylamine. In other words, Modafinil does not contain a chemical that stimulates the same receptor sites that Adderall does, making it less addictive.

Both medications can cause short-term increases in alertness. But it’s important to note that the studies on each drug were done when they were used as prescription treatments for different disorders, and not recreationally.

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Adderall Vs Modafinil: Side Effects?

All drugs have side effects, and all drugs have benefits. When prescribing medications to patients, the balance between the benefits and the risks should be considered. It is important to understand that the risk-benefit ratio for a medication will vary from patient to patient based on the individual’s health and life situation. The risk of a drug causing a significant problem is low. And it is equally important to recognize that taking a drug does not equal a guarantee for a good outcome.

Modafinil and Adderall have similar side effects because they both contain amphetamines. But the structural differences between the two give Adderall’s side effects the potential for less severe reactions. Modafinil has more of a sedative effect, while Adderall is more stimulating. Modafinil is more expensive, and Adderall has more potential for abuse, although the latter problem has declined over the past decade.

What Drugs Interact With Adderall?

The combination of Adderall (a stimulant) with other medications can produce symptoms such as heart palpitations and sleepiness, especially at first. It is best to avoid any medications that may worsen this. Some of the most common medications that can interact with Adderall include: Modafinil (Provigil), dexamphetamine (Adderall) amphetamine, phenobarbital, tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and imipramine, phenothiazines, and some antipsychotics. 

What Drugs Interact With Modafinil?

Drugs Interact With Modafinil

The risk of interactions between modafinil and other prescription drugs is low. However, if you’re taking any medications, it’s important to tell your doctor about all other medicines, supplements, vitamins and herbal remedies you use. This includes over-the-counter and OTC products, nonprescription drugs, and dietary supplements.


If you take modafinil, do not take any of the following medication unless directed by your doctor or pharmacist: MAOIs (an antidepressant), some medicines used to treat high blood pressure, anti-seizure medication, any blood thinning medicine, or the antifungal drugs ketoconazole or itraconazole (used for fungal infections). You may also need to avoid food rich in tyramine – a substance found in red wine, cheese, aged red meat, bananas, chocolate, and many other foods.

If you take Modafinil with caffeine, alcohol or any stimulant medication, do not take them together. These drugs may make you more awake than usual and interfere with each other. It is recommended that you stop taking the drug 1 week before starting the medications. However, if you are taking Modafinil with other medications, call your doctor or pharmacist to make sure your combination is safe.


Modafinil and Adderall are both prescription medications that are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They are both effective and have similar side effects.

While they both work to improve concentration and focus, they do so in different ways. Modafinil is a stimulant, and Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant.

While they have similar side effects, Adderall can cause a mild increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which can be dangerous in some people. Modafinil can cause a mild decrease in blood pressure.

Both drugs are taken to treat ADHD. Modafinil is taken to treat symptoms of narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder. Adderall is used to treat ADHD, depression and to help patients sleep.

Modafinil and Adderall are both stimulants, and can interact with each other and other prescription and over-the-counter medications. It is recommended that you tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medications, supplements, vitamins and herbal remedies you take.

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