Modafinil may be recommended for narcolepsy, a neurological disorder in which the person sleeps excessively during the day. Whereas, adderall is prescribed for ADHD, a condition marked by poor concentration and inattentiveness. The following HealthHearty article gives a modafinil vs. adderall comparison.
Adderall due its powerful stimulating effects is one of the most commonly abused drugs by high school and college students in the United States.
Drugs that have a stimulating action on the central nervous system help to improve concentration, memory, and cognitive function. Longer attention spans and improved mental capacity and problem-solving ability is something that is often reported by users of stimulant drugs. These drugs are usually prescribed in people affected with neurological disorders that are characterized by the inability to focus, abnormal fatigue, and impaired cognition.
Among the various stimulants, modafinil and adderall are the legally prescribed drugs, that are particularly popular in the United States. They cause increased alertness and make people feel powerful and impulsive. Although their effects are the same, they are different in chemical composition, purpose of formulation, and the degree of stimulating effect exerted.
Modafinil Vs. Adderall
|What is it?||♦ Unlike adderall, modafinil hasn’t received approval for treating ADHD patients in the United States; it is prescribed for narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea. However, it is used as an extra label drug by doctors for treating ADHD cases.||♦ Adderall is a U.S. FDA approved prescription medicine for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (lack of focus) and narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness).|
|Drug Type||♦ Modafinil is not an amphetamine but is a stimulant and often referred to as a wakefulness promoting agent.||♦ Adderall belongs to the class of amphetamines, which are classified under psychostimulant drugs. Dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine are the two active ingredients in adderall.|
|How does it Work?||♦ Modafinil is known for its stimulating effects on the central nervous system, which makes the user feel wide awake for several hours. It is marketed as a wake-promoting drug that reduces the need for sleep. Although the exact mechanism of action has not been identified, it supposedly increases the levels of dopamine, the brain chemical involved in regulating sleep. So the dopamine rush associated with modafinil may contribute in promoting wakefulness.||♦ Adderall stimulates the production of several neurotransmitters including dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and histamine. The increase in the amount of these neurotransmitters may work to treat symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy.|
|Formulation||♦ There is just one formulation of modafinil which is sold under the brand name Provigil in the United States and its alertness-boosting effect lasts for around 15 hours.||♦ Adderall is sold in two forms; the immediate-release (Adderall IR) and extended-release (Adderall XR) versions. Adderall XR has a longer stimulating effect of 10 to 12 hours, while the effect of the immediate release version lasts for about 4 hours.|
|Efficacy||♦ The effect of modafinil is often compared to that of a cup of coffee, which unlike adderall is not very potent. Modafinil provides a steady effect that is experienced throughout the day. Unlike adderall, there is no peak value for the stimulating effect.||♦ The stimulating and focusing effect of adderall is significantly higher than modafinil. When adderall in the blood is at its peak, the stimulating effect is the strongest. So adderall may be better at improving focus and concentration but this does not necessarily translate into better productivity.|
|Crash Symptoms||♦ Crash symptoms associated with modafinil are usually tolerable since its stimulating effect is at a constant level through the entire day.||♦ As the stimulating effect of adderall has a peak period, the crash symptoms (anxiety, fatigue, depression) that occur once the effect starts subsiding can be quite unbearable.|
|Addiction Risk||♦ Modafinil has far less addiction potential than adderall, hence is considered safer. Unlike adderall, you don’t get hooked onto modafinil because its stimulating effect is not as powerful as adderall.||♦ Adderall carries a higher addiction risk than modafinil. When used on a regular basis, particularly for recreational purposes, it can be habit-forming. Its fast-acting formula that kicks in within 30 to 60 minutes after administration has a high abuse potential.|
|Side Effects||♦ Although side effects like headache, nausea, nervousness, insomnia, and abnormal heartbeats are produced by both the medications, modafinil usually does not cause sexual dysfunction.||♦ Some patients put on adderall have experienced poor sex drive.|
Both modafinil and adderall are prescription medicines and should never be taken without the consent of a qualified doctor. These drugs can cause some serious side effects when not taken in the right doses. So make sure these stimulants are used for medical purposes only for a specified duration, to minimize their addiction risk.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.