Modafinil and Armodafinil are very similar drugs. Both promote wakefulness and are cognitive enhancers, and they’ve been approved for use in people with narcolepsy and other excessive sleepiness issues.
Fundamentally, they are almost exactly the same drug, but there are some minor differences in their effects and pharmacology. For this reason, some people prefer one over the other. Modafinil and Armodafinil are widely prescribed and available online. They share a lot of the same possible negative effects like headache, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, and stomach upset.
Armodafinil Might Have Stronger Side-Effects
Some people find Armodafinil has greater negative effects. The same core mechanism of action exists with modafinil and Armodafinil. They work on the brain in a number of ways by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, increasing norepinephrine, elevating histamine, and causing orexin activation.
In addition to those mechanisms, the R-enantiomer of modafinil, which is greater in Armodafinil, functions as a D2 receptor agonist. Modafinil exists as two enantiomers, which are essentially just different configurations of the molecule. There’s an R and an S enantiomer, with the former being more active than the latter. When you use modafinil, you are using a racemic mixture, which means half of the drug is R-modafinil and half is S-modafinil.
With Armodafinil, however, you are receiving pure R-enantiomer modafinil, ultimately making it a stronger drug. The r-enantiomer is reportedly 3 times more active than the s-enantiomer, which means it’ll do more per milligram. These drugs also differ in how long they’ve been used. Modafinil has existed for much longer and it was used internationally before its FDA approval in the late 1990s. Armodafinil came onto the scene in the 2000s, with the FDA approving it in 2007.
Modafinil is Older & More Researched
There is still less research on armodafinil than on modafinil, but we know the drugs are similar in their pharmacology. A normal dose for modafinil is 200 mg and since armodafinil is more active per milligram, a normal dose is just 150 mg. A lot of people find armodafinil is stronger than modafinil.
Armodafinil Is More Edgy
It’s common for users to say armodafinil feels a bit more like a traditional stimulant and it’s almost universally reported armodafinil lasts longer. Mood-elevating effects, while relatively minor with both, are also normally more pronounced with armodafinil, according to experience reports. It has been found the S-enantiomer clears the system pretty fast and that means using modafinil basically gives you the same effects as a lower dose of armodafinil once it’s 5 hours or so after you’ve taken the drug. Due to these metabolic differences, armodafinil tends to provide more wakefulness for a longer period of time, sometimes interfering with sleep.
It’s not unheard of for people to truly feel the drug for 12 to 15 hours, whereas modafinil’s effects largely disappear by the 10 hour mark. Looking through the available experience reports, it appears armodafinil is more likely to make people tense and anxious, but it’s possible for both drugs to cause those effects. In summary, armodafinil can be more like traditional stimulants than modafinil and it lasts at least a couple hours more than modafinil. However, it’s important to understand not everyone responds the same way and I’ve even seen reports claiming modafinil is more stimulating than armodafinil. If you have any questions about modafinil or armodafinil, feel free to ask them in the comments section.