The Best Adderall Alternatives That Actually Work

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Buying Modafinil Over-the-Counter

Are you curious about Adderall alternatives?

Wondering if any of these alternatives actually work?

Want to know if natural Adderall alternatives are available over-the-counter?

In this in-depth guide, we'll answer these questions and more.

After extensive research and testing, we've recently discovered some fantastic Adderall alternatives that we consider far preferable to the real deal for those seeking a cognitive boost.

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Disclaimer: The contents of are for informational and educational purposes only. We do not provide legal advice. Likewise, we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician prior to consuming Modafinil or related nootropics. Your access to is subject to our full Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

What is Adderall?

Other than a potent prescription drug that can be used to improve focus…

What is Adderall?

Well, Adderall is a prescription medication often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in young children and adults, along with narcolepsy and a few other sleep-related ailments [1].

However, it is well-known that many individuals, especially college students, take Adderall ‘off-label’ as a ‘study drug’ or nootropic to improve cognitive function and stay focused for hours on end.

Adderall contains a potent combination of amphetamine salts, which work together to stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) and focus the brain.

As Adderall is both an amphetamine and a stimulant, it is extremely strong and is potentially addictive.

aderall alternatives

Should You Stay Away From Adderall?

While we’re not in the business of giving medical advice, we strongly advise you to stay away from Adderall unless it has been medically prescribed to you. And even then, you still may want to consider other options.

Here's why:

Adderall carries potential adverse consequences for your health.

Sure, some people don't experience any side-effects when taking Adderall ‘off label’. Most people find significantly more side effects when ingesting Adderall or cognitive effect compared to other smart drugs and nootropics like Modafinil [2].

This is because Adderall is not only far stronger than many of these products, but it's also a pharmaceutical-grade amphetamine and stimulant.

People call Adderall names like “legal cocaine” for a reason…

Just look at a few of these common side effects of Adderall [2]:

  • Habit-forming and potentially addictive
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Pain when urinating
  • Fast, uneven heartbeats
  • Tremors or twitching muscles
  • Impotence
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fever

This list doesn't even mention the dreaded “hangover” that most people experience after a day on Adderall.

It is very common to experience a crushing headache, stomach pains, and a lightheaded feeling the morning after taking Adderall. 

This “hangover-like” feeling is one of the main reasons many individuals stop taking Adderall altogether.

Even if you're crazy productive while taking Adderall, you might be worthless the next day.

Which is why we suggest looking into Adderall alternatives

What are Nootropics?

Before we dive into our extensive list of Adderall alternatives, let's take a look at the reason why pharmaceutical stimulants like Adderall have fallen out of favor among those looking for a cognitive boost.


Some people call them ‘smart drugs’ or even ‘study drugs’.

But whatever you want to call them, there's no doubt that nootropics offer impressive cognitive enhancement, just like Adderall, but without its side effects.

A nootropic is a supplement or drug used to enhance cognitive functions and improve memory.

Nothing more. Nothing less. Smart drug users take nootropics for their following reported benefits:

  • 8-12+ hours of intense focus
  • Enhanced overall cognition
  • Improved retention and memory
  • Inability to feel fatigue
  • …And more!

Just like Adderall, nootropics allow people to focus on work or study for longer than they ever could before.

So why not just take Adderall?

That's simple:

Many nootropics offer comparable or even stronger cognitive benefits as compared to Adderall — without any of the nasty Adderall side effects, both in the short-term and long-term. 

As such, nootropics are arguably healthier for users and offer similar brain-boosting benefits. The vast majority of people who switch from Adderall to using nootropics never go back.

So with that in mind, you'll find some of our favorite alternatives to Adderall below.

Top 8 Adderall Alternatives [OTC & Prescription Options]

The smart drugs below offer similar cognitive benefits to Adderall without its harsh side effects. If you're looking to improve mental cognition, get better grades, or make more money without potentially experiencing horrible side effects, then look no further.

Check out the best natural over the counter and prescription Adderall alternatives in the world:

Modafinil is by far the most powerful smart drug on the market that’s not called Adderall. We're a team of researchers, entrepreneurs, and students, and we swear by Modafinil.

Modafinil offers comparable or superior cognitive and focus-enhancing benefits as Adderall does, but you won't have nearly as many side effects. The Modafinil “high” isn't nearly as strong, either.

Modafinil is far smoother than Adderall, while still offering insane cognitive benefits like [3]:

  • 12+ hours of intense focus
  • Heightened cognition
  • Improved mood
  • Enhanced memory retention
  • Increased drive to get things done
  • Great energy levels

Modafinil is currently the most popular smart drug in the world for one simple reason…

Nothing else comes close.

If you’re set on finding the most effective nootropic alternative to Adderall, this smart-drug is a no-brainer.

Definitely worth a look.

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If you're looking for an amazing, natural Adderall alternative — start with Mind Lab Pro.

This stuff is extremely potent and will give you an insane cognitive boost when you take it.

Oh, and it's 110% legal for anyone, anywhere in the world.

Mind Lab Pro is an over-the-counter nootropic. You can buy it hassle-free without any need for a prescription.

It's not Adderall, or even Modafinil. You might not find 12+ hours of enhanced cognition or a jittery buzz here, but that's to be expected. After all, there are good reasons why Adderall is known as “legal cocaine” and Modafinil is known as the king of nootropics…

Instead, Mind Lab Pro will give you incredible focus and heightened cognition for 6-8 hours.

This is thanks to its unique blend or ‘stack’ of 11 brain-boosting ingredients — that come together to:

  • Increase memory retention
  • Boost motivation
  • Improve mood
  • Enhanced energy levels
  • Heighten focus
  • Provide neuroprotection benefits

These benefits have been proven in numerous research studies, like these [4][5].

However, there's more to love about Mind Lab Pro. In fact, there's another reason we prefer this over-the-counter nootropic as one of the top alternatives to Adderall.

What's that?

The CREATIVE benefits.

Mind Lab Pro offers nootropic benefits like enhanced focus and improved memory retention, but this stuff does even more. It's the perfect smart drug when you want to tap your creative side and come up with new things, projects, and ideas.

Overall, you'll likely see enhanced cognition and improved focus, along with an impressive creative boost when using this smart drug. An ideal swap for your risk-laden Adderall.

Mind Lab Pro is highly recommended.

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Now, many other Adderall alternatives do the job, but if you want a change of pace, look into Armodafinil.

Armodafinil is clinically similar to Modafinil.

Armodafinil is something like Modafinil's little cousin. The smart drug is eerily similar to Modafinil but offers a few benefits that Modafinil might not.

First, Armodafinil is ideal for people looking to use nootropics while staying on a normal sleep schedule. While Adderall and Modafinil often last for 12-16+ hours , Armodafinil's effects typically wear off in 9-12+ hours [6]. This means you can take the smart drug in the afternoon and more easily fall asleep at night.

For a potent and powerful nootropic without many side effects or jittery feeling, Armodafinil is one of the best on the market.

We know of many individuals who currently take Armodafinil on a consistent basis and rave about this stuff. Virtually no side effects, “Adderall-like” focus, and more.

Worth a look.

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Adrafinil is a unique smart drug for a few reasons. First, the nootropic is 100% legal to buy over-the-counter, though you cannot buy it on Amazon.

Plus, Adrafinil offers Modafinil-like effects, as the smart drug converts to Modafinil once inside the body [7]. While this certainly offers impressive cognitive benefits, Adrafinil effects cannot compare to those of Modafinil or Adderall.

Adrafinil is a “light” version of Modafinil. It works well overall and you'll find solid cognitive enhancement from the product.

Most users find 6-9+ hours of cognitive enhancement, improved focus, and more with Adrafinil. It's simply not as potent as Adderall or Modafinil. That's just not how this stuff operates.


We included Adrafinil on this list of alternatives to Adderall because it's a solid nootropic — and it's quite cheap! You can get Adrafinil for dirt cheap, which makes this smart drug absolutely ideal for anyone on a budget.

Adrafinil is 100% legal and a solid Modafinil alternative.

For nootropics users, Flmodafinil is a fantastic Adderall alternative that offers many unique advantages over ol' Addy and other smart drugs like Modafinil. 

Flmodafinil is four times more potent than regular Modafinil and has a much higher bioavailability. This means that you could take a low dose (around 50mg) and still get the sense of alertness as you probably would with a much higher dose of Modafinil, yet with far fewer side effects. Best of all, Fl Modafinil is an over-the-counter nootropic that you can buy without any hassles. 

In our tests, we found that just 50mg of Flmodafinil (in powder form) was equivalent to a much higher dose (100mg) of Modafinil.

We experienced:

  • 6+ hours of intense alertness [15].
  • More motivation to learn, work, and study.
  • Greatly improved working and short-term memory [16].

Flmodafinil’s only “downside” is that it is shorter-acting than Modafinil itself, giving a solid 6 hours of focus compared with 12+ hours with real Modafinil.

But this can actually be an advantage…

You see, on most days 6 hours is all you need. You likely don’t need to stay working for extremely long periods of time and can accomplish all your work or studying in a 6-9 hour window.

The advantage of taking Flmodafinil is that it leaves your system quickly and doesn’t interfere with your natural sleep pattern the way that longer-lasting nootropics like Modafinil can.

As a powerful Adderall and Modafinil alternative, Flmodafinil is ideal. Recommended! 

Flmodafinil is a potent and powerful nootropic.
Qualia Mind

If you’re looking for a natural, over-the-counter alternative to Adderall, Qualia Mind is one of the best.

In our tests, we found that Qualia Mind gave us a solid 8 hours of focus and concentration and helped keep us energized all day.

Qualia's secret is that it contains two especially powerful natural nootropics, Bacopa Monnieri and Citicoline.

  • Bacopa Monnieri has been shown to reduce anxiety and increase reaction times [8], while also enhancing cognition and decreasing choice reaction time [9].
  • Citicoline helps boost memory and recall [10] and has strong neuroprotective properties [11].

This combination of Bacopa and Citicoline is our favorite natural nootropic stack as it gives a massive boost in alertness and cognition.

Qualia Mind also contains 19 other natural nootropics including:

  • Huperzine A, known for its strong neuroprotective properties [12]. 
  • Phosphatidylserine, which can help with cognitive functioning [13].
  • Ginkgo biloba, which has been shown to improve short term recall and memory [14].

Our favorite aspect of Qualia Mind is that it's caffeine-free — it doesn’t make us feel ‘wired’ or ‘jittery’ the way that other caffeine-based nootropics can. We just felt cool, calm, and alert, and found it easy to transition from one activity to the next.

If you’re looking for a natural nootropic that will give you an instant boost with zero side effects, Qualia Mind is highly recommended.

Qualia Mind is a potent and powerful nootropic.

7. Neuro-Peak

If you're looking for a cheap nootropic that you can buy on Amazon, then Neuro-Peak is perfect. As a “light” Adderall alternative, this is a great smart drug when you need to get 5-7+ hours of highly focused work in. It may not be nearly as strong as Modafinil or Adderall, but it doesn't need to be. Plus, Neuro-Peak has over 9,000 positive reviews on Amazon! This means the nootropic actually works incredibly well. You won't find a better nootropic for the price.
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8. Alpha Brain

Now, Modafinil and Armodafinil are pharmaceutical drugs – just like Adderall. While they certainly don't have the same side effects as Adderall, you still  need a prescription to possess them in most jurisdictions. Alpha Brain, on the other hand, is available on Amazon and is the best Adderall alternative you can buy, although it is more expensive than Neuro-Peak. Alpha Brain is a potent and powerful natural nootropic. After taking Alpha Brain, you'll feel energized and focused for 5-8+ hours. While the positive effects of Alpha Brain aren't as strong as Adderall or Modafinil, there are other benefits. Overall, this is a solid alternative nootropic for many users.
Get your hands on a great over-the-counter nootropic... Alpha Brain

Cycling Nootropics | How to Avoid Tolerance

One of the biggest risks of taking any nootropic is developing a tolerance and needing to take ever-larger doses to get the same benefits.

Taking more than the recommended dose of any nootropic puts you at an increased risk of experiencing side effects. With certain nootropics, such as Phenibut, you run the risk of developing a dependence or addiction.

To avoid this, we use a nootropic cycling strategy.

The optimum cycling strategy for most nootropics or nootropic stacks is the 4:3 approach. Here's how it works. 

  • Take the nootropic (or stack) for a maximum of four days at a time.
  • Give yourself a three-day break.
  • Continue this for a maximum of two months.
  • Give yourself a complete two-week break from any nootropics.

There are certain exceptions to this rule, depending on the nootropic in question.


Over-the-counter nootropics, such as Qualia Mind, are certified as fully-natural and can be taken up to five days per week, with a two-day break.

Nootropics with the potential for addiction, such as Phenibut, must be treated with more caution.

Phenibut is potentially addictive [17]  and there are documented cases of patients suffering severe withdrawal symptoms when they stopped using the drug [18].  Therefore, per prevailing medical recommendations, you should never.. you should never take more than 500mg of Phenibut per dose and never exceed 2,000mg per week or 4,000mg over any two-week period.

Another consideration when cycling nootropics is the duration of their effect. Strong nootropics such as Modafinil can last for 12+ hours and interfere with your sleep. This can cause you to build up a ‘sleep debt’, which increases tiredness and causes you to overuse the stimulants.

In our case, we try to match the duration of the nootropic to the amount of time we need to stay productive. For example, Flmodafinil typically lasts for around 6-hours, which may be all the time we’d need to complete a project. We reserve the stronger nootropics like Modafinil for the times we really need them.

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Best Adderall Alternatives | Verdict

As we all react differently to pharmaceuticals and supplements, it's always a good idea to test out a few Adderall alternatives before settling into your preferred smart drugs routine and cycle.

If you already use smart drugs and are looking for alternatives, we highly recommend the sample pack here.


  1. Smith, K. (n.d.). What You Need to Know About Adderall (amphetamine). Retrieved from
  2. Side Effects of Adderall (Amphetamine, Dextroamphetamine Mixed Salts), Warnings, Uses. (2020, January 22). Retrieved from
  3. Gerrard, P., & Malcolm, R. (2007, June). Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research. Retrieved from
  4. Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009, March). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Retrieved from
  5. Bryan, J. (2008, February). Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine. Retrieved from
  6. An Eight Week, Double-Blind Efficacy Study of Armodafinil Augmentation to Alleviate Fibromyalgia Fatigue – Full Text View. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  7. (2019, September 18). Adrafinil Supplement – Health Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects. Retrieved from
  8. Sukumaran NP, Amalraj A, Gopi S. Neuropharmacological and cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst – A review on its mechanistic aspects. Complement Ther Med. 2019;44:68-82. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.016
  9. Kongkeaw C, Dilokthornsakul P, Thanarangsarit P, Limpeanchob N, Norman Scholfield C. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):528-535. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.008
  10. Iulia C, Ruxandra T, Costin LB, Liliana-Mary V. Citicoline – a neuroprotector with proven effects on glaucomatous disease. Rom J Ophthalmol. 2017;61(3):152-158. doi:10.22336/rjo.2017.29
  11. Grieb P. Neuroprotective properties of citicoline: facts, doubts and unresolved issues. CNS Drugs. 2014;28(3):185-193. doi:10.1007/s40263-014-0144-8
  12. Damar U, Gersner R, Johnstone JT, Schachter S, Rotenberg A. Huperzine A as a neuroprotective and antiepileptic drug: a review of preclinical research. Expert Rev Neurother. 2016;16(6):671-680. doi:10.1080/14737175.2016.1175303
  13. Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015;31(6):781-786. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.014
  14. Tan MS, Yu JT, Tan CC, et al. Efficacy and adverse effects of ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43(2):589-603. doi:10.3233/JAD-140837
  15. Brühl AB, d'Angelo C, Sahakian BJ. Neuroethical issues in cognitive enhancement: Modafinil as the example of a workplace drug?. Brain Neurosci Adv. 2019;3:2398212818816018. Published 2019 Feb 15. doi:10.1177/2398212818816018
  16. Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028
  17. Zheng KH, Khan A, Espiridion ED. Phenibut Addiction in a Patient with Substance Use Disorder. Cureus. 2019;11(7):e5230. Published 2019 Jul 24. doi:10.7759/cureus.5230
  18. Ahuja T, Mgbako O, Katzman C, Grossman A. Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse. Case Rep Psychiatry. 2018;2018:9864285. Published 2018 Apr 30. doi:10.1155/2018/9864285

Medically Review by:
Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPh

Table of Contents

This post is a Research-Based topic follows the strictest sourcing guidelines in the health and nootropics industry. Our focus is to exclusively link to peer-reviewed studies found on respected websites, like PubMed. We focus on finding the most accurate information from the scientific source.

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