Armodafinil vs. Adderall | Benefits, Side Effects, and More

Tomas Thorne

Last Updated: February 2, 2023

Armodafinil vs. Aderall

Curious which smart drug is better… Armodafinil vs. Adderall? Then you’ve come to just the right place.

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about these powerful smart drugs and help you find out which one will deliver the benefits you’re looking for.

See, if you’re anything like us, you’ve already tried Adderall and know that it’s one of the most potent study drugs currently on the market. It offers vast cognitive benefits such as 12+ hours of pure focus and dramatically enhanced short-term memory [1, 2].

Then smart drugs and nootropics like Armodafinil hit the scene and changed everything. Unlike Adderall, they didn’t contain highly stimulating amphetamines, so they offered powerful cognitive benefits with fewer side effects. CEOs, hustlers, and straight-A students quickly started taking Armodafinil in favor of Adderall.

When comparing these two drugs – Armodafinil and Adderall, it should be noted that both offer similar benefits, including:

  • Increase overall cognition
  • Heightened focus
  • Increased wakefulness
  • Improved productivity and workflow
  • Extra energy over 12+ hours

…but, which one of these smart drugs is better for you?

Well, let’s find out.

While both are incredibly effective, one nootropic is a cleaner, healthier alternative and offers a better “high” – in our opinion.

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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 Armodafinil?

Before we go too far, let’s talk about what Armodafinil is and why people take it. Armodafinil is like the cousin of the eugeroic Modafinil, the most popular smart drug on the market. Technically speaking, it’s an ‘enantiopure’ compound of Modafinil, meaning that its pharmacological properties are almost identical but it works in a slightly different way.

Armodafinil was designed to combat the same issue as Modafinil; excessive daytime sleepiness. Just like Modafinil, Armodafinil is prescribed to patients suffering from narcolepsy, shift sleep disorder, and sleep apnea [3]. However, it has a longer half-life, so is thought to be more effective at promoting wakefulness.

Armodafinil was created by the same company that produces Modafinil (Cephalon Inc) because Modafinil’s patent was expiring. In simple terms, the two drugs offer similar benefits, but their chemical structure varies slightly. Modafinil contains both “R” and “S” enantiomers, but Armodafinil only contains the active enantiomer, the “R” one.

Due to its unique chemical structure, Armodafinil offers higher blood plasma concentration after consumption. Some claim this makes Armodafinil stronger than Modafinil. This is evidenced by the fact that Modafinil is sold in 200mg tablets while Armodafinil comes in just 150mg.

Learn more about Armodafinil Vs. Modafinil.


What is Adderall?

As the original study drug, Adderall has been used by countless college students over the past three decades to help them cram for finals and crush term papers in a few days.

Originally, Adderall was designed to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder (ADHD), but it is also used as a stimulant to help individuals stay focused on work or study [4].

We wrote a little bit about Adderall here. But here’s the gist of it:

“Adderall works by changing how your brain regulates certain natural substances. The smart drug is made out of Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which allows the drug to stimulate different areas of the brain that control hyperactivity, focus, and impulse control.

While Modafinil is relatively new on the scene, Adderall has been popular with college students for 2-3 decades at this point. Many consider it to be the “study drug” of choice for finals week or when that big paper is due.”

Overall, we’re not huge fans of Adderall. However, we still wanted to compare and contrast these two smart drugs for you.

Armodafinil Vs. Adderall | Ultimate Guide

Now, we’ve taken Armodafinil for over six months and we tend to rotate between Modafinil and Armodafinil these days – depending on when we want to get to sleep. If we need to get to bed before midnight, we take Armodafinil.

Usually, we’ll take smart drugs once or twice per week.

In college, members of our team took Adderall 2-4 times per semester. Not a ton, but we know how the smart drug works and what it feels like. While each smart drug offers similar benefits, the way they work and how they feel are completely different…

The Armodafinil “High”

We’ve talked about the Modafinil “High” before. Armodafinil offers a similar experience. It’s not an amphetamine stimulant like Adderall, but you still feel the increased cognition, wakefulness, and overall sense of wellbeing.

Overall, we’d say you feel less of a “high” with Armodafinil compared to Modafinil, but the cognitive benefits are still strong. We take Modafinil on days when we have to accomplish menial tasks.

If we’re looking to create, we find the Armodafinil “high” to be better overall.

The Adderall “High”

Adderall is a stimulant that contains amphetamines. As such, this study drug will feel more like a drug than Armodafinil or Modafinil and give you a more direct ‘hit’.

When you take Adderall, your prefrontal cortex, the area of your brain that controls behavior, memory, and attention span – changes and becomes more receptive to dopamine [5]. As dopamine becomes more available, you tend to feel more “cracked” out, optimistic, and attentive.

If that’s what you’re looking for, then Adderall is the smart drug for your needs.

After about one hour on Adderall, you’ll probably definitely feel much happier. Even things you don’t want to do like menial paperwork and the like will be enjoyable when you take this smart drug.

But these benefits aren’t without downsides.

Jitters will kick in. Your energy levels will skyrocket. Everything you do will start to be fun, even writing a 10,000-word book report on a topic you don’t care about will seem enjoyable.

Overall, Adderall offers a stronger “high” than any other smart drug out there, including Modafinil and Armodafinil, for one simple reason; it contains amphetamines.

P.S: Check out some Adderall alternatives.


Armodafinil Vs. Adderall | Comparing Benefits

While Armodafinil vs. Adderall can be a difficult comparison because the benefits are so similar, it should be noted that each smart drug offers different positives and negatives.

For example, we can differentiate the benefits of Adderall and Armodafinil:

Armodafinil Benefits

  • Increased Cognition and Heightened Focus: Like any smart drug, you’ll notice significant cognitive benefits when taking Armodafinil. You’ll be able to focus for hours on end and your productivity will increase greatly [6, 7, 8].
  • Not an Amphetamine-based Stimulant: As Armodafinil doesn’t contain amphetamines, you won’t get any of the typical Adderall side effects like anxiety, sweating, and low sex drive [9]. You’ll be able to get tons of work done without the jittery feeling of Adderall. This is a huge benefit for us.
  • Longer Half-Life: Armodafinil has a longer elimination half-life (12-15 hours) than Modafinil (12 hours) or Adderall (12 hours) [10]. This makes Armodafinil more effective at promoting wakefulness and is one of the reasons why it comes in smaller doses of 150mg per tablet.
  • Easier to Sleep On: As you can take  Armodafinil is also a great smart drug when you want to get some sleep. With Modafinil and Adderall, it can be difficult to fall asleep before midnight. With proper dosage and timing, it’s easy to fall asleep at your regular bedtime after taking Armodafinil.
  • Fewer Side Effects: Armodafinil’s side effects are incredibly minor, especially when compared with Adderall. Many users report experiencing zero side effects after taking 150 mg of Armodafinil.

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Adderall Benefits

  • A True “High”: Adderall contains amphetamines and will make you feel high. For some users, this is a huge benefit. The high allows users to get through menial tasks that are simply no fun without Adderall. You will get a strong sense of happiness, productivity, and focus when taking Adderall.
  • Intensity: Adderall may be the most intense smart drug available. When you can’t take “no” for an answer, Adderall can almost guarantee a job, paper, or project gets done. The study drug is simply too strong to let you fail, as evidenced by its widespread use on college campuses [11].
  • Super Energy Levels: You will feel more energy on Adderall than almost any other smart drug. Why? Because Adderall is an amphetamine-based stimulant and you will feel it. Many have compared Adderall to a productive form of cocaine.

Armodafinil Vs. Adderall | Side Effects

The benefits of Armodafinil and Adderall can be somewhat similar, although Adderall is a bit stronger. The side effects are not. Adderall tends to cause significantly more side effects than its counterpart.

Let’s dive in and take a look:

Armodafinil Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Weight Loss
  • Sleeplessness
  • Headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Diarrhea [12]

Members of our team haven’t experienced any of these side effects. In fact, if you were to ask us which smart drug offers the least side effects, we’d say Armodafinil. It’s much milder than Modafinil. Outside of a minor stomach issue one time, we’ve yet to have a problem.

Plus, we’re able to sleep on Armodafinil before midnight. That never happens with Adderall or Modafinil.

Adderall Side Effects

  • Addictive: As Adderall is an amphetamine-based stimulant and offers a variety of similarities to cocaine, it should come as no surprise that the study drug is addictive and can be habit-forming. Be careful!
  • Muscle spasms and twitching
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart attack (when mixed with alcohol) [13, 14, 15]

While many people don’t experience any side effects when taking Adderall, we did. Headaches, an Adderall hangover, and nausea all caused issues for members of our team on more than one occasion.

You need to be careful with this study drug. Also, you’ll want to take it early in the morning to ensure you get to sleep at a decent hour. Taking time-released Adderall in the afternoon can be a death sentence for your sleep schedule.

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Armodafinil Vs. Adderall

Overall, there’s a reason we don’t take or recommend Adderall any longer.

Armodafinil and Modafinil offer similar cognitive benefits without any of the common Adderall side effects.

While some students still prefer Adderall, nearly every CEO and online hustler has switched to smart drugs like Armodafinil recently.

It’s not hype. These smart drugs are truly like the pill in “Limitless” and you will experience impressive cognitive benefits when you take them.

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  2. Ilieva IP, Hook CJ, Farah MJ. Prescription Stimulants’ Effects on Healthy Inhibitory Control, Working Memory, and Episodic Memory: A Meta-analysis. J Cogn Neurosci. 2015 Jun;27(6):1069-89. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00776. Epub 2015 Jan 15. PMID: 25591060.
  3. 2020. Armodafinil: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings – Drugs.Com. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 25 October 2020].
  4. Spencer RC, Devilbiss DM, Berridge CW. The cognition-enhancing effects of psychostimulants involve direct action in the prefrontal cortex. Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Jun 1;77(11):940-50. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.013. Epub 2014 Sep 28. PMID: 25499957; PMCID: PMC4377121.
  5. Rasmussen N. Amphetamine-Type Stimulants: The Early History of Their Medical and Non-Medical Uses. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2015;120:9-25. doi: 10.1016/bs.irn.2015.02.001. Epub 2015 Mar 17. PMID: 26070751.
  6. Baranski JV, Pigeau RA. Self-monitoring cognitive performance during sleep deprivation: effects of modafinil, d-amphetamine and placebo. J Sleep Res. 1997 Jun;6(2):84-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.1997.00032.x. PMID: 9377538.
  7. Pigeau R, Naitoh P, Buguet A, McCann C, Baranski J, Taylor M, Thompson M, MacK I I. Modafinil, d-amphetamine and placebo during 64 hours of sustained mental work. I. Effects on mood, fatigue, cognitive performance and body temperature. J Sleep Res. 1995 Dec;4(4):212-228. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.1995.tb00172.x. PMID: 10607161.
  8. Chapotot F, Pigeau R, Canini F, Bourdon L, Buguet A. Distinctive effects of modafinil and d-amphetamine on the homeostatic and circadian modulation of the human waking EEG. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2003 Mar;166(2):127-38. doi: 10.1007/s00213-002-1315-8. Epub 2003 Jan 28. PMID: 12552359.
  9. Smith TE, Martel MM, DeSantis AD. Subjective Report of Side Effects of Prescribed and Nonprescribed Psychostimulant Use in Young Adults. Subst Use Misuse. 2017 Mar 21;52(4):548-552. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1240694. Epub 2016 Nov 21. PMID: 27869563; PMCID: PMC5704949.
  10. McGough JJ, Biederman J, Wigal SB, Lopez FA, McCracken JT, Spencer T, Zhang Y, Tulloch SJ. Long-term tolerability and effectiveness of once-daily mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall XR) in children with ADHD. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;44(6):530-8. doi: 10.1097/01.chi.0000157550.94702.a2. PMID: 15908835.
  11. Advokat CD, Guidry D, Martino L. Licit and illicit use of medications for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in undergraduate college students. J Am Coll Health. 2008 May-Jun;56(6):601-6. doi: 10.3200/JACH.56.6.601-606. PMID: 18477513.
  12. armodafinil, G. and Nuvigil, B., 2020. Nuvigil (Armodafinil): Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Warning. [online] RxList. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 October 2020].
  13. Sharma J, de Castro C, Chatterjee P, Pinto R. Acute myocardial infarction induced by concurrent use of adderall and alcohol in an adolescent. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2013 Jan;29(1):84-8. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31827b5663. PMID: 23283274.
  14. Jiao X, Velez S, Ringstad J, Eyma V, Miller D, Bleiberg M. Myocardial infarction associated with adderall XR and alcohol use in a young man. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009 Mar-Apr;22(2):197-201. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2009.02.080003. PMID: 19264944.
  15. Sztajnkrycer MD, Hariharan S, Bond GR. Cardiac irritability and myocardial infarction in a 13-year-old girl following recreational amphetamine overdose. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2002 Aug;18(4):E11-5. doi: 10.1097/00006565-200208000-00004. PMID: 12187149.

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