7 Best Modafinil Alternatives | That Actually Work

When it comes to nootropics, Modafinil is one of the strongest drugs available on the market. It is the absolute best workhorse drug on the market. If you need to pull an all-nighter, then Modafinil is your best bet. 

But every nootropic has its flaws. Modafinil has some great benefits, but it is not meant for everyone. This drug is extremely potent and cannot be used on a daily basis. Taking Modafinil can also disrupt your sleep schedule and make you feel fatigued. 

So what other options are there? 

Well, that’s where this article can help you out. We’re going to list the top 7 nootropic alternatives to Modafinil. We’ll give you everything that you need to know to choose the ideal nootropic. 

Before we get into Modafinil alternatives, let’s look at why this drug is so effective. 

What is Modafinil? 

Modafinil is one of those nootropics that are extremely well-known, and for a good reason. This drug has been shown to have clear cognitive benefits that have been tested. It is a top competitor in the field of nootropics and has been shown to have positive cognitive effects on individuals[1]. 

This is also one of the most powerful nootropics on the market. Most nootropics give you around 6 to 8 hours of productivity, while Modafinil gives you 12+ hours. 

The main reason this drug is so powerful is because of the way that it works. Modafinil is a Central Nervous System stimulant.

It increases the dopamine in the hypothalamus of the brain. More dopamine increases the activity level of your brain, which gives you more energy to work[2]. Modafinil has also been shown to boost serotonin levels which is why it can improve your mood and make you feel better[3]. By regulating neurotransmitters, Modafinil can give you around 12 hours of productivity. 

Although Modafinil is a great nootropic, it can cause harmful side effects in larger quantities. 

Modafinil is Amazing…in Moderation

This product has been around since approximately 1998, and it is many people’s go-to drug when they need to pull an all-nighter. There has been quite a lot of research done on this drug which shows that it is extremely effective as a nootropic. However, Modafinil is quite potent and should be used with caution.

This is because of the fact that Modafinil is a synthetic nootropic which means that it is much more potent. 

To sum it up, Modafinil can give you around 12+ hours of high-energy work, but the downside is that you can’t use it daily. This is ideal for pulling all-nighters or finishing last-minute projects. However, Modafinil cannot be used regularly, and it can cause insomnia as the effects last for quite a while. 

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics are amazing medications that help to improve your cognitive ability while also keeping you alert and wide awake. A common example of this class of drugs is caffeine which is probably why most of us can’t go without our morning cup of coffee. 

But sometimes, you just need something a bit more powerful than coffee which is where nootropic substances like Modafinil come in. 

That’s where nootropics come in. They are derived from the Greek words ‘nóos’ and ‘trope’, which means ‘mind’ and ‘turning’. This name quite literally means that nootropic substances are those that can change the mind. 

So how are these compounds able to achieve this impressive feat? 

The compounds in nootropics can change the brain’s chemistry by increasing the production of certain neurotransmitters or reducing it. These neurotransmitters are the compounds that our nerves use to interact with each other. Therefore by altering the levels of neurotransmitters in our brains, nootropics can give us some astounding results.

Some neurotropic compounds also have neuroprotective properties, which help to maintain the cells of the brain. There are also antioxidants that prevent certain types of cell damage. This keeps your brain healthy and fit. 

Although all nootropics change the chemistry of your brain in some way, there are a few differences to keep in mind. 

Natural supplements or supplements made out of materials derived from nature are much safer than synthetic ones because they are less potent. The chance of experiencing side effects from natural nootropics is relatively low.  The vast majority of individuals that use natural supplements will never experience side effects. This means that you can use these pills daily. 

On the other hand, Synthetic nootropics give much better results than natural nootropics. Just one pill of Modafinil can provide you up to 12 hours of productivity. However, natural nootropics like Mind Lab Pro offer only about 6 to 8 hours of effectiveness. 

To put it simply, synthetic drugs like Modafinil allow you to work for hours on end while natural nootropics give you a milder result. 

Nootropic Side Effects and Safety

So we know what nootropics are but are they safe to use?

The answer to this question is yes, most of the popular nootropics on the market have been tested thoroughly and are safe to use. However, when dealing with nootropics, you must be aware of all the side effects they can cause.  

Synthetic nootropics, like Modafinil, contain powerful drugs that cannot be taken daily. You need to be very careful about taking them because they are highly effective in small quantities. They can make you jittery and increase certain symptoms of anxiety if they are taken in large amounts. 

Some of the other side effects are insomnia, headaches, nausea, and stomach ache. If you suffer from high blood pressure, anxiety disorder, or other similar conditions, consult a medical professional before taking Modafinil.

If you tend to be sensitive to medication, consult a medical professional before using this nootropic.  Everybody’s body is different, so some people might experience harmful effects because of how their body reacts to the nootropic. This is primarily due to the way that nootropics work.

Modafinil is also a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means a low chance of gaining an addiction to this substance. This makes it safer than some drugs on the market like Adderall, but it is still a risky substance to use. 

Although more testing needs to be done on Modafinil, side effects are quite rare. If you use this drug in its recommended dosage, then you will not experience any harmful effects. 

Now that we’ve gotten all the basics down, let’s get down to the important stuff. Here are 7 of the best Modafinil alternatives currently on the market. 

7 Best Modafinil Alternatives

Many people make the mistake of going with whatever nootropic they stumble upon first, but it might take you a few tries to get the perfect nootropic. To help you with this, we’ve included a description of the benefits that the nootropic provides. All of the nootropics on our list are high-quality and work well, but they have different formulations. This changes the effects that they have. 

We’ve included both synthetic and natural supplements in our list as this will give you a wider range of options to choose from. 

When you’re choosing a nootropic, pay attention to how the nootropic works, as this will allow you to figure out which one will be best for your body and your lifestyle. 

Without further ado, let’s get started:

1. Mind Lab Pro

First up on our list is one of the most popular natural nootropics on the market, Mind Lab Pro. This supplement is a powerful natural alternative to Modafinil. It was created by Opti-Nutra, a manufacturer that has come out with a ton of popular nootropics. 

But what makes Mind Lab Pro special? 

The creators of Mind Lab Pro wanted to make a drug that would become the world’s first universal nootropic. This means that it works for anyone at any time. 

It is a nootropic supplement that is useful in a wide variety of situations. This powerful formula is great for heightening cognitive function, increasing productivity, and boosting creativity. Mind Lab Pro lasts for around 6 to 8 hours which makes it perfect for daily use. Simply have the recommended dose of two pills in the morning, and you’ll be good for the rest of the day. 

Mind Lab Pro consists of 11 natural ingredients that have a ton of nootropic effects. The main ingredient of Mind Lab Pro is cognizin which is a patented version of citicoline, a common nootropic substance. This is where the potency of Mind Lab Pro comes from.  Citicoline is common in natural nootropics and increases memory retention and alertness[1]. It also contains many vitamins from the vitamin B family to improve brain health[2]. Mind Lab Pro also has herbal extracts like Bacopa monnieri and Lion’s Mane Mushroom [3][4].

All of the ingredients that are in Mind Lab Pro are multitasking. This means that they work on multiple different pathways in the brain at once. This is perhaps why this supplement is an excellent all-round supplement. 

2. Armodafinil

Modafinil may be the most popular nootropic drug on the market, but Armodafinil comes at a close second. This is not surprising because the composition of both of these drugs is quite similar. 

Armodafinil is a form of Modafinil that promotes wakefulness and wards off fatigue[5]. Like Modafinil, this drug is also used as a prescribed medication for narcolepsy. However, it can also be used as a nootropic.

They provide similar effects to each other however, Armodafinil has a different pharmacokinetic makeup as compared to Modafinil[6]. Because of these properties, Armodafinil can be more effective over a longer period. It can work well for situations when you need to give yourself a substantial energy boost to take you through the entire day.

Unfortunately, Armodafinil has all of the downsides that Modafinil does. You need to be quite cautious while taking this drug as it is relatively potent. 

If you’re looking for a drug that lasts a bit longer than Modafinil and provides similar benefits, this is your best option. 

3. Adrafinil

Next on our list is another drug that gives similar benefits to Modafinil, Adrafinil. This is a drug that acts as a prodrug. This means that when it is consumed, it gets metabolized into Modafinil inside the body. 

This method allows Adrafinil to give similar effects to Modafinil, but it takes a bit longer to start working. Not much research has been done on Adrafinil, but it has been shown to boost cognitive functioning and helps to reduce fatigue in the brain. Like Modafinil, this drug should also be used with caution. 

Adrafinil makes the perfect Modafinil alternative for people who want drugs that take a longer time to work.

4. Flmodafinil

Flmodafinil is a relatively new drug on the scene, so not much research has gone into its effects. However, we know that Flmodafinil is a drug that is analogous or similar to Modafinil[7]. 

This means that the effects of the drug are pretty similar to Modafinil. However, it is slightly less potent than this drug and Armodafinil. Thus it doesn’t require a prescription. Flmodafinil is an extremely effective alternative that improves cognition and increases attention span. 

Like most synthetic drugs, this drug is quite potent and should be taken with caution. However, if you need a good Alpha Brain alternative that is powerful but not quite as powerful as Modafinil, then try out Flmodafinil. 

5. Qualia Mind

But maybe you need a supplement that enhances cognitive function while also giving you that much-needed boost of clarity. In that case, Qualia Mind is the supplement for you. This supplement was created by the Neurohacker Collective, a company that is well-known for its nootropic supplements. 

As the name suggests, Qualia Mind is a supplement that improves the brain’s ability to process information and also heightens your problem-solving abilities. Qualia Mind has a plethora of nootropic ingredients that make it a powerful cognitive supplement.

Because of its large list of comprehensive ingredients, Qualia Mind is a great daily supplement for anyone looking for a quality, effective nootropic. It is also great for individuals that experience a ton of brain fog as it improves mental clarity.

6. Neuro-Peak

But maybe you’re not looking for a nootropic as powerful as Modafinil, and you’d prefer something a bit milder. In that case, you might want to try out Neuro-Peak.

This is a natural nootropic that boosts memory retention, increases mental clarity, and improves cognition. The formula of this supplement has tried and tested nootropic ingredients such as Bacopa monnieri, Ginkgo biloba, Phosphatidylserine, Vitamin B12, and Rhodiola Rosea. All of these ingredients are commonly found in other nootropics like Mind Lab Pro and Alpha Brain. 

Neuro-Peak also contains DMAE or Dimethylethanolamine, which is a powerful nootropic[8]. It reduces specific symptoms of anxiety and improves focus which means that your brain can work for longer and quicker. 

If you’re just looking for a small boost of energy, then Neuro-Peak is for you.

7. Alpha BRAIN

Finally, we come to the last nootropic on our list that is known as Alpha Brain. This is a natural nootropic has been shown to improve verbal memory and overall cognitive ability[9]. It is an excellent nootropic for anyone who wants to increase memory retention and focus. 

Alpha Brain has been tested and has shown results have been scientifically proven to help with memory and focus. The effects last for around 6 hours, making it perfect for completing a ton of work in a short time. 

It also improves your mental processing ability and allows you to enter into a flow state. If you’re looking for a supplement to help with memory, then Alpha Brain is definitely the best nootropic on the market.

Modafinil vs. Alternatives

So we know that Modafinil has a ton of potential alternatives out there. The question is, are there any nootropic that gives you the same benefits as Modafinil? 

The answer to this is no; Modafinil is simply one of the most powerful nootropics currently on the market. The only other nootropic that comes close is Adderall. However, Adderall is also an extremely risky nootropic to take. We have written a detailed comparative analysis of Modafinil vs Adderall, have a look.

This nootropic is quite potent and should be used with caution. Misuse of this drug can cause major side effects if it is not used properly. Taking large amounts of Adderall can also lead to rapid muscle breakdown and high blood pressure. But that’s not all; Adderall is also a Schedule II controlled substance and can become addictive if it is used regularly. 

The bottom line is this; if you don’t have ADHD or another similar condition and are taking Adderall, then you need to be extremely careful. Modafinil does not come with severe side effects and is a much more effective drug. 

If you need to use a powerful drug like Modafinil, we recommend cycling it with a natural nootropic.

So what is ‘cycling’?

When you cycle a nootropic, it just means that you use two or more nootropics on a particular schedule. Swapping nootropics allows you to get rid of any resistance you might have developed to the nootropics.

If you take nootropics regularly then building up resistance is something that you’ll have to deal with. Cycling allows you to bypass this frustrating phenomenon. 

We recommend using a natural alternative like Mind Lab Pro or Alpha Brain for your day-to-day needs. Reserve Modafinil for your all-nighters and don’t take it regularly. Make use of Modafinil only when it is necessary. 

This will help you to use Modafinil without being restricted by the risks that it has. 

Fantastic Modafinil Alternatives | Verdict

We’ve gone through a ton of information, so here’s a quick summary of everything. 

Modafinil is a great nootropic, but it should be used only when necessary. Synthetic nootropics like Armodafinil, Adrafinil, and Flmodafinil have similar effects to Modafinil and therefore act as great substitutes. On the other hand, natural nootropics like Mind Lab Pro, Alpha Brain, Qualia Mind, and Neuro-Peak are milder and can be used regularly. Each one of these nootropics provides different benefits that are based on their formula. 

Once you’ve narrowed down the list, we recommend that you try out a few nootropics to see which one best suits you. 

At the end of the day, you know your lifestyle best, and you will need to pick a nootropic that fits you well. We hope our list has given you all the information you need to choose the perfect nootropic for you. 


  1. Secades J. J. (2016). Citicoline: pharmacological and clinical review, 2016 update. Citicolina: revision farmacologica y clinica, actualizacion 2016. Revista de neurologia, 63(S03), S1–S73.
  2. Kennedy D. O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68.
  3. Kongkeaw, C., Dilokthornsakul, P., Thanarangsarit, P., Limpeanchob, N., & Norman Scholfield, C. (2014). Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 151(1), 528–535.
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  7. Cao, J., Prisinzano, T. E., Okunola, O. M., Kopajtic, T., Shook, M., Katz, J. L., & Newman, A. H. (2010). Structure-Activity Relationships at the Monoamine Transporters for a Novel Series of Modafinil (2-[(diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl]acetamide) Analogues. ACS medicinal chemistry letters, 2(1), 48–52.
  8. Dimpfel, W., Wedekind, W., & Keplinger, I. (2003). Efficacy of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) containing vitamin-mineral drug combination on EEG patterns in the presence of different emotional states. European journal of medical research, 8(5), 183–191.
  9. Solomon, T. M., Leech, J., Murphy, C., DeBros, G., Budson, A., & Solomon, P. (2015). A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, parallel group, efficacy study of alpha BRAIN® administered orally. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(Suppl 1), P54.
Erica Bail

Having specialized as a Neurologist for 8+ years treating patients with diseases like Parkinson's disease, Sclerosis, Dementia and Brain Injury. Dr Erica has the passion and experience to detect, diagnose and manage any type of brain disorder.

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