Best Modafinil Alternatives | A–Z Guide


Have you been looking into nootropics and are trying to decide whether to use Modafinil or one of its alternatives? 

Or are you just curious about the best Modafinil alternatives known to man?

If either of these questions apply to you, read on to find out exactly what nootropics are and how they can enhance your brain and improve your life.

We’ll explore which nootropic are best by comparing them to Modafinil – the commonly recognized “king” of nootropics – and then check out the top 5 Modafinil alternatives, so you can decide which one is best for you. 

We’ll also go through side effects and legal ramifications of these products, so you have the ability to make a full and informed decision.

The team at has spent years exploring the best alternatives. All that research is found below…

Top 5 Modafinil Alternatives 

If you’ve already decided that Modafinil isn’t right for you, or you’ve decided that you want to look at some alternatives, then this is the list for you.

Here we’ll quickly go through our top Modafinil alternatives – with full reviews found below:

#1. Armodafinil

This alternative is the most similar to Modafinil and has the same chemical effect. It keeps you feeling awake and alert throughout the day when you struggle with chronic fatigue or narcolepsy (a disorder that causes sudden-onset sleep). 

#2. Mind Lab Pro: 

This alternative is a combination treatment that uses 11 nootropic ingredients in one treatment to give you the best effects. 

#3. VyvaMind

This is another combination treatment, one that has only six hard hitting nootropic ingredients to help you to retain concentration and focus. 

#4. Qualia Mind: 

This nootropic Modafinil alternative is full of vitamins that help your brain have all the ingredients it needs to work at optimal capacity. 

#5. Adrafinil:

This has a similar chemical effect to Modafinil and helps older people maintain the energy they need to make the most out of their days. 

What is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a central nervous system stimulant. This means it helps you stay awake and is commonly used for treating people who struggle with staying alert during the day [1]. 

This includes narcoleptic patients as well as people with shift work sleep disorder. These people struggle to maintain normal patterns of sleep, so Modafinil is prescribed by a doctor to help them to correct their sleep patterns [1]. 

Modafinil is U.S. FDA-approved, which means it’s been through extensive testing for safety and efficacy. 

So, why is Modafinil considered a smart drug? Well, it works to increase the awakeness of people, which helps them focus. You know how hard it can be to stay awake when you’re studying or working late. 

Modafinil also works to increase cortical catecholamine levels, and indirectly helps upregulate serotonin, glutamate, and histamine [1]. 

This is how it gets your brain to feel awake. Some anecdotal evidence also shows that it brings some improvements to cognition. 

However, sources on the cognitive improvement aspect are divided, so Modafinil might not be the best nootropic if you’re trying to stimulate brain activity [1]. 

Modafinil is simply the top tier nootropic agent for staying awake and is commonly used by people with sleeping disorders or people who have unusual hours like students, tradespeople, or emergency or shift workers. 

But it can be tricky to buy Modafinil online from certain places.


What are Nootropics?

“Nootropic” is an umbrella term that covers a diverse group of substances that improve cognition [2]. This has led to them being called “smart drugs.” 

Since nootropic is an umbrella term, it covers a lot of compounds. These include prescribed medications, like stimulants, as well as natural products or vitamins, which are available to the general public [2]. 

Each of these nootropic ingredients have their own function, so it’s important to make sure you know what you’re looking for out of a nootropic and pick the right one for you. 

Modafinil is a nootropic because it helps keep people awake, which also helps them be more receptive to learning and gets the brain more active [1]. 

Other nootropics help the brain through different mechanisms, like stimulating neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain) so electrical impulses can travel better through the brain [2]. 

Yet other nootropic products are simply vitamins, which are necessary for the brain to carry out its daily functions. By taking a nootropic supplement with the necessary vitamins in it, you can be sure your brain has everything it needs to work at its best. 

The variety of mechanisms of action in nootropic products is why they can be confusing when you start investigating what’s right for you. 

Benefits of Modafinil Alternatives

Modafinil is a well known nootropic and is considered among the strongest and most reliable nootropic products, in part because it’s been through FDA approval. 

However, alternative products may be more in line with what you’re looking to get out of nootropics in general. 

Help to improve learning and memory:

Some nootropic products are more likely than Modafinil to help your brain increase cognition. This is because Modafinil was developed simply as a stimulant, while some alternative products were designed to support brain health and improve learning and memory specifically. 

Reduced risk of addiction:

To be clear, Modafinil has a very low risk of addiction or abuse to begin with. However, it is a central nervous system stimulant, which brings a higher risk of addiction than other nonprescription products. This is why Modafinil has a controlled distribution (i.e., it requires a prescription from a doctor). 


Modafinil is controlled as a drug because it’s a stimulant. This means that you need a prescription in order to access it. 

Modafinil alternatives simply help to support the brain and aren’t made with controlled substances. This means they’re available as over-the-counter medications, or supplements, and are a lot more accessible to the general population. 


Because Modafinil is a prescription medication, it’s restricted for use in some contexts. However, alternative nootropics like vitamins aren’t restricted and are perfectly acceptable to include as part of getting a well rounded diet. 

Best Modafinil Alternatives | A–Z Guide

Now that we’ve explained what Modafinil is and why you may want to explore some alternatives, we can go through the best alternatives to Modafinil. 

Each alternative has a different purpose and a unique blend of nootropic properties from the ingredient list, which can help you distinguish between which nootropic product is going to be best for your situation. 

So, without further ado, here are the best Modafinil alternatives!

#1. Armodafinil  | Top Modafinil Alternative

Armodafinil is the top Modafinil alternative because it’s the most similar to Modafinil [4]. In fact, Armodafinil and Modafinil are so similar, they’re mirror images of each other. 

In chemistry, this is known as an enantiomer, and the mirror images can be called S-enantiomers or R-enantiomers. They each have different properties, which create a similar but not the exact same effect. 

Modafinil is made out of a mix of the S- and R-enantiomers, but Armodafinil is made from purified R-enantiomers [4]. 

  • Longer lasting effects

One difference between Modafinil and Armodafinil is that Armodafinil stays around for longer in the body. It’s taken in a very similar dosage schedule, with one 150–200 mg tablet taken every day [4]. 

Because the effects last longer, you can keep yourself more alert for longer, and will have a longer period when the stimulant is working at its best. 

  • Helps relieve fatigue

Like Modafinil, Armodafinil acts to keep you feeling awake during the day. It’s also a central nervous system stimulant and works the same way as Modafinil to keep you awake [4]. 

This makes Armodafinil a great nootropic for people with sleep disorders or conditions that prevent them from staying awake all day. 

It’s also a good medication for people who have unusual schedules or need to work in shifts. 

  • Off-label effects

Like Modafinil, the only effect that Armodafinil has been FDA-approved for is for the treatment of narcolepsy or shift work sleep disorders [4]. 

However, both drugs have what are known as off-label effects. These are potential unintended benefits of using the products though the benefits have not been proven through clinical trials and the same kind of rigorous testing.

Armodafinil has some off label effects like helping to treat chronic fatigue during the day for patients who are struggling with draining treatments like chemotherapy [5]. 

Armodafinil has also been used to treat mental disorders that cause fatigue like depression or ADHD, though any benefits are anecdotal, meaning that clinical studies are needed. Furthermore, this nootropic is likely less effective than existing treatments for these conditions, and these should be used first [5]. 

  • Easy to use

Armodafinil is taken once daily as a tablet, which means that it’s a lot easier to administer than, for example, intravenous treatments. This means you can take Armodafinil at home, which makes it more accessible to people who need it but can’t access medically trained staff often. 

Click here to get Armodafinil!

#2. Mind Lab Pro | Potent and Powerful

Mind Lab Pro is the second highest on the list for the simple reason that it’s been through extensive testing in clinical trials at the University of Leeds [3]. 

It’s a combination treatment for increasing cognition and has 11 excellent nootropic ingredients that give it the ability to help your brain function at peak performance… 

  • Increases memory

Among the most significant tests that were carried out in this clinical trial was the ability of Mind Lab Pro to help increase memory. This has obvious ramifications for the performance of the supplement as a nootropic. 

The researchers found that using Mind Lab Pro helped increase recall in all forms of memory, with significant differences between the test group and the control population, who were not given any nootropics [3]. 

  • Supports brain health

This product is also great for helping support overall brain health, as well as increasing cognitive ability. This is because it’s full of vitamins that help support the brain through its daily requirements [3]. 

The number of ingredients also helps this product to be strong, and up to four tablets can be taken per day. 

  • Various effects

Because Mind Lab Pro is designed with several nootropics, it does more than just keep you awake. This means that it has a leg up on Modafinil, which has one function that it does very well. 

  • Accessible

Unlike Armodafinil or Modafinil, Mind Lab Pro isn’t a central nervous system stimulant. This means it’s not restricted and you don’t need to get a doctor to prescribe it to you. 

This may make it more accessible as an over-the-counter medication for people who just need a bit of a pick-me-up rather than a clinical strength focus aid. 

Order Mind Lab Pro here.

#3. Vyvamind | Great Over-the-Counter Option

Vyvamind is also a combination product that has six nootropic ingredients. This product has been designed with more of a specific focus than the other Modafinil alternatives on this list. 

This product has been developed for people who have high-intensity, brain stimulating jobs. This includes academics, executives, and athletes for example. 

VyvaMind also has great effects on cognition, which happens through the combination of ingredients. You’ll find benefits like:

  • Improved focus

One of the six key ingredients in this product is caffeine. As anyone who’s addicted to coffee in the morning may already know, caffeine is great for helping people stay alert and focused throughout the day. 

It also contains other positive brain ingredients like amino acids. These are essential for helping the brain synthesize chemical messengers like neurotransmitters or other proteins essential for brain function. 

  • Enhanced relaxation

This product has been specially designed to work with neurotransmitters, which are responsible for carrying electrical signals between brain cells. A lack of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine can have serious effects on mental health. 

So, we know that having an adequate amount of neurotransmitters is super important. And while having enough amino acids to make those neurotransmitters available doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be synthesized at the correct rate, it at least means that a lack of amino acids won’t be the cause of a lack of neurotransmitters. 

When these neurotransmitters are available at the right concentrations in the brain, the ability to have good mental health and be in a relaxed state follows. Some ingredients in this blend also interact directly with neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine to induce relaxation. 

Get Vyvamind today!

#4. Qualia Mind | Strong Modafinil Alternative

Qualia Mind is a solid nootropic product that consists primarily of vitamins and other amino acids necessary for brain function. 

This makes this product much less niche, unlike the other products on this list. Qualia Mind helps your brain to achieve its highest potential by providing all the necessary ingredients for success. 

Here’s why:

  • Accessibility

A major draw of Qualia Mind is that it’s a nootropic supplement rather than a medication. This means it helps your brain achieve functions that it was already capable of. 

Because it’s a supplement, this product isn’t restricted. It’s an over-the-counter supplement that you can get without needing a medical prescription. 

  • Broad effect

Qualia Mind isn’t a product that’s trying to find a specific market. It contains 28 nootropic ingredients, which combine to help your brain with every aspect of learning, cognition, and focus. 

You can think of Qualia Mind as a jack of all trades. This gives the product the ability to help a wide range of people, which is appealing. 

  • No stimulants

Because Qualia Mind doesn’t contain any stimulants, it’s extremely low risk for abuse. It’s also very difficult to have severe negative effects if you accidentally take too much or too little. 

Learn more about Qualia Mind here.

#5. Adrafinil | Solid Nootropic

You might have guessed by the name, but Adrafinil is another product that’s related to Modafinil. In this case, Adrafinil is metabolized in the body to become Modafinil [6]. 

This is another case of chemistry trickery, where the way the nootropic becomes Modafinil is important for how it works and what effects it has. 

Adrafinil is unlike Modafinil and Armodafinil because it isn’t FDA-approved. It was actually removed from approval in Europe in September 2011 [6]. 

  • Treats fatigue

Like Modafinil, Adrafinil is designed to help treat fatigue. In particular, it functions to help stop people from feeling very sleepy and unable to focus [6]. 

This smart drug was designed for use in geriatric patients (the elderly) [6]. 

It also has some off-label abilities to prevent you from falling asleep, which could be useful in some contexts. However, it would probably be more effective to take Modafinil or Armodafinil. 

Order Adrafinil here.

Are These Modafinil Alternatives Legal?

Modafinil is legal, and has been approved by the FDA. Alternatives to Modafinil are also legal, including Armodafinil, which is also FDA-approved. 

These non-FDA approved alternatives are legal because they’re created from natural products; however, the concentrations of active ingredients aren’t regulated. 

Now the real question is not about legality, but if using these products is moral. For the prescription products, that question is easy. Because your doctor gives you a prescription, the moral obligation lies with them. 

If you’ve been prescribed a product like Modafinil, it’s because you need the medication for a known deficit that you have compared to others. Worded a different way, you face greater challenges than others due to your fatigue. 

Taking these products is, thus, just helping you to get back to a level playing field! However, some considerations include sporting events, which may have their own regulations surrounding prescription medication usage. 

For the unregulated products, the question is a bit more murky. Essentially, these products are just extra nutrients for your brain, so you’re still doing all the work. You’re just letting your brain have all the ingredients it needs to work its best. 

Do These Modafinil Alternatives Have Any Side Effects?

Modafinil alternatives can have some side effects, but these are far less severe compared to other focus-related products like Adderall. 

Because these products are designed to keep you awake, some side effects are related to not being able to switch off. This includes a potential to develop insomnia or an inability to relax and stop working hard. 

You can also have some more generic side effects like nausea or gastrointestinal distress. These side effects are fairly common with any new supplement or medication though. 

The most important side effect to monitor is the potential for allergic reactions. Any time you introduce a new product into your body, you should be on the lookout for an allergic reaction, particularly one that may develop into something like anaphylaxis. 

These products are made from natural products (excepting the alternatives derived from Modafinil). This means they may have a slightly higher risk of causing an allergic reaction. 

The unregulated products could also contain something like wheat, soy, or egg without you knowing, particularly if it occurred through cross contamination from the manufacturer. Without regulation, these and other allergens aren’t tested for, so just be careful before ingesting anything new. 

On the plus side, these products have many fewer side effects than common medications (for example hormonal contraception!). 


Best Alternatives to Modafinil | Verdict

While many alternatives to Modafinil are out there, we’ve found these top five to be the absolute best after conducting our rigorous testing and research. 

These are particularly good as alternatives to Modafinil because they’re able to act in a similar way or provide a similar benefit. Because of the range of nootropics, finding a product that has the right effect can sometimes be difficult. 

All five of these products are great alternatives to Modafinil. However, we highly suggest giving Modafinil a chance before switching or trying an alternative for the first time! 

While you can find many fantastic alternatives to Modafinil, nothing comes close to the king. Modafinil is simply the best nootropic around.

Click here to learn more about Modafinil!


[1] Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Nov;25(11):1865-81. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028. Epub 2015 Aug 20. PMID: 26381811.

[2] Malík M, Tlustoš P. Nootropics as Cognitive Enhancers: Types, Dosage and Side Effects of Smart Drugs. Nutrients. 2022 Aug 17;14(16):3367. doi: 10.3390/nu14163367. PMID: 36014874; PMCID: PMC9415189.

[3] Utley Andrea, Gonzalez Yardria,  Abbott Carlie, Nykjaer Camilla, The efficacy of the nootropic supplement Mind Lab Pro on information processing and memory in adults: pseudo randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled studies. 2022. University of Leeds

[4] Garnock-Jones KP, Dhillon S, Scott LJ. Armodafinil. CNS Drugs. 2009 Sep;23(9):793-803. doi: 10.2165/11203290-000000000-00000. PMID: 19689169.

[5] Sison, Gerardo. 2020 Feb 20. Armodafinil vs. modafinil: Differences, similarities, and which is better for you. Internet:

[6] PubChem [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2004-. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 3033226, Adrafinil; [cited 2023 Feb. 9]. 

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