Modafinil vs Adderall: Analyzing and comparing their safety and effectiveness (2020)

You’ve heard about these two “mind Viagras”… There can be no question that Modafinil (Provigil) vs Adderall is a debatable subject.

You may have even tried one, or both Adderall and Modafinil. Maybe you’re thinking of switching from Adderall to Modafinil.

…perhaps you’ve found more to be more effective than the other. That’s irrelevant, as anecdotal experiences aren’t enough to form a solid opinion.

Alas, you’re stuck between Modafinil (Provigil) and Adderall. Comparing them is difficult and you don’t know which one to go for. [R]

I get it.

Adderall has been on the market for a longer time. Still, there’s certainly no shortage of clinical studies on Modafinil. Enough studies to draw several key conclusions.

Just remember to avoid abusing Modafinil, Adderall, or any other substance. Only use them with your doctor’s approval.

This is not medical advice, by the way. The content should serve as a bonus to what you find out from your physician.

The content on this website is based on proven studies that show you their weaknesses and strengths. My hope is that at the end of this article, you shouldn’t have second thoughts on whether Modafinil or Adderall is the best choice for you.

Here we go…

Brief overview

Both Modafinil and Adderall qualify as smart drugs. However, one qualifies as a nootropic, while the other one doesn’t. That’s because one is safe, while the other is not.

While all stimulants share common characteristics, not all produce the same effects. Also, some can be considerably more harmful and less safe than others.


The “world’s first safe smart drug”, as it is called, is not 100% understood yet. It works on several brain processes simultaneously to trigger stimulation and wakefulness. Scientists say that it triggers the GABA, glutamate, histamine, and noradrenaline neurotransmitters. The combined action on a diverse set of chemicals occurs in a subtle manner. Scientists believe that this causes a natural sense of wakefulness and alertness, without it feeling forced.

The FDA approved Modafinil (Provigil) to treat Narcolepsy and OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) in 1998. I also wrote a detailed review of modafinil that you might want to check out.

Currently, Modafinil falls under the schedule IV category of substances. That’s because its potential for abuse, as well as its addictive potential are low.


Adderall is a combination of four types of amphetamine salts. It works on dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin to cause forced stimulation in healthy individuals.

Furthermore, it brings a sense of calmness to a person who has ADD/ADHD, which leads to increased focus and concentration.

The FDA approved this drug as a treatment for ADD in 1996 and narcolepsy in 1998. Adderall falls under the schedule II category of substances. It’s considered dangerous from a safety standpoint and it can cause physical dependency.


Modafinil and adderal have varying degrees of benefits. A 2014 study has shown that each has its own pluses with regards to cognitive benefits.

Modafinil is known for:

  • Increasing motivation that leads to increase in productivity. In short, the user benefits from increased attention span.
  • Promoting a sense of alertness and wakefulness without the agitation that usually comes with traditional stimulants.
  • Helping people with ADD/ADHD improve their focus and concentration.
  • Mood elevation and the ability to focus for an extended period.

Adderall is known for:

  • Giving the user high simulation, that is because it works on the neurotransmitter which increases activities in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.
  • Being an effective memory enhancer. The 2014 study has shown that it’s highly beneficial for memory recall, making it an effective study aid. Anecdotal evidence also suggests this, as students are heavy users of Adderall.
  • Countering the effect of ADHD and narcolepsy, because it triggers the release of adrenaline.

Side effects

Like any other drug, both Adderall and Modafinil have side effects. Of course, there’s a reason why Adderall is classified as schedule II, while Modafinil is schedule IV.


It has little to no side effects. In fact, most people who use the drug don’t experience any unpleasant side effects. Of course, you can expect side effects that are common to any kind of stimulant, caffeine included.

People who have taken Modafinil have reported headaches, anxiety, difficulty falling asleep, nausea and nervousness. In extreme cases, which is rare, people report of shaking, trembling and skin rashes.

The good news: most side effects can be avoided. Hydrate yourself properly during the experience, use it after you’ve eaten, and eat a heavy meal at the end of they day. That will shift your body’s energy towards digestion, thus allowing your brain to relax.


Adderall comes with a broader range of side effects. In fact, Adderall is quite dangerous and its potential for abuse is high. That’s why the FDA classified it under the Schedule II substances category. Common side effects include: dizziness, headaches, restlessness, paranoia. More serious side effects include: chest pain, hallucinations and seizures.

Adderal is very addictive, as well. People who have been prescribed for a limited amount of time tend to easily get hooked on it. Additionally, it increases blood pressure and heart rate. Patients diagnosed with heart related conditions shouldn’t take Adderall.


Every medication has its approved uses which are confirmed by official studies. Also, many have off-label uses for which enough evidence exists to enable prescription by medical practitioners.

For example, Adderall isn’t approved for weight loss. That doesn’t stop doctors from prescribing it to people suffering from obesity.

The off-label uses of Modafinil go way further than that. It has a lot to do with its safety.

Modafinil is incredibly effective at mitigating fatigue and lethargy caused by various neurological disorders. Doctors are known to prescribe Modafinil to wane off fatigue caused by Parkinson’s disease, depression, multiple sclerosis or cancer.

Modafinil and Adderall are used for roughly the same reasons. They provide stimulation and wakefulness, although in a different manner. Modafinil causes an encouraged stimulation, whereas Adderall tends to be over-kill. One can easily feel uncomfortable from it, even from a smaller dose.

Adderall is approved for the treatment of ADHD, whereas Modafinil is not. Still, doctors do prescribe it for ADHD sometimes, even though the FDA hasn’t officially green-lighted it for that specific use.

Modafinil vs Adderall for studying?

Adderall is used by students as a study aid, but it doesn’t improve IQ. Modafinil is used by pilots, doctors, military, executives, scientists and students to enhance performance, wakefulness and internal drive. Modafinil is very effective at mitigating cognitive decline in sleep-deprived individuals. [R]

Mixing Adderall and Modafinil

If you’re thinking of mixing Modafinil with Adderall, just don’t. That just screams “abuse!”

You’ll end up with lots of anxiety, zero cognitive increase and highly increased heart-rate. Not only that, but the two combined can be very toxic to your body.

Your liver will be very angry at you…

Is Provigil better than Adderall?

Long story, short, yes. Provigil is better than Adderall in all but one aspect: its intensity. Modafinil won’t give you the overkill rush of Adderall. Still, it can greatly increase one’s mental capacity while causing little harm to the body.

Concluding thoughts on Modafinil (Provigil) vs Adderall

I hope that I have given you an overall idea of Modafinil vs Adderall. Indeed, this blog aims to promote Modafinil, but everything stated in this article is true. Adderall is harmful, whereas Modafinil is safe. I’m not the first one to make this claim.

Medical practitioners have acknowledged Modafinil as “the world’s first safe smart drug”. That said, I’m sure you’ll make the right decision if you don’t know whether you should buy Modafinil or Adderall. If you’re smart and want to stay safe, that leaves you with one choice if you’re thinking of buying Modafinil online.