Modafnil, by this point, is quite well-known as a nootropic or “smart drug.” First approved for medical use to treat narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder in 1998, modafinil became popular as a study drug and productivity aid in the early 2000’s, as well as being used by the Air Force to combat pilot fatigue on long missions.
It became well-known to the general public in the second decade of the century, first when Barack Obama was reputed to be using it for jet lag, and then due to famous proponents such as Tim Ferriss and Dave Asprey. It was even the inspiration for NZT-48 in the film Limitless starring Bradley Cooper.
Modafinil is however a schedule 4 controlled substance in the United States, making it impossible to legally acquire without a prescription. Nootropics users usually resort to substitutes, most famously adrafinil, a less powerful prodrug of modafinil.
However, a new modafinil analogue has recently entered onto the scene: flmodafinil. Its effects are nearly identical to modafinil; if we put flmodafinil vs modafinil together, if anything flmodafinil seems to be more powerful than modafinil.
Flmodafinil is currently in phase one trials for hypersomnia and narcolepsy, but because it hasn’t been regulated, generic versions are being sold on the internet without a prescription.
As you’ll see, modafinil is a highly effective smart drug–and flmodafinil might very well be even better.
How Flmodafinil Works
To understand flmodafinil, you must first understand modafinil, its parent drug. The mechanisms behind modafinil are not yet fully understood, but one thing that is clear is that it acts as a selective dopamine reuptake inhibitor, enhancing and extending the actions of dopamine in certain parts of the brain.
This effect is relatively weak–other dopamine reuptake inhibitors are far stronger–however it is also very selective. Unlike other dopamine reuptake inhibitors, modafinil has no significant effect on either the norepinephrine or serotonin systems. Its dopaminergic effects do however indirectly increase levels of histamine and orexin, two neurotransmitters that contribute to wakefulness.
Scientists suspect that modafinil has at least one other mechanism of action which has not yet been discovered. Modafinil is metabolised by the liver and excreted in the urine. Its bioavailability is unknown.
There’s one final wrinkle here, and it’s a big one: modafinil is actually two drugs, not one. It’s a racemic (50/50) mixture of two enantiomers–two versions of the drug that are mirror images of each other.
R-modafinil–usually written as armodafinil in non-academic contexts–has a half-life of 15 hours, and additionally acts as an agonist of the D2 dopamine receptor. The other enantiomer, S-modafinil, has a half-life of four hours; it does not act as a D2 agonist, but does act as a selective dopamine reuptake inhibitor.
Modafinil is commonly cited as having a half-life of 12 to 15 hours, but this is slightly misleading. Because of the different half-lives of the two enantiomers, modafinil has a biphasic elimination curve. For the first few hours, blood levels will drop dramatically as the S-modafinil gets eliminated. After that, what’s left is mostly armodafinil, the more powerful and longer-lasting variant, and further elimination will be slower, with a 15-hour half-life.
Armodafinil is available on its own; some people prefer it over modafinil because it’s nearly twice as strong and has steadier elimination, without the initial rapid drop in blood levels.
So What Is Flmodafinil, Then?
It’s a bisfluoro analogue of modafinil–simply put, it’s modafinil with a couple of fluorine atoms attached at two different points on the molecular structure.
Flmodafinil was patented in 2013 and has been in phase 1 clinical trials since then. Its inventors claim that it is more powerful than modafinil, with fewer side effects.
These claims have not been proven in published research yet, but anecdotal evidence largely supports them. The reason for this isn’t known, but theoretically the two added fluorine atoms should increase bioavailability. In other words, when you’re thinking about flmodafinil vs modafinil, the difference is mostly not that flmodafinil acts differently once in your body, but that it gets absorbed more effectively.
There are two other modafinil analogues you should know about.
The first is adrafinil–a prodrug of modafinil, meaning it converts to modafinil in your body. Adrafinil itself has a half-life of only 1 hour, so its duration of effect is modestly longer than modafinil. It is also somewhat stressful on the liver, and appears to be less selective in its actions than modafinil–meaning it causes more physical and emotional side effects during those first two hours or so before it has been converted to modafinil.
The final analogue to know about is fladrafinil. As you can guess, it’s a bisfluoro analogue to adrafinil, just as flmodafinil is to modafinil. Anecdotally it is reported to be stronger than adrafinil the same way that flmodafinil is stronger than modafinil.
Because no studies have yet been published on flmodafinil, we’ll mostly have to go off of modafinil studies here.
Wakefulness And Fatigue
First and foremost, modafinil greatly increases wakefulness and reduces fatigue. This is particularly noticeable, and most studied, in people undergoing sleep deprivation, but it happens even with well-rested subjects.
The cognitive benefits of modafinil are broad, if mild. Modafinil produces modest improvements in long-term and working memory, planning and decision-making, pattern recognition, as well as increased task enjoyment and subjective well-being..
These cognitive benefits are strongest and most consistent in people who are sleep-deprived, in withdrawal from other stimulants, or otherwise suffering from an abnormal level of fatigue. However, they do still show up in healthy, non-sleep-deprived subjects–they’re just very mild.
Modafinil And Sleep
Modafinil seems to not only allow people to stay awake longer, but also reduce the need for compensatory sleep afterward. This should be taken with a grain of salt however–not all of the long-term effects of sleep deprivation were studied, and we still don’t even fully understand all of the reasons people need sleep. You should still be aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep a night, at least as a long-run average.
Modafinil And ADHD
A little bit of research even shows that modafinil can treat ADHD. It hasn’t been approved for that use however, and the dosages used are easily high enough to cause side effects such as insomnia.
Other Effects Of Flmodafinil
Unlike most stimulants, almost no physical effects are seen, other than a slight increase in blood pressure.
Anecdotally, most users agree that flmodafinil has the same effects as modafinil, just stronger. As we’ll discuss in a bit, it seems to be approximately twice as strong, meaning people dose it about half as high.
Fladrafinil might have one additional effect that no other modafinil analogue has–according to the patent, fladrafinil showed anti-aggressive effects on mice. It’s not clear why this would be, and it hasn’t been replicated nor widely reported by users.
Due to the lack of action on the norepinephrine or serotonin systems, modafinil has little effect on mood, and produces very little physical stimulation such as increased heart rate, fidgeting or body temperature.
The effect of these increased dopamine, orexin and histamine levels is that modafinil greatly increases wakefulness and reduces mental fatigue. The increase in dopamine can also enhance motivation, and the combined effects of these neurotransmitters can create a strong sense of focus.
The other interesting thing about adrafinil is that, according to the patent, it showed anti-aggressive effects in mice. This finding has neither been replicated nor widely reported by users.
Flmodafinil Side Effects
By far the most common side effect of flmodafinil is simply that its intended effects last too long. In other words, insomnia. With a half-life of 12-15 hours, if you take it first thing in the morning, you’ll still have 25-40% of the initial dose in your bloodstream at bedtime.
The insomnia is a big, big issue with modafinil and its analogues, and we’ll discuss ways to avoid it toward the end of this article.
Some users report that modafinil gives them headaches. In research, this happens in about one in five patients given high doses.
Appetite suppression is also a common side effect. In studies it’s usually mild, but in practice people often find it to be quite major, perhaps because the focus-enhancing effects of flmodafinil cause them to ignore what hunger they do feel. Most users actually welcome this side effect.
The elevated histamine levels caused by flmodafinil can cause itching as a side effect. Since it’s caused in the brain, this itching isn’t localized to any particular body part, but modafinil can exacerbate allergic reactions experienced while under its effects.
Anecdotally, many users report that flmodafinil puts them into a logical frame of mind which comes with impaired empathy and social skills. Some users also report increases in libido, presumably stemming from the dopaminergic action of flmodafinil. Unfortunately increased libido doesn’t combine very well with decreased social fluency.
There are almost no physical side effects such as racing heart, elevated body temperature, or fidgeting. Flmodafinil is actually milder than caffeine in this regard. Be aware that it can however have synergistic effects with other stimulants, which have different side effect profiles.
Flmodafinil Legality – Is Flmodafinil legal?
Modafinil is a schedule 4 drug in the United States–illegal without a prescription. Most countries treat it more or less the same way. That includes armodafinil too, since it’s one of the two components of modafinil.
Modafinil analogues and prodrugs, including flmodafinil, adrafinil and fladrafinil, are not currently restricted the same way. Right now, each can be ordered without a prescription from a variety of websites. These are generally nootropics websites, not pharmacies.
Modafinil analogues could potentially be treated the same way as modafinil under designer drug laws, which allow close analogues of prodrugs of a scheduled drug to be treated as a scheduled drug themselves, even if not specifically scheduled.
So far this hasn’t been done–if it does happen, flmodafinil, adrafinil and fladrafinil may stop being sold without a prescription. Fladrafinil, being two steps removed from modafinil, seems least likely to be targeted this way.
Flmodafinil Dosage, And How to Use It
Modafinil is generally dosed at 100 to 200 mg, taken first thing in the morning. Flmodafinil is roughly twice as strong, and people usually take 50 to 100 mg.
The dosing of flmodafinil or any other modafinil analogue is not bodyweight-dependent, since these drugs selectively target part of the brain.
Adrafinil is usually dosed at 200 to 400 mg, although some people go up to 600. Therefore the dosage for fladrafinil would probably be around 100 to 300 mg, but this is just an educated guess; few people have used it and reported their experiences yet.
All of this assumes that you don’t combine flmodafinil with anything else; if you did you’d want to use less. Flmodafinil should also be taken only first thing in the morning, due to the extremely long half-life.
In fact, because flmodafinil lasts so long, it’s all but guaranteed to disrupt your sleep that night even when taken first thing in the morning–if you take a full dose, that is. We recommend further halving the usual dosage–to 25 to 50 mg of flmodafinil, or 50 to 150 mg of fladrafinil–and combining that with a low (50 to 100 mg) dose of caffeine.
By stacking low-dose flmodafinil with a low dose of caffeine, which has a shorter half-life, the effects will wear off faster, minimizing the impact on sleep. You can take a smaller second dose of caffeine later in the morning if needed, but we still recommend avoiding caffeine after noon with this stack.
If using flmodafinil to combat jet lag, follow this same schedule, but based on your projected bedtime at your destination. That is, take 25-50 mg of flmodafinil 14 to 18 hours before you intend to go to sleep at your destination.
Flmodafinil is available in tablets, powder form, or as a sublingual tincture. Tablets are generally preferable because they’re convenient, allow for precise dosing, and easy to travel with.
That said, tablets allow the least flexibility with dosing. They can be cut in halves or quarters, but this is imprecise, and most flmodafinil tablets are very small and crumble quite easily when cut. In practice however this is rarely an issue since flmodafinil tablets are usually dosed very low to begin with.
Powders are the cheapest option, but also the hardest to measure accurately. This is a bigger issue the lower the volume of the powder, since you have to eyeball a smaller amount of material. Thus, it’s a bigger issue for flmodafinil than for fladrafinil.
Powders are also the most widely available form of flmodafinil–it’s still quite new and not a lot of places are selling it yet.
Tinctures theoretically allow for more precise dosing than powders. However, the active ingredient in a tincture can settle at the bottom, making dosing inconsistent. To try and counter this, you can gently swirl the bottle before drawing from it.
In general though, the main reason to use a tincture would be if for whatever reason you wanted to mix flmodafinil with a beverage, or if you feel that you want to take flmodafinil sublingually.
If You’re Looking For Flmodafinil, Buy From These Sites
Since flmodafinil is still very new, only a few sites are selling it, and of those, perhaps half look trustworthy. Here are the brands we recommend.
Our Editors Love
This is the only source of flmodafinil tablets we’ve been able to find from a company that we feel comfortable recommending. Nootropics Unlimited is a well-known brand with a good reputation among nootropics users. It offers free shipping and a money-back guarantee; unfortunately it doesn’t provide lab tests. This might also be the best option for those looking for flmodafinil capsules.
That said some of us at The Unwinder have used this brand and can personally vouch for it. Despite being lower than most people dose flmodafinil, the 25 mg tabs are powerful enough to provide noticeable boost in wakefulness and focus. 50 mg is enough to cause sleep issues later in the evening, but a single tablet combined with caffeine seems to hit the “sweet spot.”
Our Recommendation For Flmodafinil Powder
2 grams Flmodafinil Powder
NewMind is a very reputable research chemical supplier which serves both labs and individual users. Not only is it well-respected in the nootropics and biohacking scene, but it actually supplies some chemicals for scientific research. As you can see, it provides thorough information on its products, including lab analyses showing that this flmodafinil is over 98% pure.
It does have one of the more cumbersome buying processes however. You have to get an account–there’s no guest checkout– and new accounts have to be manually reviewed and approved. As such, you may have to wait a few days to order from NewMind. All that said, this is a good option for shoppers looking for flmodafinil capsules, as you can guy gel capsules and make your own with this flmodafinil powder.
Our Recommendation For Flmodafinil Tincture
If you really want liquid flmodafinil, Science.bio is the place to get it. They provide lab certificates of analysis, offer secure same-day shipping, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
They’re also very careful with their packaging– the bottle has a UV-resistant tint, has a tamper-proof seal, and the dropper is clearly measured in .25 ml increments. They also mix the flmodfinil in polyethylene glycol rather than water or alcohol to ensure that it dissolves evenly rather than settling on the bottom.
Editors note: as of 9/27/2020 this product is out of stock.
Our Recommendation For Fladrafinil
Another respected name in the nootropics scene, NootropicSource is known for having some of the lowest prices in the industry while still offering reliable quality. All of their products are tested in 3rd-party labs.
The downside is that, like NewMind, buying from them isn’t as easy as it could be. They don’t take credit card or PayPal, instead requiring lesser-known payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Bitcoin or Zelle.
Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.