Armodafinil vs. Modafinil – (Nuvigil vs. Provigil)
Armodafinil (Nuvigil) and Modafinil (Provigil) are both non-amphetamine drugs that promote wakefulness and have helped individuals enduring sleep apnea, narcolepsy or excessive sleepiness stay active. FDA approves them both. Originally, Modafinil (Modalert) was used for treating Narcolepsy and for improving wakefulness. But, increasingly more individuals used it as a performance-enhancing agent. As a result, Modafinil was further tested and few changes or improvisations were made and Armodafinil (Waklert) came into existence. While both perform similar functions, Armodafinil contains just the R-enantiomer whereas Modafinil contains both “R” and “S” enantiomers. Armodafinil also maintains higher plasma concentrations well into the day.
Differences in mechanisms and actions
Armodafinil works by inhibiting dopamine reuptake and is said to work as an indirect D2 receptor partial agonist. It is also said to enhance histamine levels in hypothalamus and the concentrations of other neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. It could also activate orexin peptides by stimulating orexin receptors (OX1 and OX2) and possibly glutamatergic concentrations or decrease GABAergic activation – thus increasing electronic coupling. On the other hand, Modafinil inhibits reuptake of dopamine and enhances histamine levels in one’s hypothalamus. Further, it increases monoamines’ levels like serotonin, norepinephrine and activates orexin peptides. It triggers orexin receptors OX1 and OX2 in particular and probably activates glutamatergic circuits, inhibits GABA neurotransmission and promotes electronic coupling.
As you can see, both work almost similarly but there are a few differences. Armodafinil isn’t generic, while Modafinil is. Armodafinil is available as 50 mg/150 mg/200 mg/250 mg Modafinil is only available as 100 / 200 mg. Half-life of Armodafinil is 15 hours, whereas, Modafinil is 12 hours. The effect of Armodafinil is 8 hours, whereas, Modafinil lasts for 6 – 12 hours. While both drugs are suggested for similar conditions as noted earlier, Armodafinil is used to ward of Negative Effects of Schizophrenia additionally and Modafinil is used to treat Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, Depersonalization, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis,Parkinson’s and to promote Weight loss.
Differences related to time
Modafinil was approved by FDA in 1998, whereas, Armodafinil was approved in 2007. Modafinil is cheaper since it has been around longer and generic cheaper versions of the drug are out. Armodafinil reaches its peak concentration later, a reason the systemic availability is more and the duration is longer than Modafinil. Also, where 150mg of Armodafinil is taken, 200mg Modafinil will be needed. Due to the efficiency duration, Armodafinil is considered better of the two, though healthcare specialists say both are similar and the results are often identical.
To summarize, Armodafinil is an improved version of Modafinil and is believed to offer longer duration effect than Modafinil by two hours, since it only contains the R-enantiomer counterpart. The S-enantiomer in Modafinil is considered to have a shorter lifespan and perhaps more suited for users who do not want an extended period of wakefulness. While the way both these drugs look relatively similar, absorption, metabolism, distribution and elimination mechanisms vary. In the end, users should decide if amodafinil or modafinil is a better fit in terms of cost, dietary requirements, tolerance levels and more importantly, one’s personal user experience.