Abstract: Modafinil in elderlies

Differential effects of the new central adrenergic agonist modafinil and d-amphetamine on sleep and early morning behaviour in elderlies.

Saletu B, Frey R, Krupka M,
Anderer P, Grunberger J, Barbanoj MJ

Department of Psychiatry,
University of Vienna, Austria
1989 Oct;39(10):1268-73


Modafinil is a new central alpha-adrenergic agonist with vigilance-promoting properties. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled sleep laboratory study its single-dose effects on sleep and early morning behaviour were investigated and compared with d-amphetamine. Ten elderly healthy volunteers (mean age: 68 years) spent 12 nights in the sleep laboratory: one adaptation night, one baseline night, five drug nights (100 mg and 200 mg modafinil; 10 mg and 20 mg d-amphetamine; placebo) and five subsequent washout nights. The drugs were administered orally in one week intervals at 10:00 p.m., and all-night somnopolygraphic investigations were performed between 10:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. A self-rating scale for sleep and awakening quality as well as psychometric tests were completed in the morning. d-amphetamine caused a dose-dependent impairment of sleep maintenance and sleep architecture, while modafinil did not. Thus, a significant reduction of total sleep time, REM-sleep and sleep stage 2 was seen after d-amphetamine when compared to placebo and 100 mg modafinil. Corresponding with these objective results, subjective sleep quality deteriorated significantly only after 20 mg d-amphetamine as compared to placebo. Morning investigations revealed an increase of CFF after 20 mg d-amphetamine. Pulse rate, evening and morning blood pressure remained unchanged. These findings suggest a different mode of action of the two compounds.