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J Sleep Res. 2000 Mar;9(1):89-96.

Effects of amphetamine and modafinil on the sleep/wake cycle during experimental hypersomnia induced by sleep deprivation in the cat.

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INSERM U480, Département de Médecine Expérimentale, Faculté de Médecine, Université Claude Bernard, 8 avenue Rockefeller, 69373 Lyon, France.


Modafinil is a newly discovered waking substance now being used in the treatment of hypersomnia and narcolepsy. We have shown previously in the cat that, unlike amphetamine, modafinil induces long-lasting wakefulness (W) without behavioral excitation and subsequent sleep rebound, and that its waking effect does not depend on endogenous catecholamines. To further characterize the awakening properties of modafinil and current psychostimulants in experimental models of hypersomnia, we examined the effect of oral administration of placebo, modafinil (5 mg kg-1) or amphetamine (1 mg kg-1) on the sleep/wake cycle and power spectral density (PSD) in cats after an 18-h water-tank sleep deprivation period. We found that the placebo had no effect on the dynamics of sleep recovery, while both modafinil and amphetamine induced suppression of cortical slow activity and a waking state lasting 6-8 h. After the amphetamine-induced waking period, both deep slow wave sleep (SWS2) and paradoxical sleep (PS) occurred in greater amounts than after placebo and the PSD during SWS was also increased. Thus, the cumulative time spent in W during a 48-h period was similar to that with placebo, indicating enhanced sleep rebound. In contrast, after the modafinil-induced W, the occurrence and evolution of SWS2 or PS, as well as the PSD during SWS, were similar to those seen with placebo during the same period, so that the total time spent in W in a 48-h period remained significantly higher than the control level, indicating no additional sleep rebound. These results indicate that modafinil is effective against somnolence and hypersomnia and does not produce a subsequent increase in sleep and suggest that the pharmacological profile of modafinil is different from that of amphetamine.

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