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Sleep. 2006 Jul;29(7):939-46.

Sodium oxybate improves excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy.

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Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, CA 94305, USA.



To assess the effectiveness of sodium oxybate therapy, modafinil therapy and the combination of the two for excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy patients previously taking modafinil.


Double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study.


Forty-four sites in the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.


Two hundred seventy- adult patients with narcolepsy taking 200 to 600 mg of modafinil daily for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness.


Patients received unchanged doses of modafinil (with sodium-oxybate placebo) during a 2-week baseline phase. Following a baseline polysomnogram and Maintenance of Wakefulness Test, they were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups: sodium-oxybate placebo plus modafinil placebo, sodium oxybate plus modafinil placebo, modafinil plus sodium-oxybate placebo, or sodium oxybate plus modafinil. Sodium oxybate was administered as 6 g nightly for 4 weeks and was then increased to 9 g nightly for 4 additional weeks. The primary efficacy measure was the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test; secondary measures included the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, diary recordings, and the Clinical Global Impression-change scale.


Following the switch from modafinil to placebo, the mean average daytime sleep latency on the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test decreased from 9.74 minutes at baseline to 6.87 minutes after 8 weeks (p < .001). In the sodium-oxybate group, there was no decrease in sleep latency, suggesting that this drug was as efficacious in treating the excessive daytime sleepiness as the previously administered modafinil. In contrast, the sodium-oxybate/modafinil group demonstrated an increase in daytime sleep latency from 10.43 minutes to 13.15 minutes (p < .001), suggesting that this combination of drugs produced an additive effect. The sodium-oxybate group also demonstrated a decrease in median average Epworth Sleepiness Scale scores, from 15 to 12.0, whereas the sodium-oxybate/modafinil group decreased from 15.0 to 11.0 (for both, p < .001). The Clinical Global Impression-Change scale demonstrated similar results.


Sodium oxybate and modafinil are both effective for treating excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy, producing additive effects when used together. Sodium oxybate is beneficial as both monotherapy and as adjunctive therapy for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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