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J Sleep Res. 2015 Feb;24(1):74-81. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12201. Epub 2014 Sep 5.

Modafinil in the treatment of idiopathic hypersomnia without long sleep time--a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

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Hephata Klinik, Schwalmstadt-Treysa, Germany; Department of Neurology, Philipps-Universit├Ąt Marburg, Marburg, Germany.


In 2010 the European Medicines Agency withdrew the indication of modafinil for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, shift work sleep disorder and for idiopathic hypersomnia (IH). In uncontrolled studies, modafinil has been reported to be efficacious in the treatment of sleep disorders. We therefore performed a randomized, placebo-controlled study with the aim of proving the efficacy of modafinil treatment in these patients. Drug-free IH patients without long sleep according to ICSD2 criteria, age >18 years and disease duration >2 years were included. After a washout phase, patients at baseline received placebo or 100 mg modafinil in the morning and at noon over 3 weeks, followed by 1 week without medication. At each visit the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) rating scale were performed. At baseline and on days 8 and 21 four Maintenance of Wakefulness Tests (MWTs)/day or per day were performed. Patients kept a sleep-wake diary throughout the study. Between 2009 and 2011 three sleep centres recruited 33 participants. Compared to placebo, modafinil decreased sleepiness significantly and improved mean sleep latency in the MWT non-significantly. The CGI improved significantly from baseline to the last visit on treatment. The most frequent adverse events were headaches and gastrointestinal disorders; skin and psychiatric reactions were not reported. The number of reported naps and duration of daytime sleepiness decreased significantly. Total sleep time of nocturnal sleep was slightly reduced. The sleep diaries showed increases in feeling refreshed in the morning; the diurnal diaries showed significant improvement of performance and of exhaustion. Modafinil is an effective and safe medication in the treatment of IH. Adverse events are mild to moderate.


Epworth Sleepiness Scale; adverse events; clinical global impression; idiopathic hypersomnia without long sleep; maintenance of wakefulness tests; modafinil; sleep diaries; sleep latency

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