Modafinil vs. Caffeine: Effects on Fatigue During Sleep Deprivation
Authors: Wesensten, Nancy Jo; Belenky, Gregory; Thorne, David R.; Kautz, Mary A.; Balkin, Thomas J.
Source: Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Volume 75, Number 6, June 2004 , pp. 520-525(6)
Publisher: Aerospace Medical Association
Abstract:Wesensten NJ, Belenky G, Thorne DR, Kautz MA, Balkin TJ. Modafinil vs. caffeine: effects on fatigue during sleep deprivation. Aviat Space Environ Med 2004; 75:520–525.
Introduction: The extent to which modafinil and caffeine reverse fatigue effects (defined as performance decrements with time on task) during total sleep deprivation was investigated. Methods: There were 50 healthy young adults who remained awake for 54.5 h (06:30 day 1 to 13:00 day 3). A 10-min vigilance test was administered bi-hourly from 08:00 day 1 until 22:00 day 2. At 23:55 day 2 (after 41.5 h awake), double-blind administration of one of five drug doses (placebo; modafinil 100, 200, or 400 mg; or caffeine 600 mg; n = 10 per group) was followed by hourly testing from 00:00 through 12:00 day 3. Response speed (reciprocal of reaction time) across the 10-min task (by 1-min block) was analyzed prior to and after drug administration. Results: A fatigue effect (response speed degradation across the 10-min task) was exacerbated by sleep deprivation and circadian rhythmicity. Prior to the drug, this effect was maximal between 08:00 and 12:00 day 3 (24–28 h sleep deprivation). Modafinil 400 mg attenuated fatigue in a manner comparable to that seen with caffeine 600 mg; these effects were especially salient during the circadian nadir of performance (06:00 through 10:00); modafinil 200 mg also reversed fatigue, but for a shorter duration (3 min) than modafinil 400 mg (8 min) or caffeine 600 mg (6 min). Discussion and Conclusions: Time-on-task effects contributed to the performance degradation seen during sleep deprivation; effects which were reversed by caffeine and, at appropriate doses, by modafinil. Because the duration of efficacy for reversing time-on-task effects was shorter at lower drug dosages, the latter must be considered when determining the appropriate dose to use during sustained operations.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2004
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