Health-related quality of life effects of modafinil for treatment of narcolepsy

Sleep. 1999 Sep 15;22(6):757-65. doi: 10.1093/sleep/22.6.757.


Objective: To evaluate the burden of illness of narcolepsy and assess the health-related quality-of-life (HQL) effects of oral modafinil, a wake-promoting therapy for excessive daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy.

Methods: Subjects with narcolepsy enrolled in a nine-week, placebo-controlled, double-blind study and were randomized to placebo, modafinil 200 mg, or modafinil 400 mg. After the study, consenting subjects received modafinil in a 40-week open-label extension. A self-administered HQL questionnaire consisting of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and supplemental narcolepsy-specific scales was given to subjects at baseline, study endpoint, and several open-label timepoints.

Results: 481 subjects completed a baseline and double-blind endpoint HQL assessment. Compared to population norms, baseline HQL scores reflected substantial burden in vitality, social functioning, and performing usual activities. At study endpoint, subjects in the 400 mg modafinil group had significantly higher scores than placebo for 10 of the 17 HQL scales. The 400 mg modafinil group had more energy, fewer difficulties performing usual activities, fewer interferences with social activities, improved psychological well-being and higher productivity, attention and self-esteem compared to placebo subjects (p<.05). The positive treatment effects were sustained over the open-label extension.

Conclusion: Modafinil significantly improves health-related quality of life in narcolepsy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Modafinil
  • Narcolepsy / diagnosis
  • Narcolepsy / drug therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Modafinil