Modafinil in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Pediatr Neurol. 2003 Aug;29(2):136-42. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(03)00148-6.


Previous clinical evidence suggested that modafinil may improve clinical features of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. To test this hypothesis, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study design was used. Of 24 children initially randomized into the study, 11 control subjects and 11 treatment patients completed the study, with evaluation before medication and after 5 to 6 weeks. The average Test of Variables of Attention attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder z score improved by 2.53 S.D.s for the modafinil group compared with a decline of 1.02 for control patients (P < or = 0.02). Conners Rating Scales ADHD total t scores for the modafinil group improved from 76.6 to 68.2 compared with improvement from 77.7 to 76.0 for control subjects (P = 0.04). Ten of 11 treatment patients were reported as "significantly" improved, whereas eight of 11 control subjects were reported as manifesting "no" or "slight" improvement (P < 0.001). Adverse effects were few and manageable, with no anorexia. Modafinil may be a useful treatment for children with ADHD, particularly when anorexia limits use of stimulants.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / adverse effects
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Modafinil
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Modafinil