Modafinil for the treatment of pain-associated fatigue: review and case report

J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2004;18(2):39-47.


Fatigue is a symptom that is frequently found in chronic pain patients with low back pain and/or neck pain. At the present time, no specific psychopharmacological treatment for this problem has been identified. Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting agent that the FDA has approved for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy. There have been reports on the use of modafinil for the treatment of fatigue in various neurological syndromes. This literature is reviewed. As such, modafinil treatment was initiated for a patient with severe fatigue associated with chronic low back pain and neck pain. There was dramatic improvement in fatigue and associated function. This case is described. It is the first such case report in the literature. The significance of this finding to the treatment of pain-associated fatigue is discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Fatigue / drug therapy*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / complications*
  • Modafinil
  • Neck Pain / complications*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Modafinil