Modafinil: the unique properties of a new stimulant

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1991 May;62(5):432-5.


Modafinil, a novel stimulant which has several remarkable features that distinguish it from other stimulants, has been developed by Lafon, a French pharmaceutical company. Unlike the amphetamines, for example, modafinil is reported to have minimal peripheral side effects at therapeutic doses. It also appears to have a low abuse potential, does not interfere with normal sleep, and does not seem to produce tolerance. It improves vigilance especially in sleep-deprived subjects. It has been used clinically for up to 3 years in the treatment of narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia. It could be an ideal replacement for amphetamine in short-term operations in which fatigue might threaten the successful completion of a mission. We recommend that military laboratories experienced in studying sustained performance include modafinil or perhaps a more selective alpha 1 receptor agonist in their investigations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds* / adverse effects
  • Benzhydryl Compounds* / pharmacology
  • Benzhydryl Compounds* / therapeutic use
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants* / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants* / pharmacology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Modafinil
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Modafinil