Modafinil for Parkinson's disease fatigue

J Neurol. 2010 Mar;257(3):452-6. doi: 10.1007/s00415-009-5351-8. Epub 2009 Oct 20.


Fatigue is common in Parkinson's disease (PD), occurring in up to 42% of patients (2). There is no recognized treatment. This is a study of modafinil for Parkinson's disease related fatigue. Ethical approval was given. Patients with idiopathic PD were recruited from a Movement Disorders clinic. Those with depression, dementia, and other causes for fatigue were excluded. Patients were assessed using the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), self-rating of improvement, Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and UPDRS. Modafinil was titrated up over 4 weeks to maximum of 400 mg/day. There followed a 5 week maintenance phase before reassessment. Thirteen patients participated. No significant change was seen in any safety measure. The FSS did not change significantly, however those on modafinil rated an improvement in their fatigue compared to placebo. The Modafinil group had a statistically significant improvement on ESS (p < 0.05). This is a small study of modafinil in selected PD patients. There is a suggestion of improvement on the global clinical impression scale for fatigue, but no significant change on FSS. A larger study is needed to further evaluate this drug in PD fatigue. This study highlights the problems with recruitment when trialing treatments of non-motor symptoms in PD. A significant improvement in EDS was seen.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • 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
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / etiology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Modafinil
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Patient Selection
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Modafinil