Objective: To assess the effect of armodafinil, 150 mg, on the physiologic propensity for sleep and cognitive performance during usual night shift hours in patients with excessive sleepiness associated with chronic (> or =3 months) shift work disorder (SWD) of moderate or greater severity.
Patients and methods: This 12-week, randomized controlled study was conducted at 42 sleep research facilities in North America from April 2 through December 23, 2004, and enrolled 254 permanent or rotating night shift workers with SWD. Entry criteria included excessive sleepiness during usual night shifts for 3 months or longer (corroborated by mean sleep latency of < or =6 minutes on a Multiple Sleep Latency Test), insomnia (sleep efficiency < or =87.5% during daytime sleep), and SWD that was judged clinically to be of moderate or greater severity. Patients received armodafinil, 150 mg, or placebo 30 to 60 minutes before each night shift. Physiologic sleep propensity during night shift hours, clinical impression of severity, patient-reported sleepiness, and cognitive function were assessed during laboratory night shifts at weeks 4, 8, and 12.
Results: Armodafinil significantly improved mean (SD) sleep latency from 2.3 (1.6) minutes at baseline to 5.3 (5.0) minutes at final visit, compared with a change from 2.4 (1.6) minutes to 2.8 (2.9) minutes in the placebo group (P<.001). Clinical condition ratings improved in more patients receiving armodafinil (79%) vs placebo (59%) (P=.001). As reported by patients' diaries, armodafinil significantly reduced sleepiness during laboratory nights (P<.001), night shifts at work (P<.001), and the commute home (P=.003). Armodafinil improved performance on standardized memory (P<.001) and attention (power, P=.001; continuity, P<.001) tests compared with placebo. Armodafinil was well tolerated and did not affect daytime sleep, as measured by polysomnography.
Conclusion: In patients with excessive sleepiness associated with chronic SWD of moderate or greater severity, armodafinil significantly improved wakefulness during scheduled night work, raising mean nighttime sleep latency above the level considered to indicate severe sleepiness during the daytime. Armodafinil also significantly improved measures of overall clinical condition, long-term memory, and attention.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00080288.