Acute Modafinil Effects on Attention and Inhibitory Control in Methamphetamine-Dependent Humans

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2011 Nov;72(6):943-53. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2011.72.943.

Abstract

Objective: Individuals who are methamphetamine dependent exhibit higher rates of cognitive dysfunction than healthy people who do not use methamphetamine, and this dysfunction may have a negative effect on the success of behavioral treatments for the disorder. Therefore, a medication that improves cognition, such as modafinil (Provigil), may serve as a useful adjunct to behavioral treatments for methamphetamine dependence. Although cognitive-enhancing effects of modafinil have been reported in several populations, little is known about the effects of modafinil in methamphetamine-dependent individuals. We thus sought to evaluate the effects of modafinil on the cognitive performance of methamphetamine-dependent and healthy individuals.

Method: Seventeen healthy subjects and 24 methamphetamine- dependent subjects participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Effects of modafinil (200 mg, single oral dose) were assessed on participants' performance on tests of inhibitory control, working memory, and processing speed/attention.

Results: Across subjects, modafinil improved performance on a test of sustained attention, with no significant improvement on any other cognitive tests. However, within the methamphetamine-dependent group only, participants with a high baseline frequency of methamphetamine use demonstrated a greater effect of modafinil on tests of inhibitory control and processing speed than those participants with low baseline use of methamphetamine.

Conclusions: Although modafinil produced limited effects across all participants, methamphetamine-dependent participants with a high baseline use of methamphetamine demonstrated significant cognitive improvement on modafinil relative to those with low baseline methamphetamine use. These results add to the findings from a clinical trial that suggested that modafinil may be particularly useful in methamphetamine-dependent subjects who use the drug frequently.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Modafinil
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Methamphetamine
  • Modafinil