Modafinil: Attenuating Performance Effects Due to Sleep-Loss
A new vigilance-enhancing drug called modafinil (Provigil™) mimics some of the effects of amphetamines by producing a high-quality wakefulness, while lacking the negative side effects associated with amphetamines. Individuals working in a continuously operating environment, such as hospital and emergency services staff, may benefit from the utilization of a successful wakefulness promoting substance. Those who must work with minimal or no sleep for an extended period would have improved performance with the use of modafinil.
Recent research has shown modafinil to be both chemically and pharmacologically different from amphetamines. For example, modafinil produces long-lasting waking effects without modifying behavior. Also, Modafinil does not possess the abuse potential of amphetamines, as it does not produce euphoric effects. The primary objective of this study is to determine whether modafinil will positively impact human performance over the course of 88 hours of sustained wakefulness.
A group of 15 volunteers, both male and female, were paid approximately $2,950 each ($13 per hour plus $150 for completing the first session, plus $250 for completing the second session). These volunteers were divided into three groups of five participants each. Each group of participants experienced two experimental sessions of approximately 94 hours each, separated by a 2-week period. For each session, participants entered the research facility at 6 p.m. on Friday evening and were released at 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Additionally, two 4-hour training sessions were held prior to the first experimental session for a total of 196 hours per participant.