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A drug currently used to treat symptoms of narcolepsy also can help treat debilitating fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
In a 9-week study, 72 patients with MS and severe fatigue received a placebo or varying dosages of modafinil. Placebo was given in the first 2 weeks and the last 3 weeks of the study. In weeks 3 and 4, the patients received 200 mg/d of modafinil; the dosage was increased to 400 mg/d in weeks 5 and 6.
Researchers from Ohio State University College of Medicine and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego said patients had significantly less fatigue and the fewest adverse effects while taking the 200-mg/d dosage. Adverse effects of headache and nervousness from the larger dosage probably outweighed any benefits, the researchers noted.
Voelker R. Fighting MS Fatigue. JAMA. 2000;283(20):2646. doi:10.1001/jama.283.20.2646-JQU00003-3-1