Provigil looks promising for treatment of fatigue

Provigil looks promising for treatment of fatigue

A small preliminary clinical trial conducted last year at Ohio State University and at Kaiser Permanente, a San Diego HMO, suggested that a 200 mg dose of Provigil (modafinil) tablets may relieve fatigue symptoms in people with MS. Provigil was approved in 1998 by the FDA to treat narcolepsy, a central nervous system disorder that causes excessive sleeping. It is not clear whether Cephalon, Provigil’s manufacturer, will ask the FDA to approve the drug for treatment of MS. Side effects of Provigil include nervousness, nausea, dry mouth, headache, and diarrhea. The findings were presented at the annual conference of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego, April 29-May 6.

Sponsored by Cephalon, the study involved 72 people with MS, all of whom received a look-alike placebo at some point during the trial. Patients on active treatment reported significantly lower fatigue when they were on the drug than when they were taking the placebo. “Many people identified the placebo as the inactive pill and Provigil as the real drug,” recounted Kottil Rammohan, MD, a neurologist at Ohio State University who was the lead investigator for the trial. “The main thing about the study is that it opens up the window to a whole new class of drugs.”

Approximately 80% of people with MS experience fatigue. For some individuals, it may be the most disabling symptom. People who are interested in taking Provigil should consult their physicians.

COPYRIGHT 2000 National Multiple Sclerosis Society

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group