Effects of modafinil on attention performance, short-term memory and executive function in university students: a randomized trial

Alejandro Fernández, Franco Mascayano, Walter Lips, Andrés Painel, Jonathan Norambuena, Eva Madrid
2015 Medwave  
Citation: Fernández A, Mascayano F, Lips W, Painel A, Norambuena J, Madrid E. Effects of modafinil on attention performance, short-term memory and executive function in university students. A randomized trial. Medwave 2015 Jun;15(5):e6166 Abstract BACKGROUND Modafinil is a drug developed and used for the treatment of excessive lethargy. Even though very effective for sleep disorders, it is still controversial whether modafinil can improve performance in highorder cognitive processes such as
more » ... ocesses such as memory and executive function. METHODS This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial was designed to evaluate the effect of modafinil (compared to placebo) on the cognitive functions of healthy students. 160 volunteers were recruited and allocated randomly to modafinil or placebo group, and were assessed using the Stroop Test, BCET test and Digit span test. RESULTS We found a significant difference in favor of modafinil compared to placebo in the proportion of correct answers of Stroop Test in congruent situation. A significant shorter latency of modafinil group in the incongruent situation of Stroop test was also found. No differences were found in Digit Span, or BCET tests. CONCLUSIONS The study demonstrated that modafinil does not enhance the global cognitive performance of healthy non-sleep deprived students, except regarding non-demanding tasks. In particular, this drug does not seem to have positive effects on mental processes that sustain studying tasks in the college population under normal conditions. We expect these findings to demystify the use of this drug and help decision making concerning pharmacological public policies. www.medwave.cl 2
doi:10.5867/medwave.2015.05.6166 pmid:26135067 fatcat:2bufzitvzfal5lg66xsfocxyfq