Acute behavioral and physiological effects of modafinil in drug abusers

Craig R. Rush, T. H. Kelly, L. R. Hays, R. W. Baker, A. F. Wooten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Modafinil, a novel stimulant, is effective in the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy. It is biochemically and pharmacologically distinct from prototypical stimulants such as D-amphetamine, cocaine, and methylphenidate. The present experiment was designed to assess the acute behavioral effects of oral modafinil, cocaine, and placebo in participants (n = 9) with recent histories of cocaine use (i.e. positive urine for cocaine or benzoylecgonine during the initial screening interview). Drug effects were assessed with a battery of self-reported drug-effect questionnaires, performance measures, and physiological indices. Cocaine, but not modafinil, produced stimulant-like self-reported drug effects (e.g. increased ratings of High and Stimulated). Modafinil and cocaine dose-dependently increased heart rate and blood pressure. The results of the present study suggest that modafinil has minimal abuse potential, but should be viewed cautiously because of the relatively small sample size. Future studies should further characterize the abuse potential of modafinil using other behavioral arrangements, such as drug discrimination or drug self-administration. A full characterization of the abuse potential of modafinil will become important as the use of this drug increases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Abuse potential
  • Cocaine
  • Drug abuse
  • Human
  • Modafinil
  • Performance
  • Self-reported drug effects
  • Stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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