The effect of modafinil on fatigue, cognition, depression and quality of life in patients with a primary brain tumor
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Cognitive deficits and psychological complaints are common in patients with primary brain tumors. Very little is known about the effect of modafinil of these symptoms. With the present double-blind placebo controlled crossover trial we investigated the effect of modafinil on fatigue, cognitive functioning, depression and overall QOL in patients with a primary brain tumor. Thirty-seven patients with heightened levels of fatigue enrolled in the study. Participants completed neuropsychological tests and self-report questionnaires of fatigue, mood, neurological functioning and QOL at baseline, after six weeks of modafinil or placebo treatment and after another six weeks of treatment. The results showed that modafinil seemed to improve working memor, but it increased the severity of fatigue and decreased the patient-reported sustained attention. On several measures of fatigue, cognition, mood and QOL, a placebo-effect was found. More research is required to be more definitive about the present findings. Future research should include a larger sample size and the making of a distinction in tumor type. Since the results of the present study show no major effects of modafinil, other options of pharmaceutical and psychological treatment should also be explored.