Modafinil and Armodafinil Effects on Work Shift Disorder

Were There Really Enough Studies Conducted on Modafinil and Armodafinil Effects on Work Shift Disorder?

People who work in shifts are often sleepy and have troubles with sleeping between the shifts, especially those people who work at night. It's a regime that is detrimental to both physical and mental health. That is why many of those people suffer from different forms of the so-called work shift sleep disorder. With some, symptoms are mild and less manifested, while others have more serious trouble with the sleep cycle.

Different drugs are used in treating work shift disorder. Studies were conducted on all the drugs used in the treatment of this disorder.

Studies on drugs for the treatment of work shift disorder

Until September 13th, 2013 there were 15 studies conducted on 718 participants. The studies were used to estimate the success of the melatonin and hypnotic drugs therapy on sleep after the work shift, as well as the success of Modafinil, Armodafinil, and caffeine for the same.

Effects on the length and quality of sleep

The results of the studies showed that people who used melatonin supplement could sleep 24 minutes longer during the day after the night shift, but it could not be determined whether the therapy affected other outcomes of sleep, like the time needed for falling asleep, due to lack of reliable evidence. Side-effects of the melatonin therapy were rare.

As for hypnotic drugs (zopiclone), there was not enough evidence and it was not determined whether they affected the length of sleep (very low quality of evidence). There were no signs of side-effects of the therapy found on any of the participants.

Effects on sleepiness during the work shift

People who used Modafinil and Armodafinil showed a reduction of sleepiness and an increased standby during the shift, according to evidence obtained from a three-month study on people suffering from work shift sleep disorder.

A headache and nausea were the most common side-effects in both short-term and in long-term studies. However, there was also noticed a severe skin disorder among the participants of almost all studies which involved Modafinil and Armodafinil use.

One research showed that people who consumed caffeine before the work in the night shift had an increased standby during the shift, although it is well-known that a long-term caffeine use causes caffeine addiction, high blood pressure, stomach and bowel problems, dehydration, and other health issues.

What else needs to be researched?

Most of the studies conducted on people suffering from work shift disorder, and sleep disorders in general, lack reliable evidence and enough data about the positive effects, usefulness, and side-effects of all drugs and therapies used in the treatment of these disorders.

All drugs that promote better sleep and standby have potentially severe side-effects. More research is needed in order to prove the benefits and damages caused by these drugs, including Modafinil and Armodafinil.

Studies on treating sleep disorders without Modafinil

Studies were also conducted for the same purpose only without the application of any drug. Other methods of treating work shift sleep disorder were used in order to check the effectiveness of Modafinil and other drugs' alternatives.

Three types of procedures were tested:

  1. exposure to bright light;
  2. possibility of sleeping during the night shift;
  3. exercising or consultation on sleeping.

Until August 15th, 2015 there were 17 random control studies (556 respondents) conducted. However, the number of evidence was yet again predominantly scarce.

In most cases in which the success of the bright light therapy was tested, there were omissions in the way the studies were conducted. In the studies, different variety of bright light was applied both mutually and in relation to control groups.

Therefore, it is hard to make conclusions about the effectiveness of using bright light for sleepiness and sleep disorder. The same conclusion stands for the success of dosing on sleepiness. Studies were too short; each study lasted for only one night.

There was also not enough data for the use of exercise and tuition on sleep. The studies were not supported by enough evidence, so that it is not possible to make any reliable conclusions about its effectiveness on sleep disorders.


As anyone can see from the mentioned information about all studies ever conducted on Modafinil, Armodafinil, and other drugs, as well as alternative therapies for the treatment of sleep disorders, and in this case concretely, work shift disorder, there is still not enough available data about the effectiveness of the mentioned therapies, be it with or without Modafinil and other drugs. The difference in effectiveness was not noticed.

We still lack well-designed long-term studies with clear information, more respondents, and longer time of research, so as to get to more reliable conclusions. Also, in choosing the right approach to treatment, it is important to take into consideration both people who work in day shift and those who work at night.