Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the most common hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, is a slowly progressive disorder characterized by diffuse muscle weakness and prominent distal atrophy that predominantly involves the intrinsic muscles of the feet and the peroneal muscles. It results in marked reduction in functional aerobic capacity during exercise and fatigue is commonly reported.
To date, no pharmacologic treatment has been shown to be effective for treating fatigue in Charcot-Marie-Tooth. Modafinil is used to treat the symptoms of fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy. However, fatigue and subsequent excessive daytime sleepiness secondary to fatigue are common symptoms in many neurologic disorders.
Prior reports on patients with myotonic muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, have shown beneficial effects of modafinil in treating fatigue. We report 4 patients with genetically confirmed Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease who had significant fatigue that was almost completely relieved by modafinil.