Effect of Modafinil on Core Temperature During Sustained Wakefulness and Exercise in a Warm Environment

Tomas Thorne

Last Updated: February 20, 2023

Effect of Modafinil


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have revealed that modafinil elevates resting core temperature during periods of sustained wakefulness. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of modafinil on core temperature during rest and exercise throughout 40 h of sustained wakefulness in a warm environment.

METHODS: Ten males performed a drug session (three 100 mg doses per day) and a placebo session that involved a control day, 40 h of sustained wakefulness, and a recovery sleep. For 38 h of the sustained wakefulness, subjects were exposed to 30 degrees C with 50% relative humidity. During the afternoon of both days of wakefulness and during the early morning of the second day, subjects performed 2 h of exercise at 60% VO2max while exposed to the warm environment.

RESULTS: The data revealed that rectal temperature (Tre) was elevated at rest 0.15-0.2 degrees C following modafinil ingestion throughout the period of sustained wakefulness. This increase in body temperature at rest was due to an increase in heat production during the first day of wakefulness followed by a lower evaporative heat loss during the second day. During exercise, an inconsistent effect of the drug on Tre was observed throughout the 38-h period. On the first afternoon, the impact of modafinil on Tre was no longer evident after 20 min of exercise. In contrast, during the early morning and afternoon of the second day, the effects of the drug on Tre at rest remained during exercise. For seven subjects who had Tre data for 80 min during all exercise periods, Tre during the placebo session was 38.9, 38.4, and 38.7 degrees C after 80 min of exercise for periods one, two and three, respectively, whereas the corresponding values during the modafinil session were 38.8, 38.7, and 38.9 degrees C.

CONCLUSION: With a greater cumulative dose of the drug, Tre remained elevated throughout the exercise period to an extent similar to the increase observed under resting conditions when compared with the placebo condition.


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