Home » Depression » Modafinil + Anti-Depressants = Better Relief

Modafinil + Anti-Depressants = Better Relief

Modafinil + Anti-Depressants = Better Relief A new review study suggests combining a drug taken for sleep disorders with prescribed antidepressants can reduce the severity of depression more effectively than taking antidepressants alone.

The drug modafinil is typically used to treat sleep disorders.

Researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and East London and King’s College London, have published their study online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Experts report approximately a third of depressed patients receives little or no benefit from taking antidepressants even when used in combination with psychological counseling.

Furthermore, of those who respond to treatment, residual symptoms such as fatigue and trouble sleeping pose risk factors for relapse.

The authors of the new study believe that these individuals in particular would benefit the most from supplementing their antidepressants with modafinil.

Professor Barbara Sahakian from the University of Cambridge said, “Modafinil has actions on a number of neurotransmitter systems. This may explain why adding it to traditional anti-depressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, has beneficial effects on the symptoms experienced by depressed patients.”

“This is good news for individuals struggling to fight depression,” said Professor Cynthia Fu from University of East London, who undertook the research while at King’s College London.

“Depression affects all aspects of life, leading to occupational and social disability at varying levels. It is particularly important that people receive effective treatment as the residual symptoms — e.g. fatigue, lack of concentration etc. — can persist and have a negative impact in people’s lives.”

The study format involved a review of various studies which had examined the use of modafinil as an add-on treatment for depression.

The meta-analysis involved a total of 568 patients with unipolar depression and a total of 342 patients with bipolar depression.

The analysis revealed that modafinil improved the severity of depression as well as remission rates.

Modafinil also showed beneficial effects on fatigue and sleepiness, with the added benefit of the comparable side effects to placebo.

The research also revealed that the symptomatic benefits of modafinil might also have implications for improving the difficulty of functioning at work sometimes caused by depression.

Scientists believe this is significant because depression is a major cause of absenteeism (absence due to sick leave) and presenteeism (present at work but not functioning as before).

Dr Muzaffer Kaser from the University of Cambridge added: “The next step is for longer trials to evaluate potential benefits of supplementing antidepressants with modafinil more comprehensively.”

Source: University of Cambridge

Modafinil + Anti-Depressants = Better Relief

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Modafinil + Anti-Depressants = Better Relief. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 29 Nov 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.