Modafinil Reduces Parasympathetic Activity but Does Not Influence Autonomic Reactivity to Orthostatic Load in Narcolepsy Type 1

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Abstract

Introduction

Modafinil may affect autonomic functions in healthy subjects. The aim of the study was to assess the long-term modafinil administration influence on the cardiac autonomic reactivity to orthostatic load in patients with narcolepsy type 1.

Methods

In 15 patients (4 male; 11 female; median age, 47 years; range, 18–70 years) with narcolepsy type 1 treated with modafinil in daily dose of 100 to 300 mg, the short-term spectral analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) in supine-standing-supine test was performed before and after 72 hours of modafinil discontinuation.

Results

The sympathovagal reactivity to orthostatic load was not modified by modafinil treatment; nevertheless, the parasympathetic activity expressed by length of R-R interval and high-frequency component of HRV is reduced in supine position in patients taking modafinil.

Conclusions

We conclude that long-term use of modafinil does not influence the cardiac autonomic reactivity to orthostatic load expressed by the HRV changes in supine-standing-supine test in narcolepsy type 1 patients, but the parasympathetic cardiac activity may be reduced in quiet supine position in patients with narcolepsy taking modafinil.

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