A review of the effects of modafinil on cognition in schizophrenia.


Modafinil, a wake-promoting agent believed to operate via the hypocretin/orexin system, has a similar clinical profile to that of conventional, dopaminergic stimulants but different biochemical and pharmacological properties. There is increasing interest in the use of modafinil to improve cognition in schizophrenia as well as in other disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Recent research has focused on enhancing cognition in patients with schizophrenia because of the association between cognitive performance and functional outcome. Initial findings indicate that modafinil may lead to better executive functioning and attentional performance in patients with schizophrenia. The results further suggest that patient characteristics such as overall current cognitive functioning levels, genetic polymorphisms, and medication status may be important mediators for the effectiveness of modafinil, allowing for future treatment to be targeted to those most likely to benefit. Currently, further research is required to address the potential benefits and risks of chronic administration of modafinil to patients with schizophrenia.