"Nov. 28, 2012 -- Merck's experimental sleep drug suvorexant helps insomniacs fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, early data suggest.
Later studies reported at a sleep conference last June confirmed the findings, says W. Joseph "...
Mechanism Of Action
The mechanism(s) through which modafinil promotes wakefulness is unknown. Modafinil has wake-promoting actions similar to sympathomimetic agents including amphetamine and methylphenidate, although the pharmacologic profile is not identical to that of the sympathomimetic amines.
Modafinil-induced wakefulness can be attenuated by the α1-adrenergic receptor antagonist, prazosin; however, modafinil is inactive in other in vitro assay systems known to be responsive to α-adrenergic agonists such as the rat vas deferens preparation.
Modafinil is not a direct-or indirect-acting dopamine receptor agonist. However, in vitro, modafinil binds to the dopamine transporter and inhibits dopamine reuptake. This activity has been associated in vivo with increased extracellular dopamine levels in some brain regions of animals. In genetically engineered mice lacking the dopamine transporter (DAT), modafinil lacked wake-promoting activity, suggesting that this activity was DAT-dependent. However, the wake-promoting effects of modafinil, unlike those of amphetamine, were not antagonized by the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol in rats. In addition, alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine, a dopamine synthesis inhibitor, blocks the action of amphetamine, but does not block locomotor activity induced by modafinil.
In the cat, equal wakefulness-promoting doses of methylphenidate and amphetamine increased neuronal activation throughout the brain. Modafinil at an equivalent wakefulness-promoting dose selectively and prominently increased neuronal activation in more discrete regions of the brain. The relationship of this finding in cats to the effects of modafinil in humans is unknown.
In addition to its wake-promoting effects and ability to increase locomotor activity in animals, modafinil produces psychoactive and euphoric effects, alterations in mood, perception, thinking, and feelings typical of other CNS stimulants in humans. Modafinil has reinforcing properties, as evidenced by its self-administration in monkeys previously trained to self-administer cocaine; modafinil was also partially discriminated as stimulant-like.
The optical enantiomers of modafinil have similar pharmacological actions in animals. Two major metabolites of modafinil, modafinil acid and modafinil sulfone, do not appear to contribute to the CNS-activating properties of modafinil.
Modafinil is a 1:1 racemic compound, whose enantiomers have different pharmacokinetics (e.g., the half-life of R-modafinil is approximately three times that of S-modafinil in adult humans). The enantiomers do not interconvert. At steady state, total exposure to R-modafinil is approximately three times that for S-modafinil. The trough concentration (Cmin,ss) of circulating modafinil after once daily dosing consists of 90% of R-modafinil and 10% of S-modafinil. The effective elimination half-life of modafinil after multiple doses is about 15 hours. The enantiomers of modafinil exhibit linear kinetics upon multiple dosing of 200-600 mg/day once daily in healthy volunteers. Apparent steady states of total modafinil and R-modafinil are reached after 2-4 days of dosing.
PROVIGIL is readily absorbed after oral administration, with peak plasma concentrations occurring at 2-4 hours. The bioavailability of PROVIGIL tablets is approximately equal to that of an aqueous suspension. The absolute oral bioavailability was not determined due to the aqueous insolubility ( < 1 mg/mL) of modafinil, which precluded intravenous administration. Food has no effect on overall PROVIGIL bioavailability; however, time to reach peak concentration (tmax) may be delayed by approximately one hour if taken with food.
PROVIGIL has an apparent volume of distribution of approximately 0.9 L/kg. In human plasma, in vitro, modafinil is moderately bound to plasma protein (approximately 60%), mainly to albumin. The potential for interactions of PROVIGIL with highly protein-bound drugs is considered to be minimal.
Metabolism and Elimination
The major route of elimination is metabolism (approximately 90%), primarily by the liver, with subsequent renal elimination of the metabolites. Urine alkalinization has no effect on the elimination of modafinil.
Metabolism occurs through hydrolytic deamidation, S-oxidation, aromatic ring hydroxylation, and glucuronide conjugation. Less than 10% of an administered dose is excreted as the parent compound. In a clinical study using radiolabeled modafinil, a total of 81% of the administered radioactivity was recovered in 11 days post-dose, predominantly in the urine (80% vs. 1.0% in the feces). The largest fraction of the drug in urine was modafinil acid, but at least six other metabolites were present in lower concentrations. Only two metabolites reach appreciable concentrations in plasma, i.e., modafinil acid and modafinil sulfone. In preclinical models, modafinil acid, modafinil sulfone, 2-[(diphenylmethyl)sulfonyl]acetic acid and 4-hydroxy modafinil, were inactive or did not appear to mediate the arousal effects of modafinil.
In adults, decreases in trough levels of modafinil have sometimes been observed after multiple weeks of dosing, suggesting auto-induction, but the magnitude of the decreases and the inconsistency of their occurrence suggest that their clinical significance is minimal. Significant accumulation of modafinil sulfone has been observed after multiple doses due to its long elimination half-life of 40 hours. Auto-induction of metabolizing enzymes, most importantly cytochrome P-450 CYP3A4, has also been observed in vitro after incubation of primary cultures of human hepatocytes with modafinil and in vivo after extended administration of modafinil at 400 mg/day.
A slight decrease (approximately 20%) in the oral clearance (CL/F) of modafinil was observed in a single dose study at 200 mg in 12 subjects with a mean age of 63 years (range 53 – 72 years), but the change was considered not likely to be clinically significant. In a multiple dose study (300 mg/day) in 12 patients with a mean age of 82 years (range 67 – 87 years), the mean levels of modafinil in plasma were approximately two times those historically obtained in matched younger subjects. Due to potential effects from the multiple concomitant medications with which most of the patients were being treated, the apparent difference in modafinil pharmacokinetics may not be attributable solely to the effects of aging. However, the results suggest that the clearance of modafinil may be reduced in the elderly [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and Use in Specific Populations].
The pharmacokinetics of modafinil are not affected by gender.
The influence of race on the pharmacokinetics of modafinil has not been studied.
In a single dose 200 mg modafinil study, severe chronic renal failure (creatinine clearance ≤ 20 mL/min) did not significantly influence the pharmacokinetics of modafinil, but exposure to modafinil acid (an inactive metabolite) was increased 9-fold.
The pharmacokinetics and metabolism of modafinil were examined in patients with cirrhosis of the liver (6 men and 3 women). Three patients had stage B or B+ cirrhosis and 6 patients had stage C or C+ cirrhosis (per the Child-Pugh score criteria). Clinically 8 of 9 patients were icteric and all had ascites. In these patients, the oral clearance of modafinil was decreased by about 60% and the steady state concentration was doubled compared to normal patients [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and Use in Specific Populations].
In vitro data demonstrated that modafinil weakly induces CYP1A2, CYP2B6, and possibly CYP3A activities in a concentration-related manner and that CYP2C19 activity is reversibly inhibited by modafinil. In vitro data also demonstrated that modafinil produced an apparent concentration-related suppression of expression of CYP2C9 activity. Other CYP activities did not appear to be affected by modafinil.
Potential Interactions with Drugs That Inhibit, Induce, or Are Metabolized by Cytochrome P450 Isoenzymes and Other Hepatic Enzymes
The existence of multiple pathways for modafinil metabolism, as well as the fact that a non-CYP-related pathway is the most rapid in metabolizing modafinil, suggest that there is a low probability of substantive effects on the overall pharmacokinetic profile of PROVIGIL due to CYP inhibition by concomitant medications. However, due to the partial involvement of CYP3A enzymes in the metabolic elimination of modafinil, coadministration of potent inducers of CYP3A4/5 (e.g., carbamazepine, phenobarbital, rifampin) or inhibitors of CYP3A4/5 (e.g., ketoconazole, erythromycin) could alter the plasma concentrations of modafinil.
The Potential of PROVIGIL to Alter the Metabolism of Other Drugs by Enzyme Induction or Inhibition
- Drugs Metabolized by CYP3A4/5
- In vitro data demonstrated that modafinil is a weak inducer of CYP3A activity in a concentration-related manner. Therefore, the blood levels and effectiveness of drugs that are substrates for CYP3A enzymes (e.g., steroidal contraceptives, cyclosporine, midazolam, and triazolam) may be reduced after initiation of concomitant treatment with PROVIGIL[see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
- Ethinyl Estradiol -Administration of modafinil to female volunteers once daily at 200 mg/day for 7 days followed by 400 mg/day for 21 days resulted in a mean 11% decrease in mean Cmax and 18% decrease in mean AUC0-24 of ethinyl estradiol (EE2; 0.035 mg; administered orally with norgestimate). There was no apparent change in the elimination rate of ethinyl estradiol.
- Triazolam -In the drug interaction study between PROVIGIL and ethinyl estradiol (EE2), on the same days as those for the plasma sampling for EE2 pharmacokinetics, a single dose of triazolam (0.125 mg) was also administered. Mean Cmax and AUC0-∞ of triazolam were decreased by 42% and 59%, respectively, and its elimination half-life was decreased by approximately an hour after the modafinil treatment.
- Cyclosporine -One case of an interaction between modafinil and cyclosporine, a substrate of CYP3A4, has been reported in a 41 year old woman who had undergone an organ transplant. After one month of administration of 200 mg/day of modafinil, cyclosporine blood levels were decreased by 50%. The interaction was postulated to be due to the increased metabolism of cyclosporine, since no other factor expected to affect the disposition of the drug had changed.
- Midazolam -In a clinical study, concomitant administration of armodafinil 250 mg resulted in a reduction in systemic exposure to midazolam by 32% after a single oral dose (5 mg) and 17% after a single intravenous dose (2 mg).
- Quetiapine -In a separate clinical study, concomitant administration of armodafinil 250 mg with quetiapine (300 mg to 600 mg daily doses) resulted in a reduction in the mean systemic exposure of quetiapine by approximately 29%.
- Drugs Metabolized by CYP1A2
- Drugs Metabolized by CYP2B6
- In vitro data demonstrated that modafinil is a weak inducer of CYP2B6 activity in a concentration-related manner.
- Drugs Metabolized by CYP2C9
- In vitro data demonstrated that modafinil produced an apparent concentration-related suppression of expression of CYP2C9 activity suggesting that there is a potential for a metabolic interaction between modafinil and the substrates of this enzyme (e.g., S-warfarin and phenytoin) [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
- Warfarin: Concomitant administration of modafinil with warfarin did not produce significant changes in the pharmacokinetic profiles of R-and S-warfarin. However, since only a single dose of warfarin was tested in this study, an interaction cannot be ruled out [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
- Drugs Metabolized by CYP2C19
- In vitro data demonstrated that modafinil is a reversible inhibitor of CYP2C19 activity. CYP2C19 is also reversibly inhibited, with similar potency, by a circulating metabolite, modafinil sulfone. Although the maximum plasma concentrations of modafinil sulfone are much lower than those of parent modafinil, the combined effect of both compounds could produce sustained partial inhibition of the enzyme. Therefore, exposure to some drugs that are substrates for CYP2C19 (e.g., phenytoin, diazepam, propranolol, omeprazole, and clomipramine) may be increased when used concomitantly with PROVIGIL [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
- In a clinical study, concomitant administration of armodafinil 400 mg resulted in a 40% increase in exposure to omeprazole after a single oral dose (40 mg), as a result of moderate inhibition of CYP2C19 activity.
- Interactions with CNS Active Drugs
- Concomitant administration of modafinil with methylphenidate or dextroamphetamine produced no significant alterations on the pharmacokinetic profile of modafinil or either stimulant, even though the absorption of modafinil was delayed for approximately one hour.
- Concomitant modafinil or clomipramine did not alter the pharmacokinetic profile of either drug; however, one incident of increased levels of clomipramine and its active metabolite desmethylclomipramine was reported in a patient with narcolepsy during treatment with modafinil.
- CYP2C19 also provides an ancillary pathway for the metabolism of certain tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., clomipramine and desipramine) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that are primarily metabolized by CYP2D6. In tricyclic-treated patients deficient in CYP2D6 (i.e., those who are poor metabolizers of debrisoquine; 7-10% of the Caucasian population; similar or lower in other populations), the amount of metabolism by CYP2C19 may be substantially increased. PROVIGIL may cause elevation of the levels of the tricyclics in this subset of patients [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
- Concomitant administration of armodafinil with quetiapine reduced the systemic exposure of quetiapine.
- Interaction with P-Glycoprotein
- An in vitro study demonstrated that armodafinil is a substrate of P-glycoprotein. The impact of inhibition of P-glycoprotein is not known.
The effectiveness of PROVIGIL in improving wakefulness in adult patients with excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy was established in two US 9-week, multi-center, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, double-blind studies of outpatients who met the criteria for narcolepsy. A total of 558 patients were randomized to receive PROVIGIL 200 or 400 mg/day, or placebo. The criteria for narcolepsy include either: 1) recurrent daytime naps or lapses into sleep that occur almost daily for at least three months, plus sudden bilateral loss of postural muscle tone in association with intense emotion (cataplexy); or 2) a complaint of excessive sleepiness or sudden muscle weakness with associated features: sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, automatic behaviors, disrupted major sleep episode; and polysomnography demonstrating one of the following: sleep latency less than 10 minutes or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep latency less than 20 minutes. For entry into these studies, all patients were required to have objectively documented excessive daytime sleepiness, via a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) with two or more sleep onset REM periods and the absence of any other clinically significant active medical or psychiatric disorder. The MSLT, an objective polysomnographic assessment of the patient's ability to fall asleep in an unstimulating environment, measured latency (in minutes) to sleep onset averaged over 4 test sessions at 2-hour intervals. For each test session, the subject was told to lie quietly and attempt to sleep. Each test session was terminated after 20 minutes if no sleep occurred or 15 minutes after sleep onset.
In both studies, the primary measures of effectiveness were: 1) sleep latency, as assessed by the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT); and 2) the change in the patient's overall disease status, as measured by the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGI-C). For a successful trial, both measures had to show statistically significant improvement.
The MWT measures latency (in minutes) to sleep onset averaged over 4 test sessions at 2 hour intervals following nocturnal polysomnography. For each test session, the subject was asked to attempt to remain awake without using extraordinary measures. Each test session was terminated after 20 minutes if no sleep occurred or 10 minutes after sleep onset. The CGI-C is a 7-point scale, centered at No Change, and ranging from Very Much Worse to Very Much Improved. Patients were rated by evaluators who had no access to any data about the patients other than a measure of their baseline severity. Evaluators were not given any specific guidance about the criteria they were to apply when rating patients.
Both studies demonstrated improvement in objective and subjective measures of excessive daytime sleepiness for both the 200 mg and 400 mg doses compared to placebo. Patients treated with PROVIGIL showed a statistically significantly enhanced ability to remain awake on the MWT at each dose compared to placebo at final visit (Table 2). A statistically significantly greater number of patients treated with PROVIGIL at each dose showed improvement in overall clinical condition as rated by the CGI-C scale at final visit (Table 3).
Nighttime sleep measured with polysomnography was not affected by the use of PROVIGIL.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The effectiveness of PROVIGIL in improving wakefulness in patients with excessive sleepiness associated with OSA was established in two multi-center, placebo-controlled clinical studies of patients who met the criteria for OSA. The criteria include either: 1) excessive sleepiness or insomnia, plus frequent episodes of impaired breathing during sleep, and associated features such as loud snoring, morning headaches and dry mouth upon awakening; or 2) excessive sleepiness or insomnia and polysomnography demonstrating one of the following: more than five obstructive apneas, each greater than 10 seconds in duration, per hour of sleep and one or more of the following: frequent arousals from sleep associated with the apneas, bradytachycardia, and arterial oxygen desaturation in association with the apneas. In addition, for entry into these studies, all patients were required to have excessive sleepiness as demonstrated by a score ≥ 10 on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), despite treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Evidence that CPAP was effective in reducing episodes of apnea/hypopnea was required along with documentation of CPAP use.
In the first study, a 12-week trial, a total of 327 patients with OSA were randomized to receive PROVIGIL 200 mg/day, PROVIGIL 400 mg/day, or matching placebo. The majority of patients (80%) were fully compliant with CPAP, defined as CPAP use greater than 4 hours/night on > 70% of nights. The remainder were partially CPAP compliant, defined as CPAP use < 4 hours/night on > 30% of nights. CPAP use continued throughout the study. The primary measures of effectiveness were 1) sleep latency, as assessed by the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT) and 2) the change in the patient's overall disease status, as measured by the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGI-C) at the final visit [see Clinical Studies for a description of these measures].
Patients treated with PROVIGIL showed a statistically significant improvement in the ability to remain awake compared to placebo-treated patients as measured by the MWT at final visit (Table 2). A statistically significant greater number of patients treated with PROVIGIL showed improvement in overall clinical condition as rated by the CGI-C scale at final visit (Table 3). The 200 mg and 400 mg doses of PROVIGIL produced statistically significant effects of similar magnitude on the MWT, and also on the CGI-C.
In the second study, a 4-week trial, 157 patients with OSA were randomized to receive PROVIGIL 400 mg/day or placebo. Documentation of regular CPAP use (at least 4 hours/night on 70% of nights) was required for all patients. The primary measure of effectiveness was the change from baseline on the ESS at final visit. The baseline ESS scores for the PROVIGIL and placebo groups were 14.2 and 14.4, respectively. At week 4, the ESS was reduced by 4.6 in the PROVIGIL group and by 2.0 in the placebo group, a difference that was statistically significant.
Nighttime sleep measured with polysomnography was not affected by the use of PROVIGIL.
Shift Work Disorder (SWD)
The effectiveness of PROVIGIL in improving wakefulness in patients with excessive sleepiness associated with SWD was demonstrated in a 12-week placebo-controlled clinical trial. A total of 209 patients with chronic SWD were randomized to receive PROVIGIL 200 mg/day or placebo. All patients met the criteria for chronic SWD. The criteria include: 1) either, a) a primary complaint of excessive sleepiness or insomnia which is temporally associated with a work period (usually night work) that occurs during the habitual sleep phase, or b) polysomnography and the MSLT demonstrate loss of a normal sleep-wake pattern (i.e., disturbed chronobiological rhythmicity); and 2) no other medical or mental disorder accounts for the symptoms, and 3) the symptoms do not meet criteria for any other sleep disorder producing insomnia or excessive sleepiness (e.g., time zone change [jet lag] syndrome).
It should be noted that not all patients with a complaint of sleepiness who are also engaged in shift work meet the criteria for the diagnosis of SWD. In the clinical trial, only patients who were symptomatic for at least 3 months were enrolled.
Enrolled patients were also required to work a minimum of 5 night shifts per month, have excessive sleepiness at the time of their night shifts (MSLT score < 6 minutes), and have daytime insomnia documented by a daytime polysomnogram.
The primary measures of effectiveness were 1) sleep latency, as assessed by the MSLT performed during a simulated night shift at the final visit and 2) the change in the patient's overall disease status, as measured by the CGI-C at the final visit [see Clinical Studies for a description of these measures.].
Patients treated with PROVIGIL showed a statistically significant prolongation in the time to sleep onset compared to placebo-treated patients, as measured by the nighttime MSLT at final visit (Table 2). A statistically significant greater number of patients treated with PROVIGIL showed improvement in overall clinical condition as rated by the CGI-C scale at final visit (Table 3).
Daytime sleep measured with polysomnography was not affected by the use of PROVIGIL.
Table 2: Average Baseline Sleep Latency and Change
from Baseline at Final Visit (MWT and MSLT in minutes)
|Disorder||Measure||PROVIGIL 200 mg*||PROVIGIL 400 mg*||Placebo|
|Baseline||Change from Baseline||Baseline||Change from Baseline||Baseline||Change from Baseline|
|*Significantly different than placebo for all trials (p < 0.01 for all trials but SWD, which was p < 0.05)|
Table 3: Clinical Global
Impression of Change (CGI-C) (Percent of Patients Who Improved at Final Visit)
|Disorder||PROVIGIL 200 mg*||PROVIGIL 400 mg*||Placebo|
|*Significantly different than placebo for all trials (p < 0.01)|
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/29/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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