A Comparison of the Efficacy of Modafinil and Dextroamphetamine as Alertness Promoting Agents in Aviators Performing Extended Operations
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL WARFIGHTER PERFORMANCE AND HEALTH DIV
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Successful military operations depend on maintaining continuous day-night operations. Stimulants are easy to use and popular for sustaining performance because their utility is not dependent upon environmental or scheduling modifications. Eighteen pilots each completed 15 helicopter flights and other evaluations during two 40 hr periods of sustained wakefulness during which they received 2 of 3 experimental conditions 3 doses at 4 hr intervals of modafinil 100mg, dextroamphetamine 5mg, or placebo. Statistical results showed that the stimulants maintained alertness, feelings of well-being, cognitive function, judgment, risk perception, and situation awareness of sleep-deprived aviators consistently better than placebo and without side effects of aeromedical concern. Like previous research, this study strongly suggests that these drugs can maintain acceptable levels of mood and performance during sleep deprivation. The results also confirm that modafinil is well tolerated and appears to be a good alternative to dextroamphetamine for countering the debilitating mood and cognitive effects of sleep loss during sustained operations.
- Stress Physiology