A cross-over trial of 3 different fatigue drugs showed no difference from the fake treatment. Maybe ProfG wil comment on this, but it shows why trials are done
Nourbakhsh B, Revirajan N, Morris B, Cordano C, Creasman J, Manguinao M, Krysko K, Rutatangwa A, Auvray C, Aljarallah S, Jin C, Mowry E, McCulloch C, Waubant E. Safety and efficacy of amantadine, modafinil, and methylphenidate for fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover, double-blind trial. Lancet Neurol. 2020 Nov 23:S1474-4422(20)30354-9. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30354-9.
Background: Methylphenidate, modafinil, and amantadine are commonly prescribed medications for alleviating fatigue in multiple sclerosis; however, the evidence supporting their efficacy is sparse and conflicting. Our goal was to compare the efficacy of these three medications with each other and placebo in patients with multiple sclerosis fatigue.
Methods: In this randomised, placebo-controlled, four-sequence, four-period, crossover, double-blind trial, patients with multiple sclerosis who reported fatigue and had a Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS) score of more than 33 were recruited at two academic multiple sclerosis centres in the USA. Participants received oral amantadine (up to 100 mg twice daily), modafinil (up to 100 mg twice daily), methylphenidate (up to 10 mg twice daily), or placebo, each given for up to 6 weeks. All patients were intended to receive all four study medications, in turn, in one of four different sequences with 2-week washout periods between medications. The primary outcome measure was the MFIS measured while taking the highest tolerated dose at week 5 of each medication period. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03185065 and is closed.
Findings: Between Oct 4, 2017, and Feb 27, 2019, of 169 patients screened, 141 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to one of four medication administration sequences: Data from 136 participants were available. The estimated mean values of MFIS total scores at baseline and the maximal tolerated dose were as follows: 51·3 (95% CI 49·0-53·6) at baseline, 40·6 (38·2-43·1) with placebo, 41·3 (38·8-43·7) with amantadine, 39·0 (36·6-41·4) with modafinil, and 38·6 (36·2-41·0) with methylphenidate (p=0·20 for the overall medication effect. As compared with placebo (38 [31%] of 124 patients), higher proportions of participants reported adverse events while taking amantadine (49 [39%] of 127 patients), modafinil (50 [40%] of 125 patients), and methylphenidate (51 [40%] of 129 patients). Three serious adverse events occurred during the study (pulmonary embolism and myocarditis while taking amantadine, and a multiple sclerosis exacerbation requiring hospital admission while taking modafinil).
Interpretation: Amantadine, modafinil, and methylphenidate were not superior to placebo in improving multiple sclerosis fatigue and caused more frequent adverse events. The results of this study do not support an indiscriminate use of amantadine, modafinil, or methylphenidate for the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis.
Funding: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.