Effects of maternal modafinil treatment on fetal development and neonatal growth parameters - a multicenter case series of the European Network of Teratology Information Services (ENITS)

Onken M., Lohse L., Coulm B., Beghin D., Richardson J. L., Bermejo-Sánchez E., ...More

ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/acps.13643
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, AgeLine, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Index Islamicus, Psycinfo
  • Keywords: “congenital abnormalities” [MeSH], “drug-related side effects and adverse reactions” [MeSH], “growth and development” [MeSH], “modafinil” [MeSH], “pregnancy” [MeSH]
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


ObjectiveIn recent years, safety concerns about modafinil exposure during pregnancy have emerged. In particular, increased risks for major congenital anomalies (MCA) and impaired fetal growth were reported, although study results were conflicting. Our investigation aims to examine previously reported safety signals.MethodMulticenter case series based on data from 18 Teratology Information Services from 12 countries. Modafinil exposed pregnancies with an estimated date of birth before August 2019 were included in this study. For prospectively ascertained pregnancies, cumulative incidences of pregnancy outcomes, rate of nonchromosomal MCA in first trimester exposed pregnancies and percentiles of neonatal/infant weight and head circumference (HC) were calculated. Potential dose-dependent effects on fetal growth were explored by linear regression models. Retrospectively ascertained cases were screened for pattern of MCA and other adverse events.ResultsOne hundred and seventy-five prospectively ascertained cases were included, of which 173 were exposed at least during the first trimester. Cumulative incidences for live birth, spontaneous abortion and elective termination of pregnancy were 76.9% (95% CI, 68.0%-84.8%), 9.3% (95% CI, 5.0%-16.9%), and 13.9% (95% CI, 8.1%-23.1%), respectively. Nonchromosomal MCA was present in 3/150 live births, corresponding to an MCA rate of 2.0% (95%CI, 0.6%-6.1%), none were reported in pregnancy losses. Compared to reference standards, birth weight (BW) tended to be lower and neonatal HC to be smaller in exposed newborns (data available for 144 and 73 of 153 live births, respectively). In nonadjusted linear regression models, each 100 mg increase of average dosage per pregnancy day was associated with a decrease in standard deviation score (SDS) of -0.28 SDS (95% CI, -0.45 to -0.10) for BW and of -0.28 SDS (95% CI, -0.56 to 0.01) for HC. Screening of 22 retrospectively reported cases did not reveal any specific pattern of MCA or other adverse outcomes.ConclusionThe results do not indicate an increased risk of MCA after in utero exposure to modafinil, but a tendency toward lower BW and reduced neonatal HC. However, these findings should be regarded as preliminary. Until further studies allow for a definite conclusion, modafinil should not be used during pregnancy.