An anti-fatigue drug that is more effective than an espresso at helping people feel more awake during the day, has been identified by researchers.

A study has shown that solriamfetol, which has the brand name SUNOSI, improves wakefulness during the day, along with two other anti-fatigue drugs.

A team of researchers from Canada analysed past studies of the impact of anti-tiredness medication on people with obstructive sleep apnoea, which is when someone’s breathing is interrupted during the night by stopping and starting.

This deprivation of oxygen puts the body at risk, with obstructive sleep apnoea being the most common version of the condition.

The researchers analysed 14 trials which involved just over 3,000 people with obstructive sleep apnoea and excessive sleepiness during the day.

They reviewed the efficacy of three anti-fatigue drugs – solriamfetol, armodafinil-modafinil and pitolisant.

Solriamfetol had the biggest effect but all three worked well at reducing sleepiness compared to a placebo.

According to the drug’s manufacturers, solriamfetol boosts wakefulness for up to nine hours, while caffeine is only effective for four to six hours.

The clinical trials that were used as a basis for this latest research saw participants measure their tiredness through questionnaires and the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT).

During this test, the participant tries to stay awake in a darkened room while their vital signs are measured.

Researchers found that armodafinil-modafinil and pitolisant “probably improve” fatigue after it has been taken for a month.

However, the study did highlight that the side effects of the drugs could pose problems. In one instance, solriamfetol has been associated with raised blood pressure.

Read the study in Annals of Internal Medicine.

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