Update on Therapy for Narcolepsy

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33 Scopus citations


Narcolepsy is a severe, incurable, neurological disorder that is treated by pharmacological management of its symptoms. The main symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and cataplexy, although addition symptoms that may require treatment include sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and disturbed nocturnal sleep. Sodium oxybate and modafinil/armodafinil are the first-line treatments for EDS, and sodium oxybate for cataplexy. Sodium oxybate treats all the symptoms of narcolepsy, whereas modafinil is effective for EDS only. Alternative medications for EDS include methylphenidate or amphetamines such as dextroamphetamine, lisdexamfetamine, methamphetamine, or combination amphetamine salts. Non-FDA approved medications for cataplexy include norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as venlafaxine or atomoxetine. Combination therapy can be more effective for sleepiness such as sodium oxybate and modafinil/armodafinil. Medication for narcolepsy is generally well tolerated and usually required life-long although does not eliminate all symptoms of narcolepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Amphetamine
  • Armodafinil
  • Cataplexy
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Hypocretin
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methylphenidate
  • Modafinil
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleepiness
  • Sodium oxybate
  • Treatment
  • Venlafaxine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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