Narcolepsy is the tendency to become drowsy or fall asleep at inappropriate times and places. These sleep attacks may occur during the day with or without warning, while driving, working, eating or talking. This irresistible urge to sleep can happen repeatedly in a single day.
- Affects as many as 200,000 Americans
- Fewer than 50,000 are diagnosed
- 8 to 12% have a close relative with the disease
- Affects men slightly more than women
- 20 to 25% of people with narcolepsy have all four symptoms (excessive daytime sleepiness, sudden loss of muscle function, sleep paralysis, hallucinations)
- Falling asleep at dangerous or unusual times
- Irresistible urge to sleep
- Brief inability to talk or move while falling asleep
- Sudden episodes of muscle function loss
The most common way to treat narcolepsy is to use medication. Narcolepsy is a complex condition and requires precise diagnosis and adjustments to medication dosages to adequately control the symptoms.
In the past years, medications have received FDA approval specifically to treat narcolepsy symptoms, and are considered, by leading narcolepsy experts, to be the first-line treatments for the symptoms of narcolepsy.