Coping with Narcolepsy
|Course Name||Coping with Narcolepsy|
Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:
- Define what is meant by the term “narcolepsy”
- Identify the ways in which narcolepsy is diagnosed
- Identify the etiology of narcolepsy
- List the various ways in which narcolepsy can be treated
- List the medications most frequently used in association with narcolepsy
- Identify occupational and social accommodations for the disabilities due to or associated with narcolepsy.
- List the various techniques recommended for helping patients “live with” narcolepsy
Course InformationNARCOLEPSY IS CHARACTERIZED BY UNCONTROLLABLE SLEEPINESS (ALSO CALLED EXCESSIVE DAYTIME SLEEPINESS) AND INTERMITTENT MANIFESTATIONS OF REM SLEEP AT TIMES WHEN A PERSON WOULD NORMALLY BE AWAKE. Beside sleepiness, the REM manifestations may include cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations. Narcolepsy is not a common disease.
Successful treatment of narcolepsy requires an accurate diagnosis to exclude patients with other sleep disorders, which have different treatments, and to avoid unnecessary complications of drug treatment. Treatment objectives should be tailored to individual circumstances. Modafinil, amphetamine, methamphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, selegiline, pemoline, tricyclic antidepressants, and fluoxetine are effective treatments for narcolepsy, but the quality of published clinical evidence supporting them varies. Scheduled naps can be beneficial to combat sleepiness, but naps seldom suffice as primary therapy. Regular follow up of patients with narcolepsy is necessary to educate patients and their families, monitor for complications of therapy and emergent of other sleep disorders, and help the patient adapt to the disease.