What are narcolepsy treatment options?

This question was asked in Kempton, North Dakota on 08/21/2013.
I have trouble staying awake during the day, sometimes I just fall asleep at my desk at work even though I don't mean to. I think it might be narcolepsy. What can be done to treat it? What kinds of options do I have available to me to stop the cycle of sleepiness.

Doctors Answers (3)

Vector Sleep Diagnostics Center
Answered on: 8/26/2013

Treatment options frequently include behavioral techniques and modification of daytime schedule (scheduled naps etc) but most likely medications will need to be used as well. They will keep you alert and treat other symptoms of narcolepsy. Let me stress that accurate diagnosis is the key and first step. Is there a possibility of sleep apnea (that can also cause excessive daytime sleepiness)? Talk to your sleep physician and have the necessary testing (likely overnight sleep test- polysomnogram and possibly day time test -nap test- or MSLT)to confirm your diagnosis.

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 8/22/2013

The first thing to do is determine that the cause of your sleepiness is Narcolepsy. There are multiple sleep disorders that cause daytime sleepiness. Should your Board Certified Sleep physician determines that Narcolepsy is indeed the cause of sleepiness, then there are several medication options. Narcolepsy is treatable and can be managed by your sleep physician.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 8/22/2013

There are many causes for daytime sleepiness. One cause, as you suggested, is narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is often considered to be an autoimmune disorder but is usually associated with a deficiency of a neurotransmitter, Orexin. This transmitter keeps us awake and without it we have difficulty staying awake. A diagnosis of narcolepsy is best made by a sleep specialist. Other causes for daytime sleepiness include sleep deprivation and medication effect. Any condition which interferes with normal sleep patterns can produce sleep deprivation. This would include sleep apnea, periodic limb movements often associated with restless legs syndrome and a multitude of medical conditions such as pain, anxiety and environmental factors. Again, you may need a sleep specialist to assist you.