Narcolepsy is a lifelong sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucination, and sleep paralysis. The exact cause remains unknown, but there is significant evidence that hypocretin deficiency plays an integral role. There have been advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis of narcolepsy. It has a negative effect on the quality of life and can restrict the patients from certain careers and activities. Diagnosis relies on patient history and objective data gathered from polysomnography and multiple sleep latency testing. Treatment focuses on symptom relief through medication, education, and behavioral modification. Both classic pharmacological treatments as well as newer options have significant problems, especially because of side effects and abuse potential. Some novel modalities are being examined to expand options for treatment. In this review, the pathophysiological, clinical, and pharmacotherapeutic aspects of narcolepsy are discussed.
Narcolepsy; Cataplexy; Hypocretin; Treatment