Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder. It causes excess sleepiness during the day. Sudden attacks of sleep can happen while driving, talking, or working.
Causes may be:
This problem often starts in people who are 10 to 20 years of age. Things that may raise the risk are:
People with the disorder have 1 or more of these problems:
Brainstem—Area of Brain Related to Alertness
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The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done.
Tests that may be done to diagnose the disorder include:
There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Options are:
There are no guidelines to prevent this problem.
National Sleep Foundation
Better Sleep Council Canada
Canadian Sleep Society
Narcolepsy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/narcolepsy. Accessed October 1, 2020.
Narcolepsy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Narcolepsy-Fact-Sheet. Accessed October 1, 2020.
Narcolepsy. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/narcolepsy-and-sleep. Accessed October 1, 2020.
Scammell TE. Narcolepsy. N Engl J Med. 2015 Dec 31;373(27):2654-2662.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 5/21/2021