Medication for Narcolepsy


Find Sleep Clinics & Specialists »

Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for narcolepsy, but there are various medications available for the different symptoms to help reduce and control them.

Medication for Excessive Daytime Sleepiness:

  • Modafinil
  • A stimulant used to reduce the sleepiness that narcoleptics struggle with. This has been thought to increase the ability to stay awake by nearly 50%. It does this by stimulating the central nervous system. For more severe cases, Modafinil can be used in conjunction with other stimulants. The stimulant does not however, prevent cataplexy. It has also been found that there is less likelihood of a drug dependency with this particular stimulant and people generally do not suffer bad withdrawals should they be taken off the drug. Headaches are the most common of side-effects with this drug, but can be treated with other medication. You must consult your doctor about the side effects before taking this drug.

  • Other StimulantsAmphetamines, Pemoline.
  • Medication for Cataplexy:

  • Antidepressants
  • Even though they are used to obviously treat depression, antidepressants can also help relieve the muscle paralysis of Cataplexy. Do not worry if your doctor prescribes these to you, this does not mean that you are being treated for depression, and you are not at risk from developing it through the drugs alone. The dosage you receive will more than likely be lower than that given to someone suffering from depression. Antidepressants can also help reduce the hallucinations you may be experiencing. Antidepressants do not reduce the sleepiness you may feel during the day; it is the stimulants that are used to reduce this. Equally, do not be disheartened if the drugs do not have an immediate effect as they can take several weeks to begin to work.

  • Sodium Oxybate
  • This is a newer drug that is now available and can help with the symptoms of Cataplexy and daytime drowsiness. There is some stigma involving this drug as it has been used as a date rape drug. However, in much smaller dosages this could potentially help people with more severe cases of Narcolepsy. It is also thought to leave the user with hardly any withdrawal symptoms should they be taken off the drug slowly; if they are removed from the drug abruptly it can show a quick increase of Cataplexy attacks.

Treating Children with Narcolepsy

If your child is suffering from Narcolepsy then the doctor will probably administer different dosages and possibly different medicines than those describe above.

Narcolepsy Treatment During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and develop Narcolepsy, or you have Narcolepsy and wish to get pregnant, speak to your doctor about the possible side-effects the medicines could have on your baby and the chance of your baby also developing Narcolepsy.

There are many different types of treatment and methods of easing of your sleep disorder and it may require patience to find the right treatment for you. However, with time, the right medication and dosage can be found and hopefully you will begin to notice a change in your life and an ease in your Narcolepsy symptoms.


« Treatment for Narcolepsy Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome »