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Recognizing and Treating Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in Patients With Narcolepsy

Article Abstract

Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy can cause excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). The diagnosis of narcolepsy is often delayed by years. Clinicians can improve the recognition of EDS and diagnosis of sleep disorders using screening tools such as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and other tests. By following up with patients who present with EDS and continuing to assess until a cause is found, clinicians can lessen the time to diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment. Fortunately, existing pharmacologic interventions are effective in reducing EDS for many patients, but elimination of EDS for most patients has not been achieved. Some interventions also show efficacy in cataplexy. Nonpharmacologic strategies should also be discussed with patients. Clinicians must monitor EDS during ongoing treatment so that residual symptoms can be addressed. Research suggests a causative role for hypocretin deficiency in narcolepsy, and treatments ameliorating this deficiency are needed.

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J Clin Psychiatry 2020;81(6):HB19045AH3C

Volume: 81

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