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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2003 Oct;4(10):1739-46.

Pharmacological management of narcolepsy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.


Narcolepsy is a disabling disorder characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucinations, sleep paralysis and disturbed nocturnal sleep. Traditionally, a wide variety of substances are used in the symptomatic pharmacological treatment of narcolepsy. Several generally more-tolerated substances have been added to the therapeutic repertoire after extensive testing in large patient populations during recent years. This review addresses the state-of-the-art knowledge about the pharmacological treatment of narcolepsy along with the personal view of the authors. The recent discovery that narcolepsy is caused by deficient hypocretin (orexin) transmission opens a perspective on causal therapy.

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