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Sleep Med Rev. 2009 Dec;13(6):421-6. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2009.02.001. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Socio-professional handicap and accidental risk in patients with hypersomnias of central origin.

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Université Paris Descartes- Faculté de Medecine, APHP - Hôtel Dieu- Centre du Sommeil et de la Vigilance, Paris, France.


Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia profoundly affect quality of life, education and work. Young patients are very handicapped by unexpected sleep episodes during lessons. Professionals frequently complain about sleepiness at work. Motor discomfort (i.e., cataplectic attacks) surprisingly is less handicapping in narcoleptics than sleepiness but only a few studies clearly assess the problem. Quality of life is also largely impaired in its physical and emotional dimensions. Sleepiness is the major factor explaining a decrease of quality of life and unexpectedly cataplectic attacks have little impact on patients. Another potential problem for these patients is the risk of accidents at work or when driving. Narcoleptic and hypersomniac patients have a higher risk of accidents than apneic or insomniac subjects. But, confounding factors such as duration of driving, number of cataplectic attacks or even objective level of alertness are not always entered in the analytic models mainly because of small samples of patients. Unlike in apneic patients, the effect of treatment on accidental risk has not been studied in narcoleptics or in hypersomniacs. Epidemiological data are needed to improve knowledge concerning these areas. Clinical trials assessing the impact of treatment on driving and work are also urgently needed. Finally, medical treatment does not seem to be completely efficient and physicians should pay more attention to the education, work, life and social environment of their patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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