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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2011 May;199(5):329-34. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182174fd3.

Determinants of depressive symptoms in narcoleptic patients with and without cataplexy.

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  • 1Sleep Disorders Centre, Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Medical Centre Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany.


The present prospective study assesses depressive symptoms in narcoleptic patients with (NC+) and without (NC-) cataplexy (46 women, 40 men) and age- and sex- matched healthy controls. Seventy patients were under treatment with stimulants and/or anticataplectics. All subjects completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), the Global Impression of Severity of Depression (GSD), the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Patients with narcolepsy were more depressed than controls (higher scores in BDI, GSD, SDS, and POMS [in the total score and in all subscale scores]); however, between the NC+ and NC- patient groups, no differences were found. Our study shows that the women and the patients using antidepressants and stimulants (combination) have a higher probability for depressive symptoms independent of the presence of cataplexy. The lack of difference between NC+ and NC- in the level of depression supports the assumption that the major psychosocial burden in narcolepsy is not necessarily associated with the presence of cataplexy.

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