Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Drug Metab. 2018;19(13):1073-1079. doi: 10.2174/1389200219666180305153134.

Sodium Oxybate Treatment in Pediatric Type 1 Narcolepsy.

Author information

Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (DIBINEM), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche, Bologna, Italy.



Narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) is a chronic neurologic disorder defined by excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, hallucinations and disrupted nocturnal sleep, typically with onset during childhood/ adolescence. Pediatric NT1 is associated with limitations on children's activities and achievements, especially poor performance at school, difficulty with peers due to disease symptoms and comorbidities including depression, obesity, and precocious puberty. Sodium oxybate (SO) is a sodium salt of γ-hydroxybutyric (GHB) acid and is greatly effective in treating cataplexy and excessive daytime sleepiness in NT1 and it can be helpful also for sleep disruption, hypnagogic hallucination and sleep paralysis in these patients.


We conducted a research of literature into bibliographic databases regarding NT1 features in childhood and the possible option treatment with SO in this kind of patient population.


We reported sixteen papers focusing on symptom presentation and on clinical and metabolic features of children affected with NT1. Furthermore, we reported 24 manuscripts focusing on SO biological actions and pharmacological properties and on the few but important available studies (8) conducted in NT1 children under SO therapy.


Although in the majority of patients develop NT1 during childhood, there are no approved treatments for pediatric NT1. However, SO has been widely used off-label to treat narcolepsy symptoms in children and adolescents with NT1 in non-controlled studies, showing a similar safety profile and therapeutic response to adult patients. Ongoing pediatric therapy is based only on observational data shared among sleep disorders clinicians.


Sodium oxybate; cataplexy; children; excessive daytime sleepiness; narcolepsy type 1; γ-hydroxybutyrate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.
Loading ...
Support Center