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Neurol Clin. 1996 Aug;14(3):573-82.

Idiopathic hypersomnia.

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Neurology B Department, Gui-de-Chauliac Hospital, Montpellier, France.


Idiopathic hypersomnia is not as well delineated as narcolepsy and its history is much more recent. There are at least two forms of the disorder: (1) a polysymptomatic form, characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, nocturnal sleep of abnormally long duration, and signs of sleep drunkenness on awakening, and (2) a monosymptomatic form that manifests only by excessive daytime sleepiness. The most widely used laboratory procedures are nocturnal polysomnographic recording following by an MSLT demonstrating a mean sleep latency of less than 10 minutes. At least in the polysymptomatic form, however, continuous polysomnography on an ad lib protocol deserves to be performed to catch the abnormally long major sleep episode and the long unrefreshing naps. Idiopathic hypersomnia is probably one of the most overdiagnosed sleep disorders. Several other disorders must be excluded before the diagnosis can be considered conclusive. Treatment of idiopathic hypersomnia relies on stimulants, which are frequently less effective and less well tolerated than in narcolepsy.

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