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Medications: Currently prescribed for a person with narcolepsy; (in the USA)

The following is taken from the National Institutes of Health website on Treatment
of Narcolepsy.

"...TREATMENT: There is presently no cure for narcolepsy; however, the symptoms can be controlled with behavioral and medical therapy. The excessive daytime sleepiness may be treated with stimulant drugs, while cataplexy and other REM-sleep symptoms may be treated with antidepressant medications. At best, medications will reduce the symptoms, but will not alleviate them entirely. Also, some medications may have side effects. Basic lifestyle adjustments such as regulating sleep schedules, improving diet, increasing exercise and avoiding "over-stimulating" situations may also help to reduce the effects of excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy...."

Narcolepsy can be treated using specific medications. Of these medications stimulant medications such as Amphetamines, Dextroamphetamine, Methamphetamine, and
Levoamphetamine, Pemoline, Mazindol are the most commonly prescribed. And soon to be added is Modafinil a.k.a. Provigil (USA) in early January 1999.

A brief outline of these is listed below.

Stimulants :

Methylphenidate-HCL    10-60mg    Short duration of action. (US and Japan)

D-Amphetamine-Sulfate    5-60mg   Variable duration of action. (US)

Methamphetamine-HCL   5-60mg   Better distribution in the brain
                                                            vs. the periphery, more potent and efficacious
                                                            than amphetamine. (US)

Pemoline                           20-115mg Less potent and efficacious, long duration of
                                                            action, hepatotoxicity.

Mazindol                          0.5-6mg     Weakly efficacious, rarely used except in UK.

Modafinil                        100-300mg  Fewer sympathomimetic effects and side
                                                            effects, long duration of action, well tolerated
                                                            but lower potency than amphetamine.

Anticatapletic Compounds :

Protryptiline                       5-60mg    Anticholinergic effects (dry mouth, blurred
                                                            vision, constipation, etc.) at high doses, mild
                                                            stimulant, preferentially adrenergic effects

Impiramine                       10-100mg  Anticholinergic effects

Desipramine                     25-100mg  Same as imipramine, more adrenergic effects.

Clomipramine                   10-150       Very efficacious, mostly used in Europe

Fluoxetine                         20-60mg    Well tolorated but high doses are often
                                                             needed, less weight gain than with other
                                                             antidepressants, preferentially serotoninergic

Hypnotic Compounds :

Gammahydroxybutyrate   1-3g     Short duration of action, resulting
                                                        anticatapletic effects during daytime

Benzodiazepine hypnotiques          Same as for the treatment of non-narcoleptic insomnias

More information on on-going research can be viewed at:


The neurochemical systems that are involved in the control of the narcolepsy symptoms are being identified  - by : Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, Director; Stanford Center For Narcolepsy

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