A+ A A-


There is no known cure for narcolepsy. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.

Lifestyle changes and emotional counseling may help you do better in work and social activities. This involves:

  • Eating light or vegetarian meals during the day and avoiding heavy meals before important activities

  • Planning naps to control daytime sleep and reduce the number of unplanned, sudden sleep attacks

  • Scheduling a brief nap (10 to 15 minutes) after meals, if possible

  • Telling teachers and supervisors about the condition so you are not punished for being "lazy" at school or work

You may need to take prescription medications to help you stay awake. The stimulant drug armodafinil is usually tried first. It is much less likely to be abused than other stimulants. Other stimulants include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, DextroStat) and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

Antidepressant medications can help reduce episodes of cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hallucinations. Antidepressants include:

  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as venlafaxine.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine, paroxetene, or citalopram.

  • Tricyclic antidepressants.

Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) is prescribed to some patients for use at night.

If you have narcolepsy, you may have driving restrictions. Restrictions vary from state to state.


Copyright Sleep Telemedicine Services, Inc. d/b/a Sleep and Wellness Centers. All rights reserved.