Narcolepsy is a sleep which disorders when a person falls asleep uncontrollably during the daytime often at inappropriate time. This disorder is also characterized by sudden weakness of muscles, called cataplexy, paralysis during sleep and inability to function when waking a person can experience hallucinations too. In order to treat narcolepsy effectively, different medications are included in the therapy.
First of all, to moderate excessive daytime sleepiness medical experts includes medications for moderating uncontrollable and involuntary sleep. To keep the person in full wakefulness, medications such as Provigil ® stimulate central nervous system. This medicine have to be prescribed and can be combined with some other wakefulness stimulants. It does not fall under the category of those drugs that needs triplicate transcription.
Nuvigil ® is also a medication for treating the sleep disorder. It contains modafinil, also found in Provigil, but Nuvigil® has longer effect treating at the same time hypopnea, shallow breathing or sudden stops in breathing during sleep. A number of side effects may occur on a physician may adjust the dosage and time for taking it. A physician prescribes certain medications depending on the cause of narcolepsy as well as individual characteristics. There are some other medications too, but a lot of them are still under testing procedures.
The medicine which both regulates sleep disorder and muscle weakness is Xyrem ®. It is usually taken at bedtime and four hours later since it improves sleeping since narcolepsy also causes restless sleep at night. Xyrem ® strengthens the muscles when awakes and its effects can be visible from the start. Daytime sleepiness is significantly reduced. Yet, this medication has a strong hypnotic effect so it is of utter importance to take only if prescribed.
Provigil ® and Xyrem ® have been approved for usage in treating not only narcolepsy, but also some anxiety and depression disorders, as well as attention disorders and hyperactivity cases. Some other stimulative medications for reducing drowsiness at daytime includes Ritalin® (methylphenidate), Desoxyn® (methamphetamine), Dexedrine® (dextroamphetamine), Adderall®.
During the REM phase in sleep, antidepressants ( imipramine, clomipramine) are proven to be effective and regulates the sleep paralysis, cataplexy and hallucinations. However these are so-called tricyclic antidepressants have numerous and severe side effects including teeth loss lead to increasing use of Xyrem and other newer antidepressants. Effexor® (venlafaxine) and Strattera® are probably the best to treat cataplexy since they stimulate norepinephrine in brain and keep the person awake.
The effects of a lot of other medications are still being evaluated and some for example, Prozac ® needs to be taken in higher doses to be effective. All of these medications have a number of serious side effects and interactions when taken with other medications so special care has to be taken in determining what the best possible solution is for each individual separately.