Alon Avidan, MD: Improving Narcolepsy Management

April 20, 2020

The director of the Sleep Disorders Center and vice-chair of the department of neurology at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine detailed the greatest need in the management of narcolepsy

“The ability to zoom down and provide for more quantitative assessment to corroborate and validate the diagnosis will be a huge help—and I think we will get there in the next few years.”

Although there has been a growing number of treatments for narcolepsy coming to the market, the is still no available treatment that targets the underlying causes of the disease. This lack of a general treatment suited for the general population has resulted in almost one-third of patients still experiencing daytime sleepiness, even while on a treatment regimen.

Part of this challenge, experts say, is that prior to being diagnosed and prescribed a treatment, there have been documented flaws and inconsistencies in testing patients for narcolepsy, which often leads to incorrectly prescribed treatments. Alon Avidan, MD, director, Sleep Disorders Center, and vice-chair, department of neurology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, told NeurologyLive that this mix of imperfect treatments and an inconsistent testing process is plaguing narcolepsy management.

In this interview, Avidan provided examples of these challenges and spoke to how these needs can be addressed in the coming years. He shared his insight into how more therapeutic development can provide sufficient care for patients, particularly those with type 1 narcolepsy.