Need for Additional Treatments to Target Secondary Symptoms of Narcolepsy: Anne Marie Morse, DO, FAASM


The pediatric neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at Geisinger Medical Center provided commentary on the current unmet needs for patients with narcolepsy, including improvements in treatment options. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"The reality is the disease is characterized, at a minimum, by a pentad of symptoms, which is excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep-related hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and disturbed nocturnal sleep.”

In the US, between 135,000 and 200,000 people experience narcolepsy, a relatively rare sleep disorder that causes a person to feel sleepy or fall asleep suddenly during daytime hours. Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, several medicines and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms. Stimulants such as modafinil (Provigil) and armodafinil (Nuvigil) have been on the market for decades while solriamfetol (Sunosi) and pitolisant (Wakix) were more recently introduced.

Other options such as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or selective reuptake inhibitors have been used to suppress REM sleep, and potentially help ease symptoms of cataplexy, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. Most recently, the FDA approved Avadel Pharmaceuticals’ oral, extended-release formulation of sodium oxybate (Lumyrz) for the treatment of cataplexy or excessive daytime sleepiness in adults with narcolepsy, becoming the first and only FDA-approved once-nightly oxybate for patients with the condition.

Despite the various options available, there are still several unmet needs for patients with narcolepsy. Anne Marie Morse, DO, FAASM, an expert in sleep medicine, believes there needs to be additional work done to address the secondary symptoms of narcolepsy and provide patients with more effective wakeful hours. Morse, who serves as a pediatric neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at Geisinger Medical Center sat down with NeurologyLive® at the 2023 SLEEP Annual Meeting, held June 3-7, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to discuss some of the ongoing issues patients continue to face. She spoke specifically about the need for more effective therapies that target sleep-related pathologies and ultimately improve quality of life.

Click here for more coverage of SLEEP 2023.

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