What are the signs and symptoms of narcolepsy in children?

Updated: Sep 04, 2019
  • Author: Sagarika Nallu, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Features of narcolepsy in children are as follows:

  • Restlessness and motor overactivity may predominate

  • Academic deterioration, inattentiveness, and emotional lability are common

  • At disease onset, children with narcolepsy and cataplexy may display a wide range of motor disturbances that do not meet the classic definition of cataplexy

  • Motor disturbances may be negative (hypotonia) or active (eg, perioral movements, dyskinetic-dystonic, or stereotypic movements)

  • Motor disturbances may resolve later in the course of the disorder [4]

  • Cataplectic facies is an unusual facial feature only recently described in children with narcolepsy with cataplexy, usually at disease onset. The typical manifestations of cataplectic facies include repetitive mouth opening, tongue protrusion, and ptosis. Interestingly, the usual triggering emotions, such as laughter or joking, are not always present, hampering diagnosis.

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.

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