How is idiopathic hypersomnia differentiated from narcolepsy?

Updated: Sep 04, 2019
  • Author: Sagarika Nallu, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Idiopathic hypersomnia is similar in presentation to narcolepsy, but patients with this condition have no sleep-onset rapid eye movement (REM) period, and naps are unrefreshing. [47] In addition, idiopathic hypersomnia is not associated with cataplexy. Idiopathic hypersomnia can be difficult to distinguish from narcolepsy, though the advent of the modern sleep laboratory has aided in diagnosing these challenging cases.

Differentiation of these 2 disorders can provide valuable insight for therapy. Although amphetamines are used for treatment of both idiopathic hypersomnia and narcolepsy, the excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in patients with idiopathic hypersomnia is often resistant to stimulant treatments. In addition, sodium oxybate, which is very costly, is not approved for use in idiopathic hypersomnia.

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