Diagnosing and Treating Narcolepsy Online
Narcolepsy causes someone to feel excessive daytime sleepiness. People with narcolepsy may experience uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep, even while driving, walking, or talking. Other symptoms associated with narcolepsy include loss of muscle tone, also known as cataplexy, and muscle weakness. Typically, people with narcolepsy will fall into the deepest sleep cycle, rapid eye movement (REM), almost immediately when they first fall asleep. They will also fall immediately into REM sleep during the day.
People with narcolepsy have low levels of hypocretin, which is a neurochemical that helps regulate wakefulness and REM sleep. There has also been research that suggests a correlation between exposure to the H1N1 virus and narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is a dangerous condition because it can put one in physical harm. Often time’s people with narcolepsy cannot do everyday tasks on their own because they are at risk of falling asleep. Narcolepsy may lead to:
- Increased risk of car accidents
- Low sex drive or impotence
During a video consult on Amwell your doctor will ask you a series of targeted questions to determine if your symptoms point to narcolepsy. Then your provider will proceed to determine the best treatment plan for you. Your provider may recommend in-person examination by a specialist if needed. Your treatment plan is based on the duration and severity of your symptoms and your medical history.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will go over the risks and benefits of the various treatment plans. Treatment for narcolepsy is different depending on the severity.
Options for treatment of narcolepsy may include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Sodium oxybate (Xyrem)