Treatment Options

While there is no known cure for narcolepsy, several medications help to control symptoms. Stimulants are used to treat EDS and sleep attacks. Certain anti-depressants help control cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hypnogogic hallucinations. Patients taking stimulant medications should have their blood pressure regularly checked.

Both symptoms and response to medications vary from person to person, and are likely to change at different times in life. The choice of medication and dosage requires co-operation between patient and physician. Medications used to treat narcolepsy may have some undesirable side effects, but are helpful for most patients.

In addition to medication, scheduled naps are often helpful. Avoiding large, carbohydrate-heavy meals that can bring on an attack of sleepiness, is beneficial to some. Regular sleep hours and avoidance of sleep deprivation are very important, and though difficult when already tired, exercise is useful in helping to regulate the body’s systems.


This link provides an excellent table of medications used in the treatment of EDS of narcolepsy, and cataplexy. Not all of these are available in New Zealand.