Narcolepsy is a relatively rare sleep disorder it is known as an"orphan disease" this means it a disease that affects less than 5 per 10,000 people within a community. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder which affects the brains' ability to regulate the normal sleep-wake cycle. This can lead to symptoms such as disturbed night-time sleep and excessive sleepiness throughout the day.
In order to study both the prevalence of Primary Sleep Disorders (PSD) and sleepiness, and their association to the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), 46 unselected outpatients (34 women, mean age 36.5) were examined clinically and underwent two nights of all-night polysomnography and multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT). Forty-six percent presented with a Sleep Apnea/Hypopnea Syndrome Index (AHI>=5), 5% with a Periodic Limb Movements syndrome.
Severe daytime sleepiness may require treatment with high doses of stimulant medication, and sometimes a combination of stimulants may be needed. Rare or infrequent cataplexy and other associated symptoms may not require any drug treatment, or treatment on an "as needed" regimen may be adequate.