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Narcolepsy in Pregnancy

Sleep Disorders: Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is one of the most life threatening type of sleep disorders. Narcolepsy is characterized by a sudden and excessive sleepiness that can make certain situations life threatening. However, most people don’t see and realize why narcolepsy is considered to be one of the most life threatening sleep disorders today, since most people’s knowledge about narcolepsy is based on what they see in movies. What movies usually portray of a narcoleptic man is that he or she suddenly falls into a state of complete sleep from a state of complete awareness, which is not very similar with the real narcolepsy attack. Narcolepsy in real life has signs and symptoms before a person falls into a state of complete sleep, which include excessive sleepiness and fatigue.

Sleep Disorders and Pregnancy

Pregnant Woman and Narcolepsy

When a woman is pregnant, getting enough amounts of rest and sleep is very important to maintain optimal health for both the mother and the baby. However, there are several medical conditions, such as sleep disorders that can disturb the normal sleep-wake cycle of the mother and prevent from getting enough hours of sleep every single night. During pregnancy, there will be numerous changes in life that can be challenging by the mother, what more if there are sleep disorders added to the picture, especially narcolepsy.

Sleep Disorders: Narcolepsy Treatment

For the management of narcolepsy, treatments are usually prescribed to help in improving symptoms and lessen narcolepsy attacks. In fact, narcolepsy has no known treatment as of the moment, that is why, treatments and medications are only given to help in improving symptoms associated with one of the most life threatening sleep disorders, narcolepsy. Narcoleptic patients are usually prescribed with stimulants, such as Ritalin, Provigil, or Dexedrin, to help in treating daytime drowsiness. To improve cataplexy (one of the symptom of narcolepsy), antidepressants are prescribed. In fact, there is a new medication, Xyrem, which is prescribed to help in improving daytime drowsiness and cataplexy symptoms of narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy Treatment in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, whatever treatments for certain medical conditions, may it be sleep disorders or not, they should take medications with utmost precaution, since they need to think about the wellbeing of the growing fetus inside their uterus. Current recommendations for pregnant narcoleptics are to stop any intake of stimulants, unless risks of stimulants it can bring to the fetus are outweighed by the benefits of medication to both the fetus and the mother. It is very important for pregnant women to consult their doctor before taking any medications for their sleep disorders.