May 13, 2022 narcolepsy

Medications for Narcolepsy and ADHD

Narcolepsy and ADHD: Get to know about the medications for Narcolepsy and ADHD and their adverse effects on our body. Here are the complete details of the medications for Narcolepsy and ADHD

Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological condition that may cause fragmented sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness. This condition also features some abdominal rapid eye movement sleep and involves cataplexy or brief attacks of muscle weakness and tone that can result in the collapse of the body.

It can range in severity from mild to severe. It can negatively impact social activities, overall health, and well-being and influence social and work life in extreme cases. An individual with Narcolepsy may fall asleep at any time, such as while driving and sleeping.

The symptoms of Narcolepsy tend to appear in an individual’s teenage years or early 20s and 30s. It is 50% more likely to affect females than males in the USA. Some experts believe that about 1 in 2000 people suffers from Narcolepsy. It may affect about 135000 to 200000 people in the USA at any one time.

This blog will outline the symptoms, causes, treatments, and medicines options associated with Narcolepsy.

ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder)

ADHD is a medical term that refers to a neurodevelopmental health condition called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Most people believe that ADHD is a condition that mainly occurs in children. However, this perception is nothing more than a myth. ADHD is a condition that can affect even adults.

*In most cases, ADHD begins in childhood and can last to adulthood.

According to the researchers, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a chronic condition affecting millions of children and adults in the United States.

ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) symptoms

ADHD is characterised by inattention that combines certain persistent behavioral and mental problems. People with ADHD often experience difficulty sustaining attention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity.

What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a common neurological condition that affects the ability of the brain to control wakefulness and sleep. If you have this condition, you experience excessive daytime sleepiness and may also have uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the day.

These sudden sleep episodes may occur during any type of activity and at any time of the day.

In a typical sleep cycle, an individual will first enter the early stage of sleep and then the deeper sleep stages. It is when REM sleep occurs. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes to reach the stage of REM sleep.

However, for individuals suffering from Narcolepsy, REM sleep occurs within 15 minutes in the sleep cycle and intermittently during the waking hours.

It is during the REM sleep that vivid dreams and muscle paralysis occur. 

What causes Narcolepsy?

The exact reason for Narcolepsy is unknown, but it likely involves a deficiency in hypocretin. It is a chemical the brain needs to stay awake. Some genetic features may increase the risk of this condition, and it sometimes runs in families. According to a survey, it probably results from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

Hypocretin is a neurotransmitter that controls whether an individual is asleep or awake by acting on different groups of nerve cells or nuerons in the brain. The hypothalamus region of your brain produces hypocretin.

Narcolepsy Symptoms

People with type 1 narcolepsy have low hypocretin levels, but those with type 2 do not. An individual needs this chemical to stay awake. When it is unavailable, the brain allows REM sleep phenomena to intrude into regular waking periods. In people with this condition, it leads to both excessive daytime sleepiness and nighttime sleeping problems.

A brain injury, tumour, or other conditions that affect the brain can also sometimes result in Narcolepsy. 

 

What do doctors prescribe for Narcolepsy?

There is currently no cure for treating Narcolepsy, but some medical treatment and lifestyle changes can help to reduce the symptoms:

For sleepiness

A way to manage Narcolepsy is through behavioural modification. An individual may need some naps of 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day. A medical professional may prescribe a central nervous stimulant to prevent sleepiness, though no medications are likely to be completely effective.

Some commonly prescribed medicines may include:

  • Methylphenidate
  • Dexamphetamine
  • Armodafinil
  • Modafinil

Armodafinil and modafinil for Narcolepsy are generally the first-choice treatment. The other medicines are older and more likely to be addictive and habit-forming. They can also result in changes in heart rhythm, anxiety, irritability, and other side effects.

For treating cataplexy

The FDA has approved sodium oxybate to treat cataplexy, poor nighttime sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness. It has significantly fewer side effects and very little interaction with other medicines. Antidepressant medicines such as Tricyclic antidepressants can help an individual to manage this condition. Still, they can have some side effects, such as changes in heart rhythm and high blood pressure. A medical professional may adjust your treatment over time as symptoms may change.

Best medicines for Narcolepsy? 

Best medicines for Narcolepsy may include:

SSRIs

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) is a medical professional often recommends these drugs, which suppress the REM sleep, to help reduce the symptoms of Narcolepsy, hallucination, and cataplexy.

It includes venlafaxine and fluoxetine. Like other medicines, it also carries some side effects such as digestive problems, weight gain, and insomnia.

Sodium Oxybate

Sodium Oxybate drug is highly effective for Narcolepsy and cataplexy. It also helps to improve nighttime sleep, which s poor in Narcolepsy. In heavy doses, it may also help to manage daytime sleepiness.

A medical professional generally recommends taking this medicine in two doses, one at bedtime and one up to four hours later.

Tricyclic antidepressants

These older forms of antidepressants, including clomipramine, imipramine, and protriptyline, are effective for cataplexy, but many people complain about some side effects lightheadedness and dry mouth.

Stimulants

Stimulants medicines that help to stimulate your central nervous system are the primary and the most common treatment to help an individual with Narcolepsy stay awake during the day. A medical professional may often try armodafinil and modafinil as the first-choice treatment for Narcolepsy.

If you have other health issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, consult your medical professional about how the drugs you take for other health issues may interact with the medicines taken for Narcolepsy. Certain OTC medicines, such as medicine for colds and allergies, may cause drowsiness.

Symptoms of ADHD 

There can be several signs and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Most of its symptoms can be divided into three major categories. Common symptoms can include daydreaming, forgetness, talking too much, squirming or fidgeting, etc. However, every category has its unique side effects, which are given below.

Treatment of ADHD to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 

This is a condition that cannot be treated easily. No medication can treat this neurodevelopmental condition in a given time. Adderall is the best treatment for ADHD and can efficiently manage its symptoms.

Adderall vs. Vyvanse

Adderall and Vyvanse are both potent amphetamines, so they work in a similar way. They work by stimulating the nervous system and increasing the number of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine in your brain.

Adderall is an older medicine than Vyvanse. FDA approved Adderall in 1996, and an extended form of this medicine was approved in 2002. At the same time, Vyvanse was approved in 2007. One of the main differences between Adderall and Vyvanse is that Vyvanse is less likely to be misused than Adderall. It is because it is manufactured to have a slow chemical release, allowing for a once-daily dose.

FDA has approved both Vyvanse and Adderall to treat health issues other than ADHD:

  • Adderall is also approved to treat sleep disorders such as Narcolepsy
  • Vyvanse is also approved to treat binge eating disorders.

Can Narcolepsy be cured naturally?

As Narcolepsy is a chronic condition with a wide range of different causes and symptoms, it is necessary to seek medical help to determine the right combination of drugs and lifestyle changes. Other than medicine, there are several ways to treat Narcolepsy without medication. 

Some fundamental lifestyle changes that can help to reduce the symptoms include avoiding stimulants before going to bed, taking scheduled naps, and creating a rigid sleep schedule.

Various lifestyle changes may include:

  • regular exercises can help you rest better at night
  • avoid nicotine and alcohol
  • try taking 10 to 20 minutes naps after the meal
  • try to avoid eating a heavy meal before bedtime
  • tell your teachers and supervisors about your health condition

Conclusion

Living with Narcolepsy can be a bit challenging. It can be stressful to have attacks of excessive sleepiness. There is the possibility that you may injure yourself or others during the attacks. However, it is possible to manage the conditions.

Getting the correct medicines and working with your medical professional to find the natural ways for you can help you continue living a healthy life.

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