New Advances in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Narcolepsy

A continuing medical education activity sponsored by NAMCP and AAMCN.

This activity is an archive from the live session from the 2019 Spring Managed Care Forum. If you participated in the live session, you are not eligible for continuing education credits from this archive.

This activity is valid from June 1, 2019 to August 1, 2020

Instructions for CME/CNE: Complete the pre-test, listen to the audio and view the slides, complete the post test, complete the evaluation form and hit submit. You will be asked to enter your name and email address on the pre-test, evaluation and post-test. If you close your internet browser without completing the post test, you will have ONE more opportunity to complete. A score of 70% must be achieved on the post test to receive continuing education credits. If you do not pass the post test after two attempts, you will not be eligible to try again. Once you complete the evaluation form and score 70% or higher on your post test, you will automatically be given your certificate.

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Audience: This activity is intended for healthcare professionals practicing in managed care environments.

This presentation is supported by an educational grant from
Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder of hypersomnia that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. For most people, mild sleepiness is apparent only during boring, sedentary situations, however patients with narcolepsy, severe excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) leads to involuntary somnolence during regular activities that could put the patient and others in a harmful situation, such as driving, eating, or talking. Narcolepsy can interfere with psychological, social, and cognitive function and development and can inhibit academic, work, and social activities. With the potential danger surrounding narcoleptic patients, it is important for clinicians to understand and identify major sleep disorders and the best methods to diagnose and treat them.

Greater awareness of the disorder and its symptoms can help accurately and efficiently diagnosis the disease. As research continues to grow, better treatments for narcolepsy are becoming available. Sleep studies are an essential part of the evaluation and diagnosis of patients with narcolepsy. While in most instances imaging studies do not give an accurate picture of what is going on, a few studies done with an MRI can show structural abnormalities of the brain that will help show what may be the underlying cause of the sleep disorder. Symptoms can include EDS, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, but cataplexy is the most specific symptom and occurs in almost no other diseases. The combination of an overnight polysomnogram (PSG) followed by a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) can provide the proper evidence of narcolepsy while excluding other sleep disorders.

Treatment of narcolepsy can include both nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic components. One constant is a healthy sleep schedule. Most patients improve if they maintain a regular sleep schedule, which is typically around 8 hours per night. Scheduled naps during the day also may help. Pharmacologic treatment of narcolepsy involves the use of stimulants to the central nervous system such as methylphenidate, modafinil, dextroamphetamine sulfate, methamphetamine, and amphetamine. These medications help reduce daytime sleepiness, improving the symptoms in around 70% of patients. There are newer treatments that are currently undergoing clinical trials and are awaiting approval by the FDA, such as solriamfetol, which would help to treat excessive sleepiness in narcolepsy. With all the literature that continues to surface on the topic of EDS and narcolepsy, it is important that medical directors, clinicians and healthcare professionals are kept up-to-date on the current and emerging treatments.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Explore the advances in treatment strategies for patients with narcolepsy by incorporating guideline-recommended therapeutic options

  • Recognize signs and symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in patients with narcolepsy and other disorders related to sleep disturbances

  • Explore the best practices of diagnosing narcolepsy for improved accuracy, including comprehensive physical examinations, past medical history, and the utilization of the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

  • Discuss the clinical profiles and emerging data of current and emerging therapies for treatment of narcolepsy

  • Examine the challenges and limitations of current and emerging diagnostic tests for hypersomnolence and discuss proper strategies for improving quality of life and outcomes

Faculty: Thomas Roth, PhD
Chief, Division Head
Sleep Disorders and Research Center
Henry Ford Hospital


Dr. Roth serves as a consultant for Avadel, Balance, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Merck, and Takeda. He was formerly on the speaker's bureau for Merck. His presentation has been peer reviewed for any bias.
  Planning Committee:
Bill Williams, MD has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Jeremy Williams has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Will Williams has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Jacqueline Cole, RN, MS, CMCN has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

NAMCP and/or the presenter has copyright or has received permissions for use of materials provided in this activity.

Accreditation & Designation
The National Association of Managed Care Physicians (NAMCP) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

NAMCP designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category I creditsTM.

The American Association of Managed Care Nurses (AAMCN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC).

Nurses who complete this activity and achieve a passing score will receive 1 hour in continuing
nursing credit.

This activity has been approved by the American Board of Managed Care Nursing for 1.0 contact hour toward CMCN recertification requirements.

This presentation is supported by an educational grant from
Jazz Pharmaceuticals

NAMCP and/or this website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. NAMCP does not endorse or imply endorsement of the content on any linked website. This website is to be used as an informational resource. With any health related concern, consult with your physician or healthcare professional.

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