"I'm always sleepy, am I ill?" – Case report of narcolepsy in adolescence

Joaquina da Conceição Fernandes Antunes, Pedro Fernandes, Alzira Silveira


AIMS: Excessive daytime sleepiness is relatively common in adolescence, and rarely has a pathological etiology. The authors report a case of excessive daytime sleepiness due to narcolepsy in a teenager, and a review of the literature about this disease.

CASE DESCRIPTION: A 16 year-old adolescent, female, since one year ago with excessive daytime sleepiness and microsleeps during her daily activities, despite adequate sleep hygiene. Physical examination was normal. Analytical study, electroencephalogram and polysomnography unremarkable. The multiple sleep latency test revealed a sleep latency of 4:22 minutes and two REM (Rapid Eye Movement) periods at sleep onset (SOREMp), suggestive of severe hypersomnia with criteria of narcolepsy. Treatment with modafinil was started, with favorable outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: Narcolepsy is a rare and under diagnosed disorder in children. The disease has a negative impact on the child’s emotional, behavioral and school/work life, which can be minimized by an adequate and timely diagnosis and therapeutics.



DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15448/1980-6108.2014.1.15877

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