Health-related quality of life in narcolepsy

J Sleep Res. 2001 Mar;10(1):75-81. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2869.2001.00234.x.


Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterised by symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. The aim of this study was to describe the health-related quality of life of people with narcolepsy residing in the UK. The study comprised a postal survey of 500 members of the UK narcolepsy patient association, which included amongst other questions the UK Short Form 36 (SF-36), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Ullanlinna Narcolepsy Scale (UNS). A total of 305 questionnaires were included in the final analysis. The results showed that the subjects had significantly lower median scores on all eight domains of the SF-36 than normative data, and scored particularly poorly for the domains of role physical, energy/vitality, and social functioning. The BDI indicated that 56.9% of subjects had some degree of depression. In addition, many individuals described limitations on their education, home, work and social life caused by their symptoms. There was little difference between the groups receiving different types of medication. This study is the largest of its type in the UK, although the limitations of using a sample from a patient association have been recognised. The results are consistent with studies of narcolepsy in other countries in demonstrating the extensive impact of this disorder on health-related quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cataplexy / complications
  • Cataplexy / drug therapy
  • Cataplexy / physiopathology
  • Cataplexy / psychology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Fatigue / complications
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Human Activities
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcolepsy / complications
  • Narcolepsy / drug therapy
  • Narcolepsy / physiopathology*
  • Narcolepsy / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants