Diagnosis of narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia. An update based on the International classification of sleep disorders, 2nd edition

Sleep Med Rev. 2007 Oct;11(5):377-88. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2007.04.001. Epub 2007 Jul 23.


Defining the precise nosological limits of narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia is an ongoing process dating back to the first description of the two conditions. The most recent step forward has been done within the preparation of the second edition of the "International classification of sleep disorders" published in June 2005. Appointed by Dr Emmanuel Mignot, the Task Force on "Hypersomnias of central origin, not due to a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, sleep related breathing disorder, or other causes of disturbed nocturnal sleep" thoroughly revisited the nosology of narcolepsy and of idiopathic hypersomnia. Narcolepsy is now distinguished into three different entities, narcolepsy with cataplexy, narcolepsy without cataplexy and narcolepsy due to medical condition, and idiopathic hypersomnia into two entities, idiopathic hypersomnia with long sleep time and idiopathic hypersomnia without long sleep time. Nevertheless there are still a number of pending issues. What are the limits of narcolepsy without cataplexy? Is there a continuum in the pathophysiology of narcolepsy with and without cataplexy? Should sporadic and familial forms of narcolepsy with cataplexy appear as subgroups in the classification? Are idiopathic hypersomnia with long sleep time and idiopathic hypersomnia without long sleep time, two forms of the same condition or two different conditions? Is there a pathophysiological relationship between narcolepsy without cataplexy and idiopathic hypersomnia without long sleep time?

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cataplexy / classification*
  • Cataplexy / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Hypersomnia / classification*
  • Idiopathic Hypersomnia / diagnosis*
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • International Cooperation
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / classification
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis