Treatment of the narcoleptiform sleep disorder in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia with sodium oxybate

Pain Pract. 2010 Jan-Feb;10(1):54-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-2500.2009.00334.x.


This study investigates the response of the underlying sleep disorder associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) to treatment. We retrospectively reviewed 118 cases clinically consistent with CFS or FM, treated in a neurology practice. Abnormal findings on sleep studies and associated human leukocyte antigen markers, and a clinical pattern suggestive of narcolepsy, are present in a high proportion of patients. When considered appropriate based on the clinical picture and test results, treatment with sodium oxybate was offered to these patients. Sixty percent of patients treated with oxybate experienced significant relief of pain, while 75% experienced significant relief of fatigue. We postulate that the response to oxybate in CFS and FM suggests a disturbance of sleep similar to narcolepsy. These findings support this novel approach to intervention and further research. The inability to distinguish CFS and FM by testing and response to treatment suggests that they may represent variations of the same disorder or may be closely related disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Anesthesia / administration & dosage
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / complications
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / complications
  • Fibromyalgia / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcolepsy / drug therapy*
  • Narcolepsy / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sodium Oxybate / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adjuvants, Anesthesia
  • Sodium Oxybate