Depressive feelings in children with narcolepsy

Sleep Med. 2014 Mar;15(3):309-14. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2013.08.798. Epub 2014 Jan 8.


Objectives: We aimed to evaluate depressive feelings and their correlations in children and adolescents with narcolepsy collected in national reference centers for narcolepsy.

Methods: We compared clinical and sleep characteristics of patients with and without depressive symptoms evaluated on the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI).

Results: Our study sample included 88 children (44 boys; 44 de novo patients) with a mean age of 11.9 ± 3.1 years at diagnosis (37.5% were aged ⩽ 10 years). Obesity was found in 59% of the sample and cataplexy was present in 80.7%. The DQB1*0602 allele was positive in 93.5% of our sample. There were 25% of children who had clinically depressive feelings (CDI>16), especially girls older than the age of 10 years. Bivariate associations indicated that depressive feelings were associated with fatigue (48%), hyperactivity (31%), insomnia (16%), and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) (14-24%). In the multivariate model adjusted for gender and age, only fatigue explained the variability of the depression score.

Conclusion: In our large cohort, high levels of depressive symptoms essentially expressed by fatigue affected 25% of children with narcolepsy. The girls older than 10 years of age were especially vulnerable. The similar prevalence of depressive feelings in treated vs never-treated patients suggests a specific need for diagnosing and managing this symptom in young patients with narcolepsy.

Keywords: Adolescent; Child; Depression; Fatigue; Narcolepsy; Sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Narcolepsy / complications
  • Narcolepsy / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sex Factors