Narcolepsy with cataplexy and pregnancy: a case-control study

J Sleep Res. 2018 Apr;27(2):268-272. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12567. Epub 2017 Jun 1.


This was a retrospective case-control study in 25 patients with narcolepsy with cataplexy and 75 women in the control group. Patients completed the questionnaire by Maurovich-Horvat et al. (J. Sleep Res., 2013, 22: 496-512). We personally interviewed 25 patients with narcolepsy with cataplexy using the administered questionnaire regarding conception, pregnancy, delivery, perinatal and breastfeeding periods. Patients with narcolepsy with cataplexy reported 59 pregnancies versus 164 in the control group. In 16 cases (27.1%), a disease before pregnancy was present compared with eight cases (4.9%) in the control group (P < 0.001); among them, extrinsic asthma was reported 11 times in the narcolepsy with cataplexy group (P < 0.005). Patients with narcolepsy with cataplexy more often had a single pregnancy compared with controls (P < 0.05). Gestational diabetes was more frequent in patients with narcolepsy with cataplexy (P < 0.05). Induced deliveries were higher in controls (P < 0.009). No differences were found between the groups in terms of duration of pregnancies and complications during and after delivery, as during the puerperium. Neonates from patients had heavier birth weight (P < 0.015). The breastfeeding period was longer in patients (P < 0.01). Modafinil and methylphenidate were the drugs administered in six pregnancies. No significant differences in depression during pregnancy and during puerperium were found between patients and controls. This is the first case-control study in women with narcolepsy with cataplexy related to pregnancy, delivery, childbirth and puerperium. Data suggest that patients have pregnancy outcomes similar to controls. The prevalence of gestational diabetes was higher in women with narcolepsy with cataplexy. Caesarean sections, complications during delivery and normal perinatal period for infants were similar in both groups. Breastfeeding was longer in patients.

Keywords: breastfeeding; cataplexy; delivery; narcolepsy type 1; newborn; pregnancy; puerperium.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / trends
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cataplexy / diagnosis*
  • Cataplexy / drug therapy
  • Cataplexy / epidemiology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Cesarean Section / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Modafinil / pharmacology
  • Modafinil / therapeutic use
  • Narcolepsy / complications
  • Narcolepsy / diagnosis*
  • Narcolepsy / drug therapy
  • Narcolepsy / epidemiology*
  • Postpartum Period / drug effects
  • Postpartum Period / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Modafinil