Narcolepsy: A clinical review

JAAPA. 2021 Jun 1;34(6):20-25. doi: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000750944.46705.36.


Narcolepsy continues to be a significantly underdiagnosed/misdiagnosed condition worldwide. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 135,000 to 200,000 patients in the United States are living with narcolepsy. However, due to the number of patients who either do not seek medical advice for their symptoms or receive an incorrect initial diagnosis at onset, this number may be higher. This article reviews the different subtypes of narcolepsy along with the pathophysiology, screening guidelines, clinical features, diagnosis, and management of the disorder. Educational awareness from a healthcare and patient standpoint can enhance early detection and accurate diagnosis of narcolepsy and improve patient quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Narcolepsy* / diagnosis
  • Narcolepsy* / therapy
  • Quality of Life*