Atypical isolated cataplexy: two case reports and a mini-review

Neurocase. 2023 Jun;29(3):87-89. doi: 10.1080/13554794.2024.2347606. Epub 2024 Apr 27.


Cataplexy is the sudden loss of muscle tone often provoked by emotion such as laughter or excitement. Cataplexy is one of the essential diagnostic features of Narcolepsy type 1 (NT1). We describe two cases of isolated cataplexy with different outcomes, highlighting the diagnostic and prognostic challenges. There is conflicting literature as to whether it is a legitimate standalone diagnosis or an early warning sign of narcolepsy. Our cases do not fit with current diagnostic criteria for narcolepsy, yet still share some clinical or laboratory features. These ambiguous cases question what the mechanistic relationship between narcolepsy and cataplexy may be.

Keywords: Cataplexy; hypocretin; narcolepsy; orexin; sleep disorders.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cataplexy* / diagnosis
  • Cataplexy* / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcolepsy* / diagnosis
  • Narcolepsy* / physiopathology

Supplementary concepts

  • Narcolepsy 1