Narcolepsy type 2 is a subtype of narcolepsy characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) but lacks the presence of cataplexy, a defining symptom of narcolepsy type 1.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Individuals with narcolepsy type 2 experience persistent drowsiness during the day, leading to frequent naps that may or may not be refreshing.
Absence of Cataplexy: Unlike narcolepsy type 1, cataplexy—a sudden loss of muscle tone triggered by emotions—is not present in narcolepsy type 2.
Other Symptoms: Hypnagogic hallucinations (hallucinations while falling asleep) and sleep paralysis (temporary inability to move or speak while waking up) may occur, but they are less frequent than in narcolepsy type 1.
The diagnosis of narcolepsy type 2 involves several assessments, similar to those for narcolepsy type 1:
Diagnostic Sleep Studies: Overnight polysomnography followed by the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) during the day to evaluate the speed of sleep onset and the presence of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
REM Sleep Onset: Individuals with narcolepsy type 2 also exhibit a tendency to enter REM sleep within a shorter duration during the MSLT.
Exclusion of Other Sleep Disorders: The diagnostic process also aims to exclude other sleep disorders that may cause excessive daytime sleepiness.
Treatment for narcolepsy type 2 often involves similar medications used for managing narcolepsy type 1, primarily focusing on controlling excessive daytime sleepiness. Medications like stimulants and sometimes sodium oxybate may be prescribed to improve wakefulness and consolidate nighttime sleep.
Although lacking the distinct symptom of cataplexy, narcolepsy type 2 can significantly impact an individual’s daily life due to excessive daytime sleepiness and disrupted sleep patterns. Proper diagnosis and tailored treatment strategies can help manage symptoms, improving the overall quality of life for those affected.