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What is Kleine-Levin syndrome?
Kleine-Levin syndrome is a rare disorder that primarily affects adolescent males (approximately 70 percent of those with Kleine-Levin syndrome are male).
What are the symptoms of Kleine-Levin syndrome?
It is characterized by recurring but reversible periods of excessive sleep (up to 20 hours per day). Symptoms occur as "episodes," typically lasting a few days to a few weeks.
Episode onset is often abrupt, and may be associated with flu-like symptoms. Excessive food intake, irritability, childishness, disorientation, hallucinations, and an abnormally uninhibited sex drive may be observed during episodes. Mood can be depressed as a consequence, but not a cause, of the disorder. Affected individuals are completely normal between episodes, although they may not be able to remember afterwards everything that happened during the episode. It may be weeks or more before symptoms reappear. Symptoms may be related to malfunction of the hypothalamus and thalamus, parts of the brain that govern appetite and sleep.
Is there any treatment for Kleine-Levin syndrome?
There is no definitive treatment for Kleine-Levin syndrome and watchful waiting at home, rather than pharmacotherapy, is most often advised. Stimulant pills, including amphetamines, methylphenidate, and modafinil, are used to treat sleepiness but may increase irritability and will not improve cognitive abnormalities. Because of similarities between Kleine-Levin syndrome and certain mood disorders, lithium and carbamazepine may be prescribed and, in some cases, have been shown to prevent further episodes. This disorder should be differentiated from cyclic re-occurrence of sleepiness during the premenstrual period in teen-aged girls, which may be controlled with birth control pills. It also should be differentiated from encephalopathy, recurrent depression, or psychosis.
Quick GuideSleep Disorders: Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and More
What is the prognosis for Kleine-Levin syndrome?
Episodes eventually decrease in frequency and intensity over the course of eight to 12 years.
What research is being done on Kleine-Levin syndrome?
NINDS supports a broad range of clinical and basic research on diseases causing sleep disorders in an effort to clarify the mechanisms of these conditions and to develop better treatments for them.
Clinical trials on Kleine-Levin syndrome
NIH Patient Recruitment for Kleine-Levin Syndrome Clinical Trials
For more information
National Sleep Foundation
1522 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
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carbamazepineCarbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR , Equetro, Carbatrol, Epitol, Teril) is an antiseizure medication prescribed to treat simple and complex seizures and grand mal generalized seizures. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
lithiumLithium (Lithobid) is used for the treatment of manic/depressive (bipolar) and depressive disorders. Lithium interferes with the synthesis and reuptake of chemical messengers by which nerves communicate with each other (neurotransmitters). It also affects the concentrations of tryptophan and serotonin in the brain, as well as increases the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow. It is important to be aware of the drug interactions related to lithium, pregnancy safety information, and common side effects on the user.
methylphenidateMethylphenidate (Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Concerta, Methylin, Methylin ER, Daytrana, Quillivant XR, Metadate CD, Metadate ER) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy and children with ADHD. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, patient safety information, and pregnancy efficacy should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
modafinilModafinil (Provigil) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this drug.
Oral Contraceptives, Birth Control PillsBirth control pills (oral contraceptives) are prescription medications that prevent pregnancy. Three combinations of birth control pills that contain progestin and estrogen are 1) monophasic, 2) biphasic, and 3) triphasic. Birth control pills may also be prescribed to reduce menstrual cramps or prevent anemia. Certain prescription medications may cause drug interactions. Some women experience various levels of side effects of birth control pills.
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include:
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Concentration or memory problems
Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
TeenagersTeenagers recognize that they are developmentally between child and adult. Teen health prevention includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, preventing injuries and screening annually for potential health conditions that could adversely affect teenage health.