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World Sleep 2022 | Pharmacotherapy for pediatric narcolepsy and related disorders

Kiran Maski, MD, MPH, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, discusses pharmacotherapy for children and adolescents with narcolepsy and related disorders. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine practice parameters for the treatment of pediatric hypersomnia disorders includes some supporting evidence for the use of pediatric medication for narcolepsy. This included some supporting evidence for the use of stimulants, e.g., modafinil and sodium oxybate. However, the quality of evidence was not preferable and was highlighted in the lack of data produced. Dr Maski states that the practice parameters are certainly of use yet, require more work, including children in clinical trials. European guidelines that recently came out allow for more flexibility for clinical practice-based expert opinion – including additional drugs for treatment and even offer an algorithm for how to approach a patient for treatment. Dr Maski further discusses how treatment in children should never be with medication alone; behavioral modifications and behavioral health plans are of great importance. Children must understand their condition, knowing how to advocate for services and accommodations they may need in a school setting. These are essential life skills necessary for development in a pediatric population; once coupled with medication, they will allow for more effective management of the disorder. This interview took place at the World Sleep Congress 2022 in Rome, Italy.