Narcolepsy is a rare condition that affects children and adults, and commonly has an onset in childhood. Time to appropriate diagnosis frequently is at least a decade. Unrecognized or misdiagnosed symptoms of narcolepsy contribute to increased morbidity, disability and socioeconomic liability in these patients. Delays in diagnosis may be related to variability in presentation in childhood, lack of familiarity with symptoms or appropriate diagnostic testing or misdiagnosis with accidental introduction of treatment that may modify or mask narcolepsy features. Improved awareness about the diagnosis and tailored therapies improve clinical and socioeconomic outcomes by reducing time to effective treatment. Application of effective treatment results in long-term benefits by improving clinical outcomes, potentially enabling improved education, increased employment opportunity, and improved work productivity and quality of life. This review provides a comprehensive stepwise approach to improve knowledge and comfort for recognition of symptoms, diagnostic strategies and management considerations of narcolepsy in children and adults.
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