What is Narcolepsy?
Narcolepsy is quite different from other sleep disorders. Insomnia, restless leg, and other disorders disrupt circadian rhythms and may cause sleep deprivation.
People with narcolepsy, however, experience changes to REM sleep. They may also experience associated conditions including sleep paralysis, sleep-related hallucinations, and the co-occurrence of other sleep disorders including sleep apnea and disrupted sleep.
Cataplexy is also strongly associated with narcolepsy. This sudden onset of muscle weakness is present in Type 1 narcolepsy and absent in Type 2.
An article in BioSpace from TMR Research looked at the market for narcolepsy drugs and the anticipation of rapid growth through 2028. Unlike CPAP for sleep apnea, there is no standard treatment for narcolepsy.
Advances in sleep medicine are leading to more research and development of treatment options for this complex sleep disorder.
Narcolepsy Drugs Market
Common drug treatments for narcolepsy include third-line use of stimulants to combat the daytime sleepiness that plagues narcolepsy sufferers.
Driving the market for narcolepsy treatments is the increasing awareness of the global prevalence and severity of narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Underdiagnosed and undertreated, narcolepsy is a serious disorder garnering significant scientific and pharmaceutical interest.
According to the article, the high prevalence of sleep disorders in the Asia Pacific market, along with recognition of the need for treatment, is increasing demand in the region.
Previous therapies for narcolepsy addressed symptoms, particularly daytime sleepiness. Those studies continue, along with the development of new stimulant drugs.
Increasingly, researchers and drug companies are looking at drugs that address the cause of cataplexy, a serious and potentially dangerous part of narcolepsy. The goal of these drugs is to target the hormone depletion that leads to cataplexy.
Orexin (hypocretin) is a hormone shown to be depleted in individuals with cataplexy. Directly addressing that depletion is a promising area of study and may lead to significant new drug developments.
Increasing numbers of U.S. FDA approvals are stimulating the market for narcolepsy drugs. Currently in the pipeline are drugs that combat daytime sleepiness and the cause of cataplexy.
Solriamfetol, a drug from Jazz Pharmaceuticals, is FDA approved for treating the excessive daytime sleepiness in adults that characterizes narcolepsy.
The article points out that favorable regulatory action is likely to get new narcolepsy drugs to market sooner and spur the development of additional therapeutics.
Narcolepsy is receiving heightened attention worldwide. The potential to address the root cause of cataplexy, one of the most traumatic and dangerous symptoms, has spurred greater research and development.
The growing demand for effective treatments for narcolepsy indicates an expanding Asia Pacific market with significant potential for growth through 2028. Regulatory successes of several drugs in the U.S. may inspire the development of new narcolepsy treatments to meet that demand.