If you have been diagnosed with hypersomnia you may be wondering what treatments are available and what medication for hypersomnia is available too.
Unfortunately, there is no specific medication developed for this disorder, but there are several existing medications that have proven to help some people manage or control their experience with hypersomnia.
These medications are available by prescription only and come with side effects and risks that need to be considered as well.
Talk to your physician before agreeing to take medication for hypersomnia so that you know your risks, and have a chance to explore other options for treatment.
Hypersomnia is a condition that occurs spontaneously in a person, and then remains a condition they will suffer from daily on a long term basis – but it is not a lifelong condition.
A person with hypersomnia will be able to fall asleep at a normal time at night and sleep through the night.
They will average between 7 and 10 hours of sleep at night. The problem occurs during the daytime hours.
Someone with hypersomnia is compelled to sleep during the day in the much the same way that someone with narcolepsy is compelled to sleep.
The difference between hypersomnia and narcolepsy is that the person with hypersomnia will sleep or nap for hours at a time, they will not be easy to wake and will experience no restfulness or rejuvenation from the nap.
In fact, many people with hypersomnia will wake up more exhausted than when they went to sleep.
This is due to the fact that they are staying in one of the deepest stages of sleep and are lacking the normal variation in sleep wave patterns that allow the body to use the state in a healthy manner.
Why it is so difficult to treat
One of the reasons that it is so difficult to design a medication for hypersomnia alone is that scientists don’t really understand how it happens.
It is an “idiopathic” condition, which means it begins spontaneously. Researchers have not been able to identify any associate gene, condition or risk factors that would cause it to occur. They have also not been able to isolate an at-risk group.
Without markers for an at-risk group, science is limited in knowing what processes of the brain and body to examine.
Another fact about hypersomnia that makes it so difficult to treat is that it is very rare. To be diagnosed with the condition you must have experienced a very specific sleep patter (both day and night) for six months daily occurrence and had other potential causes eliminated.
The use of stimulants as medication for hypersomnia
If you have read up on sleep deprivation you know that the last thing that is ever prescribed for someone with a sleep disorder is a sleeping aide.
For most conditions associated with sleep deprivation, no medication is given at all, except that to reduce inflammation of airways.
There is medication for hypersomnia that is used that comes in two different forms of stimulants. The first is a direct amphetamine stimulant such as Ritalin or Selegiline. Both of these act to “speed up” your brain and body to provide an increased amount of energy.
Ritalin is familiar to many people because it is often prescribed for those with attention deficit disorder, and hyperactivity disorders because their brains will act counter to the influence of the amphetamine. One of the issues with the use of Ritalin is it can be habit-forming.
The other common drug, Selegiline, is commonly prescribed to those with narcolepsy. This drug is not an amphetamine but acts as a precursor to the body’s natural production of the energy and wakefulness hormones. It is not addictive.
Recent developments in medication for hypersomnia
Base on some of the most recent findings of research that is showing a possible connection between the GABA receptors and integration process and the triggers of hypersomnia, some trial protocols using specialized medication for hypersomnia is starting to be used.
This medication is similar to Selegiline but it more closely targets the hormone released by the circadian process to wake our bodies up in the morning.
It is thought that it will allow people with hypersomnia to wake with less confusion, and with more energy, than they currently experience now.
It is not meant to stop the episode of hypersomnia from happening. Currently, there is not a medication for hypersomnia that will prevent an episode with 100% reliability.
Caffeine and OTC remedies
For many people who are reluctant to take medication for hypersomnia they will try a variety of caffeine and over the counter products that promise to provide higher levels of energy.
Some of these products can work very well; some can cause more problems than they are worth. With caffeine, it is easy to have too much of a good thing.
This can cause everything from jitteriness to insomnia, emotional outbursts to painful headaches.
Many of the herbal remedies don’t have a lot of investigative science behind them and the compounds aren’t regulated.
You want to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting in your supplement before trying it as a medication for hypersomnia.
You also want to check and make sure that it won’t interact with any medication that your doctor may have prescribed for you as well.
What to do when medication doesn’t work
There are a variety of home remedies for the sleep deprivation that may prove to help the medication for hypersomnia work.
Many of the home remedies follow the clinical recommendations for changing diet and lifestyle in order to promote better sleep hygiene.
This can be invaluable to reducing other factors that may be effecting how your body and brain is reacting to your condition and prevent the medication for hypersomnia from being effective.
One word of caution, before you try any herbal or over-the-counter remedy for hypersomnia you will want to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that there isn’t a risk of an interaction between the substances.