Narcolepsy: Why Overall Health, Including Your Heart Health, Is More Important Than You May Think

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The Doctors recently commemorated National Sleep Awareness Week to encourage our viewers who live with narcolepsy to be aware of other medical conditions that can be associated with this sleep disorder. 

Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological condition in which the brain is not able to control sleep-wake cycles normally. In addition to experiencing symptoms such as excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy, people with narcolepsy can have other medical conditions. A study found that people with narcolepsy were twice as likely to report having heart disease, compared to people without. It is important that people with narcolepsy prioritize their overall health. Some risk factors for cardiovascular disease are considered “modifiable,” which means you may be able to address them through lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, getting plenty of consistent physical activity, eating healthy foods, and cutting down on sodium intake. 

The Doctors note sodium usually comes from the foods we eat and what we drink, but it can also come from certain medications. In addition to speaking with your doctor about ways to lower your sodium intake, you should discuss your diet, as well as whether XYWAV may be right for you.  XYWAV is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cataplexy or excessive daytime sleepiness in patients 7 years of age and older with narcolepsy. XYWAV is the first and only lower-sodium oxybate treatment option, with 92% less sodium in each nightly dose.

If you have narcolepsy, having an informed discussion with your doctor about all aspects of your overall health is important. Download the Doctor Discussion Guide on to help you get the conversation started and find out if XYWAV is right for you.

XYWAV™ (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium oxybates) oral solution, 0.5 g/mL total salts (equivalent to 0.413 g/mL of oxybate) is a prescription medicine used to treat the following symptoms in people 7 years of age or older with narcolepsy:

• sudden onset of weak or paralyzed muscles (cataplexy)
• excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)


Do not take XYWAV if you take or your child takes other sleep medicines or sedatives (medicines that cause sleepiness), drinks alcohol, or has a rare problem called succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency.

Keep XYWAV in a safe place to prevent abuse and misuse. Selling or giving away XYWAV may harm others, and is against the law. Tell your doctor if you have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines, or street drugs.

Anyone who takes XYWAV should not do anything that requires them to be fully awake or is dangerous, including driving a car, using heavy machinery, or flying an airplane, for at least 6 hours after taking XYWAV. Those activities should not be done until you know how XYWAV affects you or your child.

XYWAV can cause serious side effects, including the following:

• Breathing problems, including slower breathing, trouble breathing, and/or short periods of not breathing while sleeping (sleep apnea). People who already have breathing or lung problems have a higher chance of having breathing problems when they use XYWAV.
• Mental health problems, including confusion, seeing or hearing things that are not real (hallucinations), unusual or disturbing thoughts (abnormal thinking), feeling anxious or upset, depression, thoughts of killing yourself or trying to kill yourself, increased tiredness, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, or difficulty concentrating. Tell your doctor if you or your child have or had depression or have tried to harm yourself or themselves. Call your doctor right away if you have or your child has symptoms of mental health problems or a change in weight or appetite.
• Sleepwalking.
Sleepwalking can cause injuries. Call your doctor if you or your child starts sleepwalking. Your doctor should check you or your child.

The most common side effects of XYWAV in adults include headache, nausea, dizziness, decreased appetite, parasomnia (a sleep disorder that can include abnormal dreams, abnormal rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, sleep paralysis, sleep talking, sleep terror, sleep-related eating disorder, sleep walking, and other abnormal sleep-related events), diarrhea, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), anxiety and vomiting.

The most common side effects of XYWAV in children include nausea, bedwetting, vomiting, headache, weight decrease, decreased appetite, dizziness, and sleepwalking.

XYWAV can cause physical dependence and craving for the medicine when it is not taken as directed. These are not all the possible side effects of XYWAV.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including BOXED Warning, and Medication Guide.

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This article is sponsored by Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

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