People tired due to narcolepsy symptoms 3

“Is it normal to feel weakness when I laugh?”

How narcolepsy patients experience cataplexy.

Cataplexy is the most specific symptom of narcolepsy.1,2

  • Cataplexy also may be quite difficult to recognize and diagnose.1,3
    • Characterized by the sudden, generally brief loss of muscle tone triggered by strong emotions.1
    • In children, cataplexy can occur without clear emotional triggers.1

Cataplexy can occur at any time during waking hours.4

  • Cataplexy attacks vary widely in duration and severity.1,4,5
    • Mild attacks are most common but may be barely perceptible.1,4-6
    • More severe attacks result in a loss of tone in all voluntary muscles.1,4,7
  • Being awake and aware even during the most severe episodes may help distinguish cataplexy from seizure disorders.4
  • The abrupt return of muscle function has also been reported to be an important feature.2

Key features to look for in identifying cataplexy.

What do cataplexy attacks look like?1-7

Partial cataplexy attacks
  • A momentary sense of slight weakness
  • Mild drooping of the eyelids
  • Sagging jaw
  • Head dropping
  • Weakness in the neck, arms, shoulders, or hands
  • Knee buckling
  • Slurred or garbled speech
Complete cataplexy attacks
  • Complete physical collapse
  • Inability to move, speak, or open eyes

Find out how patients describe their experiences with cataplexy.