The ability to stay awake is critical for us to live healthy and productive lives. Individuals with sleep-wake disorders such as narcolepsy find their lives dramatically impacted day after day, and night after night.
Narcolepsy is a life-long, neurologic condition that is characterized by the brain’s inability to regulate sleep and wake cycles that impacts over 3 million people worldwide.1,2 There are two types of narcolepsy – type 1 and 2 – and they share many of the same symptoms including excessive daytime sleepiness or EDS, sleep disruption, sleep attacks, sleep paralysis, and in some cases hallucinations upon falling asleep or waking up.3 In narcolepsy type 1, individuals also experience cataplexy, which is a sudden loss of muscle tone that’s usually triggered by strong emotions.3,4
Narcolepsy type 1 has been strongly linked to the loss of neurons in the brain that produce a neurotransmitter called orexin, which is also known as hypocretin. The link between orexin peptides and the control of wakefulness and sleep was discovered about 20 years ago – leading orexin to often be considered the master regulator of the sleep-wake cycle. Today, Takeda is researching orexin and its role in a broad spectrum of sleep-wake disorders that are characterized by EDS, including narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia and residual EDS in obstructive sleep apnea.
Takeda has been studying these sleep-wake disorders for several years, and we, like other researchers of these same disorders, recognize the potential unmet need for these individuals. That’s why we are committed to working to better understand the needs of individuals who live everyday with sleep-wake disorders, and we value the opportunity to raise awareness and to talk about the science behind these disorders.