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INTRODUCTION. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by excessive somnolence during the daytime, with recurrent, irresistible episodes of sleepiness. The complete forms are associated with cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis. The incidence reported in adults is 4-10/10,000. A considerable proportion of adults consider their disorder to have started before the age of 15 years. It is essential to have neurophysiological confirmation of the short period of the onset of REM sleep for diagnosis. CLINICAL CASE. An 11 year old boy with diurnal hypersomnolence, behavior disorder and weight gain. He was evaluated in the Sleep Disorder Unit by polysomnography and the multiple latency test, which confirmed the suspicion of narcolepsy.
CONCLUSIONS. Narcolepsy is a disorder which starts during childhood and usually goes unnoticed or is erroneously diagnosed and treated. At the present time there are valid criteria for the identification and diagnosis of children with this disorder. Treatment of these patients should be orientated towards adaptation of the environment to the child and prevention of the psychosocial problems which may be caused by this disorder, in view of the poor response to the drugs used.