The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, talk to your doctor.
Stimulants Mazindol (Mazanor, Sanorex)Modafinil (Provigil)Armodafinil (Nuvigil)MethylphenidateDextroamphetamine
Tricyclic antidepressants Imipramine (Tofranil)Desipramine (Norpramin)Clomipramine (Anafranil)Protriptyline (Vivactil)
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Fluoxetine (Prozac)Paroxetine (Paxil)Sertraline (Zoloft)
Common names include: Methylphenidate
(Dexedrine)Mazindol (Mazanor, Sanorex)Modafinil
Stimulants can help you be more alert and awake. While using stimulant medications, you should take the following precautions: To avoid difficulty sleeping at night, ask your doctor about taking your last dose before 6:00 pm.Do not suddenly stop taking a stimulant drug.Have your doctor approve any other medications you take while you are using stimulant medications. Stimulants can interact with a number of over-the-counter medications.If you are taking sustained-release tablets, never crush or chew them.
If you have a history of
, tell your doctor. Your medications will have to be carefully chosen.
You may experience the following side effects: Decreased appetite with potential weight lossInsomniaHigh blood pressure
, jitteriness, or jumpiness
Vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite
Increased heart rate and
arrhythmiaLightheadedness, drowsiness, or blurred visionSerious rash
You may notice these things when you first begin taking a stimulant medication. Until you know how the medication will affect you, you should avoid driving, operating machinery, and doing hazardous activities.
Common names include: Imipramine
You may be given a tricyclic antidepressant if you have symptoms, such as attacks of weakness, hallucinations as sleep begins, or sleep paralysis.
To avoid stomach upset, take your tricyclic antidepressants with food, unless your doctor has told you otherwise.
Possible side effects include: Dry mouthLightheadedness, drowsiness, or blurred visionLow or high blood pressureConstipationIncreased effects from alcohol, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, or sedativesSensitivity to sunBlood sugar changes in people with diabetesHyperthermia—elevated body temperatureRisk of severe mood and behavior changes, including suicidal thoughts in some patients. Young adults may be at a higher risk for this side effect.
Sodium oxybate (Xyrem)
Sodium oxybate is used to treat cataplexy. It is a drug that can be abused, so it is a controlled substance. Abuse can cause serious problems, such as trouble breathing, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, and death. Abuse can also lead to dependence, craving, and withdrawal symptoms. If you are prescribed sodium oxybate, you will have to get the medicine from one central pharmacy. It is not available anywhere else.
Sodium oxybate can reduce the number of cataplexy attacks. But, it must be taken exactly as prescribed. The medicine works very fast, so you need to take it only when you are ready to fall asleep. Sodium oxybate must be taken in two doses each night. The first dose is taken right at bedtime and the second dose is taken 2-1/2 to 4 hours later. You will probably need to wake yourself up to take the second dose. The most common side effects are nausea, lightheadedness, headache, sleep problems, confusion, vomiting, and
Do not engage in activities that require alertness, such as driving, for six hours after taking the medication. Do not use alcohol or other sedatives while taking this medicine. Your doctor must instruct you in the safe and effective use of this medicine.
Common names include: Fluoxetine
You may be given an SSRI to treat weakness, hallucinations as sleep begins, or sleep paralysis.
If this medication upsets your stomach, you can take it with food.
Do not take monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors: During SSRI therapyFor two weeks prior to starting SSRI therapyFor five weeks after stopping SSRI therapy
Serious side effects of SSRI antidepressants include: AnxietyManiaSerious weight lossWeight gainSeizuresLow blood sugar in people with diabetesLightheadedness, drowsiness, or blurred visionArrhythmiaRisk of severe mood and behavior changes, including suicidal thoughts in some patients. Young adults may be at a higher risk for this side effect.
You may notice these symptoms when you first begin taking a medication. Until you know how the medication will affect you, you should avoid driving, operating machinery, and doing hazardous activities.