What is Kleine-Levin syndrome?
Kleine-Levin syndrome is a rare disorder that primarily affects adolescent
males (approximately 70 percent of those with Kleine-Levin syndrome are male).
What are the symptoms of Kleine-Levin syndrome?
It is characterized by recurring but reversible periods of excessive sleep (up
to 20 hours per day). Symptoms occur as "episodes," typically lasting a few days
to a few weeks.
Episode onset is often abrupt, and may be associated with
flu-like symptoms. Excessive food intake, irritability, childishness,
disorientation, hallucinations, and an abnormally uninhibited sex drive may be
observed during episodes. Mood can be depressed as a consequence, but not a
cause, of the disorder. Affected individuals are completely normal between
episodes, although they may not be able to remember afterwards everything that
happened during the episode. It may be weeks or more before symptoms reappear.
Symptoms may be related to malfunction of the hypothalamus and thalamus, parts
of the brain that govern appetite and sleep.
Is there any treatment for Kleine-Levin syndrome?
There is no definitive treatment for Kleine-Levin syndrome and watchful
waiting at home, rather than pharmacotherapy, is most often advised. Stimulant
pills, including amphetamines, methylphenidate, and modafinil, are used to treat
sleepiness but may increase irritability and will not improve cognitive
abnormalities. Because of similarities between Kleine-Levin syndrome and certain
mood disorders, lithium and carbamazepine may be prescribed and, in some cases,
have been shown to prevent further episodes. This disorder should be
differentiated from cyclic re-occurrence of sleepiness during the premenstrual
period in teen-aged girls, which may be controlled with
birth control pills. It
also should be differentiated from encephalopathy, recurrent depression, or
What is the prognosis for Kleine-Levin syndrome?
Episodes eventually decrease in frequency and intensity over the course of
eight to 12 years.
What research is being done on Kleine-Levin syndrome?
NINDS supports a broad range of clinical and basic research on diseases
causing sleep disorders in an effort to clarify the mechanisms of these
conditions and to develop better treatments for them.
Clinical trials on Kleine-Levin syndrome
NIH Patient Recruitment for Kleine-Levin Syndrome Clinical Trials
For more information
National Sleep Foundation
1522 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)